Jo Anderson is a gifted woman. She’s a self-taught cook, recipe writer, food stylist, lifestyle photographer, blogger, and founder of Food Actually where she and her husband sell healthy wholefood products. Her online home, The Luminous Kitchen, is devoted to beautiful, real food recipes, stunning photos and an abundance of good humour and honesty. Among Jo’s unique stories (did you hear the one about the Russian billionaire?) and delectable dishes you’ll find ample flavour without any labels or guilt.
Asked about her most memorable experiences with food, she tells us about the time she worked as a cook in the Caribbean on a small sail yacht during her 20s. “Every week we had a new group of guests to take around the islands,” Jo says. “Cooking beautiful meals in my tiny galley with wrap around windows and an amazing view is a memory that will stay with me forever.”
“After my experiences in the Caribbean, I was fortunate enough to cook on superyachts in the Mediterranean, which meant I was able to shop at the most incredible markets every day in France, Spain and Italy with the boss's credit card. This was the time I worked for a Russian billionaire. Oh, the stories I could tell you! I fell in love with the way European cultures revere cooking as an art form and a sacred ritual and how it brings people and families together.”
What does healthy eating mean to you today?
“It means eating food that I know is good for me most of the time. I don't like labels when it comes diet and I don't like to be put in a box or be dogmatic about how I enjoy food. I know what makes me feel good and try to mostly eat those foods while not being hard on myself when I make not-so-good choices.”
Why did you start your blog?
“Blogging is a way of sharing my love of cooking good food, developing wholesome recipes and my passion for creating beautiful photographs, not to mention the best part of all: connecting with other passionate foodies.”
You write on your blog about mindful eating. What role does that play in your food philosophy?
“I believe how you eat plays a huge role in your health. If you eat a slab of chocolate mindfully, savouring it without guilt or regret, it will have a completely different effect on your body and you will probably find that just a piece or two will suffice. I think we worry too much about what we eat and we forget to savour not just our meals, but our lives, too.”
Who taught you to cook?
“I decided when I was five years old that cooking was my special talent, so I used to watch my mum cook every night. More often than not I had my sleeves rolled up, standing on a chair, helping out and loving it.”
What do friends beg you to make for them?
“Cheesecake. The full dairy, full fat, fully delicious kind – like my white chocolate cheesecake. Ever since I saw Donna Hay demonstrate her cheesecake skills on television a few years ago, I have been trying to perfect mine. It’s definitely something I get asked to make a lot, especially for birthdays.”
What five ingredients are always in your fridge?
“Coconut kefir (you have to keep a healthy digestive system), all forms of cheese, lots of fruit and veggies, eggs and Greek yoghurt.”
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Kitchen Farmacy Editor Kris Franken
Kitchen farmacy is our food lover's blog where good health and great taste come together. Each fortnight we'll feature a health and wellbeing foodie blog, with recipes to nourish the soul and body. Here's to eating well (and satisfying all kinds of cravings). View previous Kitchen farmacy blog entries.