Woman of the Week: Tess Ward
Having catered for the likes of Mulberry and Alice Temperley, it’s safe to say that Tess Ward really knows her stuff when it comes to the kitchen. We chat to ‘The Yes Chef’ herself, to find out how cooking can become a means of empowerment, and why The Naked Diet can enable anyone and everyone to achieve this…
1. Unlike so many other health gurus out there, you have incredible experience as an actual chef. Tell us about your journey into the food industry, and how your past adventures have shaped your present position.
I was so lucky to work with talented chefs that shared my interest in the importance of where food comes from. What we put into our body depends with how we grow it as well as the way it is prepared. Learning that and how to apply it to a kitchen is a gift. You learn to saver everything and reuse what many might consider to be not worth saving.
2. We love your tag line: 'The Yes Chef'. Tell us a bit more about this food philosophy.
The Yes Chef is about positive empowerment in the kitchen. It is a fun and playful approach to cooking that is inclusive and accessible for everyone
3. Why did you decide to call your book 'The Naked Diet'? What do you think makes this cookbook stand out from the rest?
It drove me nuts that so many 'healthy recipes' called for so many expensive ingredients, and I wanted to show that this didn't have to be the case. The Naked Diet is all about stripped back dishes, wholesome foods and recipes made with several key ingredients. My favourite recipe in the book is undoubtedly the Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Rhubarb Sauce.
4. You have catered for the likes of Alice Temperley and Mulberry (so exciting!) - were there any special requests/dietary requirements that you had to take into account? At what stage in your food career did you know that you were set for success?
Most of the time guests are interested in having a good time, rather than just focusing on the food. It is always amazing when the guests like your food enough to offer a standing ovation though. Laura Bailey was a fan of my Sweet Potato with Hazelnuts and Spelt (in the book).
5. We love that you love to travel. Do you have a favourite cuisine? If you could jet-set anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go?
I love Italy for great quality produce. They also have such a wonderful celebratory attitude towards food, which I share. Their beautiful burrata, air dried ham, parmesan and Puglian olives are my biggest ingredient splurges.
6. Where do you think will be the next food hotspot for London? Is there a particular place you have been recently that really nails the wow-factor?
I’d say my current favourite is Palomar (Rupert St).
7. Give us three ingredients/ kitchen kit you couldn’t live without and why.
Cold pressed olive oil
A Dehydrator – I use it for more than apple chips
Raw Cacao - everything is better with a sprinkle of chocolate!
8. If you were to host your own intimate dinner party, who would you invite, why, and what would you cook?
I would invite a selection of friends and family and cook a mixture of dishes. I like to balance elements of raw, cooked and cured/ pickled.
Perhaps beef carpaccio to start, with pickled red cabbage - chicken with hazelnuts and spring onion for main, sautéed potatoes and a shaved salad and for pudding maybe caramelised blood oranges with the cacao and prune frozen ricotta (in my book).
9. What is your favourite form of exercise?
I love yoga to unwind my mind and running to energise me.
10. What is next for Tess? Where can you see yourself in the next 5 years, and what do you plan to achieve in 2016?
I have a great supper club coming up at Grace Belgravia on the 21st April, am running a retreat in the South of France with Pop Up Fitness in May and am working on a few other exciting plans too.
Of course I will keep you all updated on instagram @tessward
For more about Tess Ward, click here.