Food for Thought: Meet 10 Healthy British Cooks

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By Lora O’Brien

It’s not that we’re saying the  UK does it best, but we don’t do bad. And we have a whole host of chefs to thank for the revolutionary way we’ve started to see food: as a friend, not a foe.

For as long as we can remember it seems the world has been stuck in Groundhog Day-type loop between bingeing on sugary snacks and heaps of junk food, and then dieting to shed the pounds. All before entering that vicious cycle  once again. And it’s toxic – it’s bad for the mind, bad for the body and is anything but sustainable.

But healthy eating has never before been so  easily accessible. There are cookbooks, there are blogs. There are even apps for our phones making healthy food quite literally at the touch of our fingertips. And there are 10 wonderfully healthy British cooks helping to bring delicious, nutritious food to your kitchen.

1.  Deliciously Ella


Name: Ella Woodward

I think we can all relate to Ella Woodward’s past as a ‘sugar monster’. But after becoming  bed-ridden due to diet-based health issues, Ella has  since found the road to recovery is based on eating pure, plant based foods. With a cookbook out and a phone app under her wing, Deliciously Ella is a name that many of the health community already know well and trust.

Why we love Ella: We mainly love Ella for the simple fact her food is easy. She doesn’t spout ingredients at us that we’ve never even heard of before. The majority of her food is relatively  easy to throw together with some recipes   that take a little longer for special occasions. Oh, and she sells the cutest plant-based slogan clothing on her website!


Cookbooks:  Deliciously Ella, Deliciously Ella Every Day,    and Natural Feasts.

Favourite recipe: Her sweet potato brownies are now world famous, but at the moment we can’t get enough of her salted  vanilla and almond butter cups!


2.  Hemsley & Hemsley


Name(s): Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley

Age: 28-34

Bio: Sisters truly are doing it for themselves (and us)! Both girls are big  food lovers and they  share a passion for wellness and healthy cooking. Not only do these sibling chefs have a best-selling cookbook on their resumes, but they also contribute to and The Guardian.  The Hemsley sisters now have a large celebrity clientele who often hire them for high-profile events around the world, and if you ever wondered how to make their famous  Zoodles (that’s noodles made from zucchini), these sisters have recently brought out a spiralizer of their own which will allow you to do just that.

Why we love them: Bid goodbye to yo-yo dieting, because these sisters have come up with a variety of recipes packed full of flavour, nutrition and colour that you’ll love to cook and taste. They’re far from hardcore veganistas-in fact, they live by the rule ‘a little of what you fancy does you good.’


Cookbook: The Art of Eating Well.

Favourite recipe: Their spicy buckwheat noodles with tamarind  sauce is a lunchtime favourite!


3.  Jamie Oliver


Name:  Jamie Oliver

Age:  40

Bio: How could we write about British chefs and not include this cheeky chappy? He’s the lynchpin for the revolution in cleaner food, and this Essex born lad has  come a long way since his Naked Chef days. Jamie has now dedicated himself to encouraging people to cook their meals not only from scratch, but with locally sourced, fresh  ingredients. He’s a passionate advocate of feeding kids right, in order to curb the obesity crisis facing many little ones in developed countries today. I think it’s fair to say that in a world consumed by fast food, Jamie is bringing an old fashioned sense of cooking back to mealtimes.

Why we love Jamie: We all remember going to our grandparent’s house for a sit down meal that didn’t come out of the microwave in sixty seconds, and that’s exactly why we love Jamie. Not because he reminds us of our grandparents or anything, but because he’s bringing love back into cooking and helping families  to enjoy it all over again. Other than that, he sells some really cool kitchen gadgets that we’re obsessed with.


Cookbooks: This chef has more cookbooks than anyone we know, but our favourite has to be Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals. Who doesn’t have 15 minutes to cook something tasty?

Favourite recipe:  His aubergine  veggie lasagne  is definitely something we’ll never get tired of eating. Get the recipe here.


4.  Honestly Healthy


Name:  Natasha Corrett

Age: 31

Bio: Like most of us,  Natasha Corrett has found herself feeling a little heavier and unable to shift the pounds. But after Natasha found herself  30 kilos heavier  after an accident,  a doctor told her that her body was also highly acidic. After researching into  alkaline diets, Natasha took the plunge and  changed her lifestyle there and then. Now with a wealth of knowledge under her belt from godmother, Vicki Edgson, who co-wrote her first two books, Natasha’s career is thriving and going from strength to strength. And  not only does Natasha have three cookbooks currently on her repertoire, but there’s also the Honestly Healthy phone app which is a must-have if you’re constantly on the go and looking for quick and easy recipes.  All recipes on the HH site cater to all kinds of food choices, clearly listing whether the recipe is gluten free, vegetarian or vegan.

Why we love Natasha: We’d seriously be lost without our Honestly Healthy phone app.


Cookbooks:  Honestly Healthy, Honestly Healthy for Life and Honestly Healthy Cleanse, amongst others.

Favourite recipe:  Sweet potato chocolate brownies, hello!


5. Get The Glow


Name:  Madeleine Shaw

Age: 25

Bio:  Madeleine strongly believes that food is the most powerful drug. With this belief she set of on a mission to uncover just how delicious, nutritious and affordable healthy eating can be. In fact, few  understand how food can impact on our health more than Madeleine – for years, she battled with painful IBS, slept through many days and that glow she now promotes was evading her leaving her lifeless. But since working at an organic cafe in Australia, Madeleine has come back to London with the knowledge she learnt when living amongst some of the healthiest people she’s ever met. And she’s sharing all of that vital information with us all. And now you too can get the glow.

Why we love Madeleine: We never struggle to satisfy our cravings with a recipe from Madeleine’s book or a quick peek on her blog.


Cookbooks:  Get the Glow

Favourite recipe:  Organic eggs on buckwheat pancakes. The perfect healthy brunch!

6.  Food to Love


Name:  Jenna Zoe

Bio:  Sure, Jenna looks gorgeous with her glowing skin and incredible head of shiny hair. But the road from junk foodie to clean eater wasn’t so simple. Jenna claims it took her a six year journey to truly find herself, and once she did, she wanted to share what she learned. Having been a strict vegan for five years, Jenna is hugely passionate about eating whole, unprocessed foods with kale, sweet potatoes, avocado and hemp seeds to name a few. Jenna is now a nutritionist and has packed 100 of her favourite recipes into her book.

Why we love  Jenna: Not only does she have a cookbook full of tasty recipes, but she also has an online shop where you can buy vital ingredients for a plant-based diet.


Cookbooks:  Super Healthy Snacks and Treats

Favourite recipe: Jenna’s Lunch in a Hurry is great for the office.


7.  Anna Jones

Anna Jones

Name:  Anna Jones

Age: 36

Bio:  Once upon a time, Anna Jones was part of Jamie Oliver’s team at The Fifteen, a year long apprentice program that teaches 15 budding cooks all they need to know in the kitchen. Anna truly blossomed  during the experience, going on to work for seven more years at Jamie Oliver, but she now  works independently as a stylist and food writer as well as a cook and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the best chefs in the business.

Why we love Anna: We love that Anna makes simple recipes taste so great. She truly does cater for the modern girl that doesn’t always have the time to stand sweating  over the stove creating culinary perfection, but wants something tasty, wholesome and quick to put together.


Cookbooks: A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes

Favourite recipe: Sweet potato quesadillas, oh my! Get the recipe here.


8.  At The Kitchen Table


Name:  Sophie Dahl

Age: 36

Bio:  Sophie may have been the inspiration behind eponymous character in her famous grandfather’s iconic story The BFG, but she’s become an inspiration to us and not just for the way she too creates magic when  putting pen to paper. Both a  devoted eater and cook, Sophie took the time to write her first cookbook in 2009. Since Sophie has worked on a popular cooking series on BB2 titled The Delicious Miss Dahl, and has since written her second cookbook. Sophie now works on her website called At The Kitchen Table, which she  explained is so-called because, ‘Most of life happens at the kitchen table.’ The blog is a host to  recipes and lifestyle blogs, and encourages other women and occasionally men to partake with their words of wisdom for her to share with us all.

Why we love Sophie: There’s a real family vibe to Sophie’s website and the way in which she supports like-minded people in the industry. We love a girl that supports other women! #GirlPower!


Cookbooks:  Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights and From Season to Season: A Year in Recipes.

Favourite recipe: Sweet  red onion and hazelnut pizzette is the perfect weekend treat, and you won’t feel so sinful after eating the entire thing! Get the recipe here.


9. Amelia Freer

AmeliaFreerName:  Amelia Freer

Bio:  Amelia was unwell and found that doctors were unable to help her much. She discovered that the more she learned about the medicinal powers of good food and the better she ate, the better she felt.  Amelia completely changed her diet, but never felt like she was restricted–she even started recreating comfort foods just switching out the bad ingredients to healthier alternatives. Today, Amelia is helping other people to feel stronger and healthier through her work. She’s already the reason behind several celebrity slim-downs: in fact, if you’re looking to be a client of Amelia’s, I’m afraid you may have a long wait as she’s become increasingly popular.

Why we love Amelia: Not only does she have a successful cookbook, she also has a series of seriously cheap e-books that  you can get from Amazon  for a modest 99p!


Cookbooks:  Eat. Nourish. Glow.

Favourite recipe:  Rainbow salad in a jar.  SO easy to make and a great  food for lunch boxes. Get the recipe here


10.  Veggie Chef


Name:  Eddie Shepherd

Age:  31

Bio:  He’s been hailed as the Heston Blumenthal of the vegetarian world for his attention to detail and innovative designs on the plate, and chef Eddie Shepherd sure is making a name for himself. Eddie’s simplistic plates may look as though you’d be reaching for the bread basket in-between servings,  but it’s this modern minimalism that has gained him his  success. Not only does he have a blog, an online shop and a series of e-books making fine dining easily accessible to those wanting to try their hand at it, but he also holds regular supper clubs.

Why we love Eddie: In a world where we’re used to seeing male chefs serving up slabs of meat, it’s so refreshing to find a chef as enthusiastic about food that just so happens to shy away from dead animals. Kudos!


Cookbooks:  Eddie has a collection of e-books under his belt, his most recent one being titled Modern Vegetarian Chef.

Favourite recipe: Savoury beetroot meringue. Are you intrigued? Get the recipe here



Lora O'Brien
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