George Washington, Rosa Parks, Steve Jobs, and Princess Diana: four of the most influential people in history, who are recognised for their courage, strength, and ability to influence and change the world in a significant way.
But a name we can add to that list is one of our country’s very own: Maeve O’Meara.
While you may know her as the host of SBS’s Food Safari, she’s in fact, one of the main reasons as to why we have come to celebrate cultural diversity in the land down under.
From east to west and north to south, Maeve has spent the last two decades crossing the country collecting culinary treasures and stories from around the globe to highlight the historic richness that lies within each culture’s food.
But of course, from filming nine seasons of Food Safari adventures, to hosting Gourmet Safarifood tours around the world, and even celebrating the release of her up-and-coming book Food Safari Elements, it also means she has the pleasure of constantly eating for a living – and yet, all that culinary goodness she devours on screen seems to disappear into no-man’s land.
So how does the empress of food television never say no to food, yet still keep the weight off?
She doesn’t spend thousands on a PT or starve herself for days on end after a big feed; instead, it all comes down to two of the simplest things in life: running shoes and tea.
“I hate saying no to beautiful food and wine so having a little window of exercise every day allows me to say yes…plus, I find it’s good for my brain,” she tells myBody+Soul.
“Thoughts come to me while I’m out. I do an easy version of interval training – walk for a while, run for a while.”
She gets those endorphins running in the early morning by pumping “good music up loud” and fitting in a 20 minute interval training sesh, then makes sure she sips on rooibos tea throughout the day to help with digestion.
“I always carry my favourite rooibos tea wherever I travel and often a favourite cup as well to be able to have tea in the morning and evening at whatever hotel I’m in.”
She doesn’t skimp on food when the cameras aren’t rolling either, and as a matter of fact, is a brilliant #masterchef herself.
Forming relationships with great chefs from around the world and picking up their secret tips and tricks on how to elevate a dish, has definitely come in handy when she’s whipping up meals at home.
Along with her morning coffee, her go-to brekkie involves a perfect soft boiled-egg with a sprinkling of za’atar on sourdough toast. (FYI the secret to boiling an egg to perfection is as simple as follows: dropping a whole eggs straight from the fridge into boiling water, boiling it for seven minutes, and popping it in cold water.)
Lunch is often a salad with chicken or fish, which she jazzes up by sprinkling it with toasted nuts, and dinner is often “a beautiful fresh fillet of fish cooked quickly in a pan served with some interested veggies and salad”…and of course, a glass on pinot noir.
Yes, she loves her seafood so much so that she’s explored the treasures of the deep to now bring us Food Safari Water.
Filming the new series, which airs August 1 on SBS, Maeve has now confessed that her own culinary skills are jam-packed with an abundance of seafood recipes.
“I think I’ve tasted fish the way it should be cooked and have made it many times, explored new ingredients like wakame, abalone, sardines and bottarga.
“I also learned the care that people of the sea and freshwater take with their produce; and many tips and tricks like storing fish between baking paper sheets to keep out the air, and how to shuck an oyster.”
But as much as she loves her seafood, she definitely has a soft spot for bread and cheese, too.
“I adore great bread, cheese from around the world, I love sweets from baklava to tiramisu, Turkish Delight to chocolate…plus wood fired pizza – the list goes on.” Oh Maeve, we feel you.
Case in point: Maeve’s message to living a healthy and happy life is simply eating for enjoyment.
“Seriously – eat what you enjoy. There are so many do’s and don’ts in the wider world. I often think we obsess too much and having a ‘no’ list isn’t the way to look at food.”
Bottom line: “Don’t go completely overboard. Do exercise, drink enough water, get enough sleep, and be happy.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. #legend
Maeve O’Meara is back in Food Safari Water starting 8pm, Wednesday 1 August on SBS. You can catch-up on all episodes via SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more. Her book Food Safari Elements will be on sale in November 2018.
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