Rockin’ Women Wednesdays – Sarah Holloway
If only I had a Polaroid snapshot of my life in a kimono aged 19! Back in those days I used to shuffle around the wonderful Minami Japanese Restaurant in the swanky Melbourne suburb of South Yarra. Resplendent in traditional silk robes and the clickety-clack of geta on my feet, I would host tables and share the swish-swish of shabu-shabu, sukiyaki prepared at the table for our guests each night.
My love of green tea and all things Japanese began in primary school aged nine, and is well documented throughout this website, and in my book The Healing Feeling. The Japanese tea ceremony is steeped in tradition and often comprises of a fine green tea powder called maccha or matcha – think cha meaning tea.
Green tea contains natural polyphenols, which are a powerful group of antioxidants known as catechins. Their primary task is to scavenge pro-oxidants and free radicals. The predominant and most active catechin in green tea is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). This catechin is over 200 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralising the pro-oxidants and free radicals. Read more here
Decades later green tea, in particular matcha, is the latest superfood on the block, enough to make acai green with envy. Enter Sarah Holloway and her brilliant brand. Matcha Maiden’s mix-and-matcha is made entirely of pure green tea leaves stone ground into a delicate but densely nutritious vibrant green powder.
Sarah started her working life as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at a leading international law firm. Whilst she enjoyed several years of invaluable learning, development and travel, it became increasingly difficult for her to balance her demanding professional lifestyle with her focus on health and wellbeing and with her more creative side. To restore some of this balance, Sarah and her partner Nicholas started Matcha Maiden late last year as a humble side project and unknowingly stumbled upon a sizeable gap in the market. Having discovered matcha on several of their many overseas adventures, they were surprised to find Australia a little late to the matcha party and were unable to find a product that achieved the right balance between affordability and quality. So this match(a) made in heaven decided to start their own matcha mission and it’s been matcha madness since then!
Eight months on, Matcha Maiden’s Mix N Matcha is now in over 400 stores in Australia and also increasingly in the US, the UK and Asia. Cafes, restaurants and like-minded brands are releasing collaborative matcha smoothie bowls, lattes, bliss balls, desserts, face masks, even body scrubs! The brand has a social media following of over 33,000 people worldwide and the matcha family continues to grow at a crazy rate. As a result, Sarah has just stepped out of her suit and into some entrepreneurial gym clothes (regardless of whether there is a visit to the gym involved) to work on Matcha Maiden full-time. Sarah has always been a devout foodie following her bottomless pit appetite around the world. If cafes and restaurants hadn’t already had enough of her, she can now be found eating everyone out of house and home for most of the day on the matcha trail. Her personal page, @spoonful_of_sarah, is reflective of her obsession with cooking food, eating food and taking photos of food. Moving into the industry full-time has been a dream come true!
1. What’s your survival food when you’re on tour, travelling or working late in your business?
Almond butter – I carry a jar with me everywhere! Such a good snack when you need a quick refuel to get you through until you can sit down for a proper meal. It’s just so difficult to stop at one portion! Bananas are another easy go-to when I’m on the run, particularly if I’m overseas – you can get them anywhere and there’s no fuss with needing to wash the skin first. And bananas WITH almond butter?! An all time favourite!
2. What’s your healthy go-to comfort food – either at home or in a restaurant?
Comfort food makes me think of carbs and that deliciously warm fuzzy feeling of feeling full. My healthy go-to comfort food would have to be roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon. Especially in winter, I chow down roasted sweet potatoes like they’re going out of fashion! I roast up big trays at home and sometimes top them with smashed avocado (or even almond butter – I know it sounds weird but it’s delicious). As for my not-so-healthy comfort foods, there’s a pretty embarrassingly long list – perhaps we’ll leave that for another time…
3. Do you have a secret remedy that keeps either your voice / mind / body in shape?
The newest addition to my daily regime is meditation, which has done wonders not only for my mind but also, quite unexpectedly, for my body. I was quite skeptical to begin with, but decided to really give it a genuine try with Mindful in May this year. I benefited so much from it and now it has become a really valuable stress management tool (particularly when I was still at the law firm). This in turn has had an effect on my physical health too. I hadn’t realized how intimately connected your mental wellbeing is with your physical wellbeing. The human body is so interesting!
4. What’s the most obscure rider or patron’s request you’ve ever heard?
I’m a massive menu-changer, but I recently overheard an even worse offender than myself. It was something along the lines of a request for the bacon and eggs but made vegan with a side of avocado. So avocado on toast. Which was also a menu item. Why not just ask for that to begin with?
5. Who would you most like to have dinner with? Dead or alive and why?
I always have so much trouble with this one! Especially narrowing it down to one person. I think I’d probably say Obama or The Queen, just because it would be so incredibly interesting to pick their brains about what it feels like to have so much power but also so much responsibility. Do they do normal people things? I’m convinced The Queen never goes to the toilet like a regular person. And what does it feel like it to know most of the world knows who you are and watches everything you do. Fascinating! Otherwise it would be someone like Anne Frank to ask how she feels about her diary becoming what it did or Einstein to see what he thinks of how the world ended up.
6. What is your can’t live without kitchen gadget?
The massive cleaver style knife we have that I use to open my fresh coconuts. I LOVE drinking fresh coconut water and couldn’t open them properly without it! I also love my blender!
7. Which ingredient makes you the happiest?
Am I allowed to say matcha? I put it in EVERYTHING – it makes me so happy to know something I love the taste of is also so healthy. If I had to choose something other than matcha, I’d probably say cinnamon – another powder that I add to almost everything including both sweet and savoury dishes.
Matcha green tea smoothie bowl
2 cups almond milk
1 banana (frozen works best)
1 handful of spinach
Half a tea spoon of Mix N Matcha
A dash of coconut nectar
Optional: sprinkle of chia seeds, flax seeds, or any other superfood goodies like those above or below.
- Blend it all together, top as desired, enjoy!
See also Sam’s Matcha & lime raw cheesecake here