Chefs & Foodies

“Having been involved in the food industry in one way or another for many years, I have become increasingly concerned about the plight of factory-farmed animals, and the oft-times cruel conditions in which they live out their lives. I think our responsibility as human beings isn’t only to show compassion and kindness towards each other,but also to all the other creatures that we share our world with. I’m not a vegetarian, nor an idealist, but I do know that a small shift in our thinking, along with more ethical farming practices, could make a world of difference, and allow these animals to have the better, kinder life they deserve.”

Belinda Jeffery

Belinda Jeffery is an award-winning author, television food presenter, freelance writer, restaurant reviewer and cooking teacher. She is also a regular contributor to delicious magazine and has written four award-winning cookbooks – Belinda Jeffery’s Collected Recipes (a compilation of her first two books- Belinda Jeffery's 100 Favourite Recipes and Belinda Jeffery's Tried-and-True Recipes), Mix & Bake; and The Country Cook Book. Her fifth book, Desserts, was published in October 2012. Belinda is a passionate ambassador for farmers markets, and a supporter of ethical farming practices.

"Less is more (healthy) when it comes to the amount of meat we eat, with the variety and types of meat consumed also playing a large role in what is considered healthy.* Consuming large amounts of red meat is considered to be a factor for increasing the risk of bowel cancer. If you eat more than one hundred grams of red meat per day, every day, you raise your risk of the disease by seventeen per cent. Additionally processed meats compound the risk.* While we can't change some risk factors for bowel cancer such as our genetic makeup, family history of the disease or increasing age, we can make some changes to our diet and physical activity starting today."

Teresa Mitchell-Paterson

Teresa Mitchell-Patterson is Bowel Cancer Australia's qualified nutritionist who holds a Masters of Health Science in Human Nutrition and is a bowel cancer survivor herself. Teresa first became aware of bowel cancer when a close relative was diagnosed with the disease. She keeps a vigilant eye on the scientific developments regarding food and bowel cancer, including risks linked to the consumption of red and processed meats. As a member of the charity's advisory services team, Teresa provides evidence-based, best practice nutritional advice and dietary tips for bowel cancer prevention and treatment. Also, she contributes regularly to published health articles and is often quoted in the media on topics such as nutrition, natural therapies and wellbeing.

"Being vegetarian my whole life has enabled me to enjoy every meal meat free! Living compassionately and understanding what is on my plate and how it has gotten there is a major point of my life. I have seen the ripple affect that leading a plant-based lifestyle has had on all beings and love empowering people with knowledge of what choices they can make for their plate. Not only the welfare of our animal friends but our health as human beings and our planet greatly improves with moving towards a plant-based diet.

My Husband and I were able to overcome his chronic autoimmune disease through moving into a low fat plant-based diet to heal and repair from the inside out. It is a simple and logical choice to fill our body with vibrant, nutrient-dense foods, that create long-term health and wellness for ourselves and the planet."

Melissa Paddison

Melissa grew up in Orlando, Florida and was raised in a vegetarian family. She has always loved spending time in the kitchen and doesn't know any other way to cook than meat-free. Melissa has always craved vibrant, healthy, nutrient-dense foods and has expressed her passion through cooking and sharing her knowledge of a plant-based diet with family and friends. Melissa now resides in Sydney, where she is a photographer and yoga teacher. Also, Melissa and her Husband are wellness coaches and inspire others on a path towards wellness. They have created The Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis and The Paddison Program for Optimal Health, where Melissa has designed recipes to repair, rebuild and restore health, beginning with the digestive system.

"I am mad fan of meat free week for a number of reasons but mainly because I believe it allows us to highlight whole produce that is so often neglected. The primary focus is always on the protein as the hero and as much as we love the delicious sides they don’t get the true attention they deserve.

Meat free week allows us to make vegies, fruits and wholegrains look like Batman, not just the side-kick Robin - best analogy ever:) They are super tasty, amazing for you and did I say super tasty? Next time you make a dinner make the colourful vegies the heroes and the protein won’t be missed. When you decide to bring meat back in you’ll have a new respect for the colourful legends and hopefully you won’t need to call them sides anymore! Yewww!"

Dan Churchill

Daniel Churchill is ‘The Healthy Cook’. He is a cook, author, personal trainer and speaker. In 2014 he received international recognition with a worldwide book deal with Simon & Schuster and TV series in 2014. His book The Healthy Cook was published in November 2014 and the follow-up Dude Food will be published in 2015. You can visit Dan at subscribe to his Youtube Channel

“Even though I’ve never been a vegetarian, somehow I've been well known for my vegetable and fruit focused dishes ever since I created one of London’s first ‘garden menus’ back in the mid nineties at my Pimlico restaurant Roussillon. Since then, the world has become far more aware of the impact that global industrial meat production has on the environment, reducing daily meat consumption and focusing on quality has become a real priority for intelligent people. My seasonal fruits and vegetables tasting menu at my restaurant Gauthier Soho remains a popular choice for my diners everyday."

Alexis Gauthier

Alexis Gauthier is one of the most charismatic and popular chefs working in Britain today. Born and raised in the South of France, he was classically trained in Michelin-starred restaurants, including two years as an apprentice at Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Monaco. He moved to London to become chef at Roussillon in Pimlico, where with his emphasis on the freshest vegetables he gained his first Michelin star. He launched Gauthier Soho in 2010, his original approach to cooking attracting immediate acclaim from critics and diners alike. Since then, Alexis has published the vegetable focused book ‘Vegetronic’, and appeared regularly on MasterChef and Saturday Kitchen and in 2012 hosted the final of Celebrity MasterChef.

"Pigs and poultry meat and egg birds have faired worse than other livestock as our demand to eat ridiculous amounts of meat everyday “on tap” have risen in the last seventy years. There are also ethical dilemmas in sheep, dairy, fish and beef meat farming and much work to be done to improve conditions in these farms.

As custodians of this planet it is our job to make these changes happen by asking the right questions and rewarding farmers who follow best practice with fair prices for their work and produce.

By purchasing ethically sourced meat, eating less of it or perhaps giving meat a miss all together you have the power to make A LOT of lives so much better.

By participating in Meat free week you can do your bit to bring about some positive change. So why not make a commitment to doing a good thing and “tread a little lighter” for seven days this March?"

Simon Bryant

Simon Bryant is most recognised as ‘The Chef’ on ABC’s The Cook & The Chef with food icon Maggie Beer. Originally a motor mechanic, Simon realised the kitchen was his calling, with stints at the Hilton Adelaide for over 10 years, The Grange and The Brasserie, where he emerged as South Australia’s hottest young chefs. Simon is passionate about using his chef profile to highlight ethical food issues, including fair payment for producers’ ethically produced food, choosing local seasonal ingredients, using Australian native foods and ethical treatment of animals in the food chain. Simon is an ambassador for Meat Free Week as well as Animal Welfare League South Australia, Animals Asia Foundation and The Department of Environment and Heritage Kitchen Garden Foundation. He is also passionate about educating Australians of all ages about the benefits of eating and growing their own food.

"Eating vegetarian or vegan full time isn’t for everyone and one of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking it’s so simple for everyone to just cut out meat, full stop. Meat Free Week is a great opportunity for people to try some meat free dishes, without the pressure of having to go full time ‘animal free’. It also encourages people to be creative and open to meat free dishes which, when eaten in place of regular meals a couple of times a week, reap many health benefits. Eating meat free will make you feel great - even if its only a couple of days per week!”

Renae Smith

After a number of years of successfully working within the legal arena, Renae created The Atticism. It was a huge success, with clients labelling her unique marketing strategies as a "breath of fresh air". In August 2013, Renae was honoured by winning the Pedestrian TV Bachelorette of the Year (Reader's Choice). In late 2013, after encouragement from her children, Renae applied to become a contestant on Masterchef Australia. Her successful audition eventually saw her place 8th in Series 6 where she became known for her love of local ingredients, rustic cooking and vegetarian food.

"Meat Free Week is not just about avoiding meat, and its certainly not just about eating veggies.

Supporting meat free week is far more about awareness and education so that we have the ability to make informed choices about what we're eating for the benefit of our health, animal welfare and the environment.

It not just about eating fruit and veggies, it’s about celebrating them. Showing how compete meat-free meals can be in terms of texture, colour and flavour and pushing the boundaries with our beautiful Australian produce."

Mindy Woods

After pursuing a career in physiotherapy, Mindy Woods decided to chase her ultimate dream of a career in food by competing in season four of MasterChef Australia. Finishing up in the top four of the competition, Mindy’s career in the food industry has since taken off, working with Hamish Ingham at his hatted restaurant Bar H in Sydney, hosting industry events and food demonstrations; and creating a national pop-up restaurant tour. Mindy recently presented at a nationwide pop-up event promoting local Australian produce, producers and sustainable seafood, further highlighting her wishes to ‘Discover, Create, Nourish and Inspire’. Mindy’s love for food was inspired by her father who was a trained chef, as well as travelling throughout Australia and living in Malaysia, where she developed a strong affinity for South East Asian cuisine. She recently visited South East Asia to revisit the cuisine and culture she’s passionate about.

Georgina Hayden
Alice Hart

“Sometime after the second world war we moved into an era from 'waste nothing, grow your own' to a frenzied time of excess and greed. We want it when we want it, and for as little as possible. Scientists and breeders went berserk trying to feed the world with strains of flora and fauna but forgot about two main things, the TASTE and the well-being of us and what we eat!

How have we got this far where we no longer care for the origin of what we put into our mouths? Do we ever stop to think that many modern day health problems could simply be what we eat or the hidden things in them? If I could, I’d bet my house that in the years to come we will realise that factory farming and high pesticide use in farming is a major factor into what is slowly killing us or at the very least changing our eating habits for the worse.”

Matt Wilkinson

Learning his trade in London and Edinburgh, Matt honed his culinary craft under two Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart. Since arriving in Melbourne in 2000, Matt worked as sous chef to Shannon Bennett, had his first head chef role at Alevansi in 2004 and received his first Chef’s Hat in the 2005 The Age Good Food Guide. After working at Circa, The Prince Matt opened Pope Joan in 2010 and bar Bishop of Ostia in early 2012. Matt is also co-owner of slow-food fast food outlet Spudbar, a healthy, organic alternative to typical fast food lunch options. March 2012 saw Matt publishing his first book, Mr Wilkinson’s Favourite Vegetables, showcasing 24 of Matt’s favourite vegetables and his ultimate recipes for each. Alongside his role as a delicious Magazine Produce Awards state judge for Victoria and an ambassador for the Victorian Farmers Market Association, Matt also loves to tend to his own garden, fly fishing and spending time with his partner Sharlee and their ‘hooligan’ pet, Finn.

"Dinner at my house is regularly inspired by what I have found in my local store that day - there is nothing better than fruit and vege at the height of their seasons. Food should be fresh, easy and nourishing, by eating seasonally you are most of the way there!"

Bill Granger

Based in Sydney and London with his wife and daughters, Bill Granger is a restaurateur and self-taught cook, whose relaxed and joyful approach to food is a key element of his popularity. Bill opened his first restaurant, bills in Sydney at the age of 22 and now has three restaurants in Sydney, along with eateries in Honolulu, London, Tokyo and Seoul. He has also written a number of cookbooks that have become international bestsellers and translated into several languages including bills Sydney Food, bills Open Kitchen, Every Day and Feed Me Now. Bill regularly contributes to national magazines and newspapers, and his television series have been viewed in 30 countries worldwide.

"I believe that meat free week will educate the consumer and educate all of us about what happens to meat before it comes to our table. I think it's important that this education and our knowings of what goes on in the food chain is passed on to the consumer so they comprehend it. I buy organic and I buy direct from farm meat as much as I can. I don't believe in cruelty but I do believe in beautiful food and I do believe in education – and for me – that's what meat free week means."

Rowie Dillon

Rowie Dillon has become known as Australia’s Gluten Free Queen since she founded Rowie’s Cakes in Sydney 10 years ago- a kitchen that bakes wheat, yeast, dairy and gluten-free. She feels there is a misconception that gluten-free food is dull. Rowie’s focus on the science of baking and cooking is critical to creating wicked treats that rock and taste great. Her recipes feature flours made from Aztec grains and seeds such as quinoa and amaranth; as well as tapioca, potato and wheat-free corn flours. She stresses how scientific the baking process is and the necessity to understand the method in order to achieve the desired result. Rowie’s Cakes supplies universally free cakes, biscuits and special meals to some of the world’s premier airlines including Qantas and her distinctive red and white packaged products are stocked in Woolworths, Thomas Dux stores and David Jones Food Halls nationwide. As Rowie says - Enjoy and Indulge.

“Ethical eating is something that I am passionate about. My team on delicious and I always purchase free-range eggs for shoots and testing, plus we visit the markets every week to source fresh, local produce for use in the recipes for the magazine. Sometimes even the beans from my garden appear on shoots – which is definitely eating local!”

Valli Little

Widely regarded as one of Australia’s most exciting food writers, Valli Little joined the ABC’s delicious magazine as Food Director in 2001. Valli’s passion for food shines through in her writings and recipes that are imaginative, easy to follow and most importantly, fail-safe. As part of her role, she creates up to 60 recipes every month inspired by her travels and love of good food. All of Valli’s cookbooks are best sellers, as she inspires with recipes that she likes to feel take people out of their culinary comfort zone. Valli’s hobbies include trying to get things to grow in her vegetable garden, watching her son play rugby, visiting farmers markets and planning holidays in France.

“We eat far too much meat in the West - too much for our own health, and far too much for the welfare of the many millions of animals we raise for food. I believe that factory farming is plain wrong - environmentally and ethically".

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Hugh is a British celebrity chef, television personality, food writer and ‘real food’ campaigner, known for his back-to-basics philosophy. He is best known for being the lead personality in the River Cottage television series on UK's Channel 4, which focuses on his efforts to become a self-reliant downshifted farmer in rural England and feed himself, family and friends with locally-produced and sourced fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs and meat. 

"I believe that the food we eat should not only be good for us, but that it should be produced in a way that’s responsible to our environment and a way that shows respect and care for the thing that it is. And so a tomato should taste like a tomato, a chicken should be free to roam outdoors for most of the day and cows should eat grass in the pastures.

The reason why I wanted to get involved with the Meat Free Week campaign was to raise further awareness of the state of factory farming and highlight an important fact in all of this: WE have the choice to vote with our food dollars every time we go shopping. While I am not a full-time vegetarian, I am committed to buying organic and free-range, and I do try to limit my family’s consumption of meat to 3 or 4 times a week because I believe it makes for a more environmentally conscious living."

Martyna Angell

Martyna is a Sydney-based recipe developer, food blogger and author of two eCookbooks. She has worked as a recipe developer and photographer for various all-natural food brands, including Anathoth and Brookfarm; and is the only blogger contributor to Meat Free Mondays Australia. Martyna’s passion for wholesome, sustainable food is evident in the recipes she creates for her clients and blog, Wholesome Cook. The aim of Wholesome Cook is to create a point of reference for healthy, nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals without breaking the bank or over-complicating things. The idea is that it’s an anti-revolution to the world of highly processed, fast-food and pre-packaged meals. Her latest eCookbook, Guilt-Free Desserts focuses on vegan, gluten-free and processed sugar-free treats. Her recent eBook, 40+ Quick and Healthy Smoothies encourages increased consumption of plant-based whole foods and sustainable, organic dairy. Follow Martyna on Instagram: @wholesomecook




I am a staunch believer in promoting cruelty free animal farming. I do eat meat myself but I only ever buy and consume free-range pork, poultry and eggs. There is no excuse for anyone to buy animal products sourced from unfortunate, miserable caged animals. We must ensure that if we are going to eat meat, that we do our best as humans to ensure the animals endure as little suffering as possible during their short lives. Buy only from factory free farmers and producers and help stop animals being reared in horrendous conditions.

Katie Quinn Davies

Originally from Dublin, Ireland and now based in Sydney, Katie Quinn Davies is a freelance commercial photographer specialising in food and lifestyle subjects, particularly focusing on the former. In the past two and a half years Katie has developed a respectable editorial and advertising client list, including Penguin Books, Murdoch books, ACP Magazines, Martha Stewart Living, Food + Wine NYC, Fairfax Media, Tourism Victoria, KitchenAid, Sonoma Breads and Taylors Wines. She is also a cookbook author, recipe writer and a regular contributor to Australia’s ABC delicious magazine. In her spare time, Katie writes and shoots for her website What Katie Ate, where she develops, cooks, styles and shoots each recipe. In 2012, Katie released her first extensive hardback What Katie Ate cookbook, which is full of honest, home-cooked recipes that are mainly inspired by Katie’s love for throwing dinner parties for friends and family.

"Having grown up on a farm in Ireland, I've always been a huge supporter of people who grow and produce food ethically. Free range is great for the animal but it carries right through to the consumer and that is the best part of it. Number one, you know the animal has had a great life, secondly it is ultimately better for your health, and thirdly it tastes better. If you are going to eat meat, please choose free range. At the end of the day, these are just old fashioned, proper farming techniques. It is farming how it used to be, and it is farming how it should be now."

Darren Simpson

Kicking off his culinary career in Northern Ireland, Darren Simpson was named the UK’s Young Chef of the Year at age 21, the youngest ever winner of the prestigious annual award open to all UK chefs under the age of 25. Between 1992 and 1999, Darren trained and worked at some of the best restaurants in Ireland and London before being head-hunted to become the head chef at Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant in Circular Quay, Sydney. Next, Darren opened the award-winning modern Italian restaurant La Sala in Sydney in 2005, receiving rave reviews. Darren has also appeared on various television programs including The Best in Australia on The LifeStyle Channel, Channel Seven’s Sunrise, My Restaurant Rules and Ready Steady Cook. Off screen, Darren has contributed to several national and international publications such as Esquire Magazine, FHM and the Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Good Food’.