February 15, 2012

The ultimate food hero - Maggie Beer

I first noticed Maggie Beer when some of her cooking products started appearing on the shelves years ago. First it was preserved lemons that drew everyone's attention...or at least that I knew of. Everyone was raving about this woman who made (and sold) these magnificent preserved lemons that just lifted a dish into magnificence.

I started reading about Maggie and following her adventures and as my interest in cooking grew, so did my admiration for Maggie. So much so, that I was awarded the Tuscan Cookbook that she co-authored with Stephanie Alexander as a prize for Home Economics when I was in grade 10.

This knowledge simmered for a while, and my next encounter with Maggie happened when she started to appear on The Cook and The Chef with Simon Bryant on the ABC. On this show in particular, Maggie came across as the loveliest person. Honestly happy with a genuine love and respect of food. I absolutely ADORED that show when it was on air, and I am now collecting the DVDs.

My next mission was to meet her.

Back in 2010, Maggie came to Brisbane to do dinner and a conduct class with a group of foodies and I managed to secure a ticket. I had missed the opportunity back in 2009, so I made sure I was on the list for this event. So on the 10th of July at 6.10pm I got to sit and watch and listen and learn and savour...and I LOVED every minute of it!!! What a thrill.

Maggie and me

After that event, I can safely say that I am a HUGE fan. HUGE!!! My grandmother said to me once, wouldn't you love to have Maggie Beer as a grandmother? At first I thought the comment was a bit odd, considering that my Gran was my grandmother...but on reflection, I get it.

What I love about Maggie Beer is that she has an energy and a warmth about her that is truly unique. I would just absolutely LOVE to have her over for dinner. She is so kind and very genuine in her approach to people and to food. Australia was right to award her the Senior Australian of the Year last year (2011) for her contribution to food and to the community as a whole.

Of all of my food heroes, Maggie is at the top of the list for me. I aspire to cook like her and to have an approach with people and to life like hers. Just wonderful.

I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing her again at the State Library last year for lunch and a question time. Unfortunately the event was cut short. So I am hoping that I will get another opportunity to meet Maggie and chat to her and just listen to what she has to say.

In my humble opinion, it is time well spent.

Oh and yes...I got her to sign my book :)

Tuscan cookbook

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