Donna Hay in a scene from the TV series Basics to Brilliance.
Donna Hay in a scene from the TV series Basics to Brilliance. Nick Wilson

Donna Hay gets personal in new food show

AUSTRALIAN cookbook queen Donna Hay returns to our screens next week with a new show that aims to help any home cook master the basics.

The usually private author and food stylist also allows the cameras behind the scenes of her family life in Sydney and her magazine empire.

And as Hay tells APN's The Guide, Basics to Brilliance may be the start of a greater small screen presence for the famous foodie.

Q: What inspired this Basics to Brilliance series?
A: Food and cooking play such a pivotal role in our lives - it's something we all do every day and get such enjoyment out of. I know that when it comes to cooking for my friends and family, I always go back to the basics and rely on my old, faithful, tried and true recipes. Over the years, I've realised that there are a lot of people who do find the basics a little bit tricky. The great thing is though, that once you master the basics - how to roast the perfect chicken, or create the most heavenly meringue for example - you can learn how to add a few twists here to really expand your cooking repertoire.
This new series is all about helping you build confidence in the kitchen. In each episode I'll be sharing some of my own classic recipes that I always cook again and again, and show how easy is to create really brilliant dishes.

Q: Do you find home cooks sometimes fall into the pitfall of trying to run before they can walk?
A: There are a lot of cooking shows out there that focus on complicated recipes with extravagant ingredients that will take you hours to create, which is great if you have the skills and the time. But I know my audience are looking for those classic recipes that are simple to make, and ones that they know they can rely on when they are entertaining or cooking for their family. Having said that, I love an ambitious cook - it's great to give something new a try and it's totally fine to make mistakes (even I've had a few failures over the years).

Q: Why did you decide to invite the cameras into your personal life in this series?
A: It was definitely a surreal experience - it's quite funny trying to act normal on your morning run when you have a film crew following your every move. I'm always surprised at how much interest there is in my life outside the kitchen, although I've never really been focused on what people think of me. I'm just about the food and the recipes, and getting my job done, which is to create beautiful content that I know my audience will love.

Q: This is only your second-ever cooking series. Why haven't you done more television?
A: I would love to do more shows, but it's actually really tricky finding the time. I'm always busy with my magazine, cookbooks and the online retail store, and a whole television series is a big commitment. I'm also actually quite a shy and private person, so it's been quite a learning experience for me. I've absolutely loved doing Basics to Brilliance though, so who knows what could be around the corner?

Q: What's exciting you food-wise as we head into autumn/winter?
A: Winter is such a great time for cooking! It's when we love to stay indoors and spend long afternoons cooking up something delicious and fill the house with the gorgeous smell of a soup simmering on the stove or freshly baked muffins. I love going out to restaurants, but I also secretly love staying in over autumn and winter, and entertaining for a big groups of friends when the nights get a bit cooler and everyone just wants to stay warm and enjoy amazing comfort food. There are quite a few recipes in Basics to Brilliance that are my absolute winter favourites - like slow-cooked beef brisket and the crispiest pork belly.

Donna Hay: Basics to Brilliance premieres on Tuesday at 8.30pm on Foxtel's LifeStyle FOOD channel.
 


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