Hello Canada: Australian Sensation Donna Hay

Simplicity is this popular Australian author’s secret recipe for successful entertaining

by Tania Leah Haas

Published December 2010

It’s spring in Australia, but Donna Hay has a craving for Canadian maple syrup. “My addiction is actually fuelled by a Canadian friend, who sends me big buckets,” Donna tells Hello! Canada.

As her passion for maple syrup suggests, the popular (and intensely private) cookbook author and mother of two is a fan of distinctive flavours. She is also a champion of simple recipes – especially during the busy holiday season. “While you do want something satisfying that your guests can enjoy, you don’t want to make anything too hard to eat while they’re chatting, so prepare food guests can nibble at,” she says. And when she’s having friends over for dinner, Donna believes the party begins in the kitchen, where the sounds and smells help create a warm and welcoming ambience.

Donna herself was welcomed into the kitchen at an early age: she started cooking for her parents and two siblings when she was still in grade school. She and her mother made a deal. “She’d say, “If you make dinner I’ll do all the cleaning up,’” the 39-year-old tells Hello!
“She didn’t really like to cook – and I can see that happening. With three kids it does become a chore.”

With two young children of her own, Donna can easily understand her mother’s struggle to balance work and family. “I think you lose a lot of ‘self’ luxuries when you have children,” she says, “so I’ve become a lot more self- disciplined.” In terms of her cooking, that has meant learning to create delicious dishes that require just a few ingredients and minimal cooking time.

Donna’s flair for creating food that is both stunning to look at and simple to make is more evident than ever in her recently published 18th cookbook, Seasons. Her goal, Donna has said, is to have readers look at the pictures of her creations, be inspired to make them and then be able to find all the ingredients in their local store.

Now if only she could find Canadian maple syrup more easily in Australia!

To view Donna’s recipes, download the PDF below:

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