Niki Bezzant - Making Great Food Healthy

Niki Bezzant is a food and nutrition writer, columnist and commentator in New Zealand. She is the founding editor and now Editor-at-large for Healthy Food Guide magazine. The author of two cookbooks, Niki is a weekly columnist for the Herald on Sunday, a regular blogger, speaker and frequent contributor to TV and radio. She is a member of the Council of Directors of the True Health Initiative, an ambassador for Garden to Table, and President of Foodwriters NZ. 

One of Niki’s recipes will be featuring in an upcoming WOOP box as part of the new WOOP Guest Foodie Series. For those that haven’t yet heard, WOOP is a food box delivery service that lives and breathes the mantra of ‘slow food fast’ – it’s for people who want to eat incredible food, but don’t have the time to prpepare it. The team will go one step further to make things easy for you. They’ll find the freshest ingredients and prep, parboil, dice and slice – even make dressings, sauces and marinades from scratch – so that you don’t have to.

Niki’s WOOP recipe – miso beef with parmesan roasted root vegetables and a lemony brussel sprout slaw – is all about showing people how to make great food healthy.

What is the future of cooking?

Haha this is such a big question! I don’t know what we’ll be eating in the future, but I suspect more and more it will involve whole, fresh unprocessed ingredients; this seems to be something people are really gravitating towards now.

Do you have a food philosophy?

Of course! It’s basically “eat what makes you happy, and listen to your body”. I talk about this in my TEDx talk (it’s on YouTube) - it’s about moderation plus pleasure, basically. A little bit of everything, not too much of anything and don’t get too hung up on obsessing about the details.

What’s the most important thing about cooking?

Don’t take it too seriously. It’s just food.

What do you think would encourage more people to cook healthily?

Knowing that it’s easy to eat well, and it doesn’t have to involve dozens of specialty ingredients or restrictive rules.

What impact do you think recipe delivery services will have on people’s eating habits?

I hope they will make it easier for people to eat better, overall. Especially when they’re really busy.  

What are some of your favourite ingredients to cook with?

Miso, chillies, lemons and basically all veges!

Tell us about your WOOP dish.

It’s a hearty meat and veges dish, with a ton of umami. The miso is used in a way we might not expect, as a kind of sauce/marinade that complements the grilled, smoky meat. It uses swede, too, which is a vastly underrated and quite delicious vegetable, especially when roasted, as it is here. Ditto brussels sprouts - I’m challenging people here, but trust me, the slaw made with these babies is really good!

What’s going on in your life at the moment – any projects, passions or focuses?

 I’m spending more time speaking to corporate and conference groups about healthy eating and wellness - it’s such an important thing to look after ourselves at work, since we are spending more and more time there these days! And I’m enjoying writing recipe and making videos for Healthy Food Guide, so I stay connected there. My weekly column in the Herald on Sunday is fun to work on, too.

What’s your pet peeve in the kitchen?

Knives that aren’t sharp.  

Favourite international cuisine?

Japanese. But it really depends on the day.

Thoughts on the phrase slow food fast?

Slow food fast - it’s what WOOP really is all about, isn’t it? They are making real, healthy and delicious food that would otherwise take ages to cook, really quick and easy.

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