Maggie Beer: An Australian Cooking Icon
The name Maggie Beer is eponymous with Australian gourmet food and wine. She is a celebrated cook, author, restaurateur, and television host. But before she captivated the nation (and beyond) with her farm-to-table style, she moved to the Barossa Valley with her husband Colin to pursue a dream of farming pheasants.
'Together with Colin, we started being producers just under 50 years ago,' she says.
Maggie never sought professional training as a chef. Instead, her lessons came from personal experience and the world around her. This is most apparent when she speaks of the place she now calls home.
The Barossa taught us everything...I learned the rhythm of the seasons, and it’s all about how to grow and when to pick ripe.'
This knowledge, gleaned in scenic South Australia, is now shared with a community of heartfelt food devotees. With the help of Maggie‘s cookbooks, newsletters, and exceptional gourmet products, generations of Australians have been inspired to live—and eat—seasonally.
'Waste not want not' is an old adage that Maggie has embodied throughout her career. One of her signature products, Verjuice, is a prime example of this.
Back in the early 80s, Maggie read about ‘verjus’ in multiple French cookbooks. There happened to be an oversupply of grapes in the Barossa that year. She utilised this leftover fruit, and by doing so, revolutionised how many Australians cook.
With so much experience in the industry, it hasn't always been smooth sailing. The seasons sometimes take their toll.
'We’ve seen it all. We’ve seen boom and bust, but you have to adapt, and you have to learn to go with the flow of nature. You can’t predict everything. You’d like to.'
Even in the absence of certainty, there is always room to make do with what’s in front of you. With a little imagination, and plenty of passion, anyone can take on Maggie‘s philosophy of cooking from the heart.
Pictured: Maggie Beer
It’s all about how to grow and when to pick ripe.
Having lunch with all of our producers on KI