We Chat To Sarah Graham: Cookbook Author, TV Star & Supermom!
Sarah Graham didn’t set out to have a career in food. She also never anticipated that she’d write a series of successful cookbooks or host her own TV show either but through hard work, talent and as she says, ‘sometimes being in the right place at the right time’ she’s done just that. We chat to this mom of three, and Miele SA brand ambassador, about her food journey and success in the culinary world.
Chatting to Sarah Graham
What were you doing before you started your food journey? Did you always hope to become a cook, or did your life path take a little detour?
Sarah Graham: I started my food blog in 2010. At the time, I didn’t really know what a blog was. A friend sent me a link to an American food blog and I started reading it and absolutely loved the concept of being able to self publish in that way, so I decided to start my own, and A Foodie Lives Here was born. I love words almost as much as I love food, so to be able to combine them on one platform was so exciting and I was instantly hooked.
I was lucky enough to get a contract from Penguin to convert my blog into a book a few months after starting my blog. I loved that I was able to retain the chatty conversational style of a blog as at that point it hadn’t really been done in South Africa before. The move into TV from there wasn’t exactly planned.
I have a cousin in Cape Town who works in TV production, we were living in Cape Town at the time when he suggested we shoot a pilot for a TV show. He pulled it all together, and after filming it we sent it to a couple of production companies. It was picked up and has now been shown in more than 40 countries across the world, which was inconceivable when this all started, so I feel like there’s been lots of ‘right place right time’ scenarios (and a LOT of hard work behind the scenes).
Have you had a particularly inspiring mentor during your food journey?
Sarah Graham: I will always be inspired by the witticisms and endlessly delicious creations of Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen. She is the reason I started blogging. Other inspirations of mine are Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Massimo Bottura, Rick Stein, and Rachel Khoo.
What inspires your food creativity, and how do you keep yourself inspired with fresh ideas?
What have been your biggest challenges in following your food path?
Sarah Graham: Juggling three small children with my work has been immensely challenging. When we’re filming it’s extremely long hours, often in very off-the-beaten-track locations and it’s no small feat to juggle everything, but I love it, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you’re feeling under the weather, what’s your go-to meal?
Sarah Graham: Pasta!
Your TV Show, Food Safari, is a huge success – what was your favourite shooting location?
Sarah Graham: Being with my family and the crew on the road for a month – is such an epic adventure. I really loved season 2 – seeing turtles lay eggs on the beach in Mozambique and cooking overlooking the Blyde River Canyon and in Season 1, I got to go back to my roots in Zimbabwe, and cook where it all started. Visiting wildlife sanctuaries and so many unique destinations, and of cours,e Victoria Falls was also a major highlight for me.
We heard you’ve just had your third baby, congratulations! What’s your favourite part about being a mom?
Sarah Graham: Thanks! Gosh, there are so many favourites, but I think it’s just the unexpected rewards you get at unexpected moments, like a giant grin, or a hug out of the blue, or an ‘I love you’ that comes from a happy little heart completely unprompted.
How do you keep the kids healthy; any tips on how to get the little ones excited about their veggies and fruits?
Sarah Graham: We definitely don’t get it right all the time! But I try and make simple swops as often as possible e.g. home made healthy hot chocolate instead of store bought mixes, sneaking lots of veggies, lentils and barley into our Bolognese, home made chia berry jam with Greek yoghurt instead of store bought flavoured yoghurts, etc.
But we are also super relaxed and I don’t make a huge fuss about it, I talk a lot about healthy eating and expose them to good healthy food and I think that will lay a good foundation for them.
Do you have any special talents besides cooking and being a super-mom?
Sarah Graham: I studied French at University, so can speak it reasonably well, although it’s pretty rusty these days.
We see that you’ve had a gorgeous new kitchen makeover – tell us about your new Miele kitchen!
Sarah Graham: We’ve ended up with the happiest, loveliest kitchen we could have hoped for and we’re over the moon. And I can’t stop cooking and baking (and eating!) – it’s such a beautiful space for your family to hang out. See my blog post and renovation video HERE.
What Miele appliance could you not live without?
Sarah Graham: The Steam Combi oven, which does everything from prove bread to clean itself!
What is your guilty pleasure? It kind of depends on the day, but to me, a Pain au Chocolat is one of life’s great pleasures.
What is your all-time favourite meal? Homemade pasta.
Favourite quick snack? Avo on gluten free toast, one of my power smoothies, or a rice cake with nut butter and chia jam.
3 ingredients you can’t live without? Avo, lemon and olive oil.
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