Recently, Telegraph Hill announced their list of the 100 most influential foodies in the UK. Inspired by this, I have compiled my very own top 5 which have influenced not only what I eat, but how I approach food. Although these people do not necessarily promote the same way of eating, they are all united by a love of food and the core role it plays in a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle. They have made me realise my passion for food and cooking, but mostly, the intimate connection between living well and eating well.
“Food is about life and life is about food; without a sense of humour there’s not much joy to be had in either.”
This is one of my favourite ever quotes, as it sums everything up for me! I’ve written about Deliciously Ella many times before; from how she inspired me to totally change my diet, to the amazing Mae Deli which I love it eat at. I had to put her at the top of this list because the point from which I read her story and learnt about her food, was when a lot of things changed for me. Ella has influenced my overall approach to healthy eating; I used to think it was the number of calories that mattered most, but actually, it’s about packing as many nutrients as possible into each calorie. Moreover, following a plant-based lifestyle is not about deprivation, it’s about enjoying real food. This way, I’ve discovered so many new recipes and flavour combinations, whilst actually becoming a pretty good cook along the way! Medjool dates are now my favourite food, hands down – I’d never even heard of them, never mind eaten them before following Deliciously Ella. Both of her books have been a huge influence for me, and I always consult them whether I’m looking for a quick supper for one, or something to share with others – they are basically my food bibles! I’m also a big fan of her YouTube channel, where Ella shares lots of recipe videos from her blog, app and books. The Deliciously Ella food philosophy forms the basis of everything I eat, and I was so pleased to see Ella come in Telegraph Hill’s Top 10!
“Trust me, diets don’t work, so stop depriving yourself and start living!”
I’ve been following Madeleine Shaw on Instagram for longer than anyone else on this list. I just remember seeing her mouth-watering food snaps and clicking follow! At the time I had no idea she would become this successful, so I’ve loved seeing her blog develop, as well as publish two cookbooks. I’ve done a review of Madeleine’s first book, Get the Glow, already and I’m loving her follow-up, Ready Steady Glow, even more! True to form, the recipes use wholesome, nourishing foods with amazing flavours and the food photography remains stunning. Despite being classified as one of the healthy foodies on the blogging scene, Madeleine does not prescribe any fixed diet, such as vegan or paleo. Rather, she focuses on genuinely tasty food. But for me, it’s her lifestyle and mindfulness advice which make Madeleine so influential. In her books, as well as on her blog, she talks a lot about different ways, besides what we eat, to ‘Get the Glow’. For example, how to create a positive mindset, overcoming overeating and boosting energy levels, in addition to lots of other little tips and tricks to live by. Not long ago, Madeline also launched her own menu at Browns Hotel in London. After seeing the photos, it all looks amazing, which is why a visit is most definitely on my to-do list!
“Life is sweet – eat it and love it.”
Livia is my most recent discovery on this list, but now, I could not imagine a time when I wasn’t checking her blog for inspiration. This is, of course, mainly due to our shared love of sweet treats, and Livia proves that making them in a nutritional, healthy way is even more delicious. I do genuinely believe her recipes taste better than the traditional methods, and I’ve had so much fun learning about healthy baking. Cooking healthy sweet things is slightly more complex that savoury and there are some seemingly unusual ingredients, so I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot from reading and making her recipes. The porridge squares are a breakfast staple of mine, and her hot-cross scones were a triumph at Easter this year! Livia also has her own range of ‘raw millionaire bites’; I could not resist trying all the flavours, and each of them is absolutely delicious. Most recently however, she has launched her first book (three days ago)! So naturally, much of this weekend has already been spent perusing through this and making her take on the Twix bar! I love it already, and regardless of whether you are into healthy eating, I couldn’t recommend it more.
“I don’t believe it’s possible to live well, without eating well. This can mean different things on different days.”
Nigella Lawson is not exactly famous for her super-healthy recipes, rather, she is often known for the exact opposite. But I disagree. I think her attitude towards food is an extremely healthy one, and I’ve become a total obsessive over her most recent book: Simply Nigella. This was also accompanied by a television series, which I watched religiously. I have to admit though, I hadn’t ventured into her food before this. But, I soon found that there is something ever so relaxing about watching her cookery shows and I do think she has altered her approach as the way we all view food is beginning to shift. This is why, despite my mostly vegan diet, Simply Nigella was definitely worth the purchase for me. The book is split into more unconventional sections, which I found intriguing. For example: the breakfast chapter called ‘beginnings’ is placed at the end of the book. With my love of breakfast, this is one of my favourite sections, as is ‘quick and calm’ for weekday supper inspiration and ‘bowl food’, which is both nourishing and comforting. I know Nigella and I certainly have one immediately obvious thing in common. We both share a love, or perhaps even obsession, with food. This is my favourite thing about Nigella, because her passion for food really comes across in everything she does. From cooking to eating – the whole process is a joy.
“Make healthy food a priority in your life, and allow it to bring friends and family together.”
I grew up with Jamie Oliver. His cookery shows were always on the television, my mum often made his recipes, and I was in primary school around the time he was campaigning to change school dinners. More recently however, I’ve grown to love his work even more. His campaign for tackling sugar consumption is doing fantastic things, and I especially enjoyed watching Jamie’s Sugar Rush. Many of us do not realise that refined sugar hidden in almost all processed foods, and its addictive nature arguably makes it the greatest danger to health in modern societies. As for his food, I think he’s created a new outlook lately which really focuses on the effect that food has in our bodies. Mostly, I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Jamie’s Everyday Superfood television series and book, where he gives a whole new meaning to ‘superfood’. It’s not about chia seeds and goji berries, rather, we should focus real foods that nourish us. His website is also packed with loads of recipes and tips for a healthy lifestyle, which I have found to be really interesting. His YouTube channel, FoodTube, is also great as not only does he post his own cookery videos, it features many other influential chefs with lots of new and different ideas. Finally, as his above quote demonstrates, my favourite thing about Jamie Oliver is how it brings all my family and friends together. People know Jamie and they know his food (which is just one reason why Jamie tops Telegraph Hill’s list) and whilst I often have to eat a different meal to others, we can enjoy Jamie’s Superfood together.
As you can see, all of these foodies have had a great influence on me – how I cook, eat and live. Of course, I find my inspiration from all sorts of places, so if your favourite is not on this list, then I’d love to hear about them too.