I recently had the pleasure of meeting Zoe Bingley-Pullin at a her final Fit Food cooking class held at AboutLife Natural Marketplace, where she had been teaching for seven years. Wonderfully enthusiastic about her food philosophy and making healthy food simple, Zoe brimmed with excitement while she was thrown question after question about her thoughts on agave, activated nuts and olive oil.
Zoe is an accredited nutritionist, Vitasoy ambassador and co-star of Channel Ten’s Good Chef Bad Chef (GCBC) alongside Adrian Richardson. Her philosophy focuses on whole foods eating, and she aims to help people find and understand the joy in food and how to maintain balance in their eating.
She's set to start up more cooking classes in the new year, so sign up to her newsletter at Nutritional Edge for updates coming soon.
I caught up with Zoe in-between filming of the next season of GCBC, due to be aired in January. Watch this space...
1. HOW DID YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN ALL-STAR CHEF BEGIN?
I’m a very creative person, and food has always been a passion in my life. I followed this passion, and moved to London to become a trained chef at Le Cordon Bleu, then to work in the South of France, where I cooked with some of the world’s freshest produce. When I moved back to Australia, I undertook a Diploma of Nutrition to learn about the science behind food.
Since then, I’ve combined my knowledge of food and cooking with my nutrition knowledge to help people learn how to understand the joy of food and how to maintain balance in their eating.
Now I work in a variety of areas; I run my own nutrition clinic, I am a brand ambassador for Vitasoy, the food editor for Fitness First Magazine and the co-star of Good Chef Bad Chef.
2. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My biggest inspiration is my daughter Emily. It took four years and six cycles of IVF for me to fall pregnant, so she makes me feel grateful for what I have every single day. She also reminds me how much us women are capable of!
3. YOUR DAY ON A PLATE?
- On waking: I start the day with ½ a lemon or lime in a glass of room temperature filtered water, with 1 tbsp of chia seeds or psyllium husks to get my digestive system working.
- Breakfast: I love a smoothie. One of my favourites at the moment is my Green Goodness Frappe, made using Vitasoy’s new Oat & Almond Milk, Granny Smith apple, kale, cucumber, mint and chia seeds.
- Lunch: I’ll have something very fresh. Something I’ve enjoyed recently is a ham and salad sandwich, with ham of the bone, avocado, feta, cucumber, rocket, tomato and chutney on quinoa and multigrain bread.
- Dinner: I also like to keep dinner very fresh too, often incorporating seafood. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I love a vermicelli prawn salad with prawns, vermicelli noodles, kale, coriander andginger.
- Snacks: An after-dinner snack will normally be yoghurt with a couple of dried dates.
4: FAVOURITE WAY TO GET MOVING?
My favourite way to get moving is to take Emily for a walk. Getting outside in the fresh air is so good, and even something as simple as a walk is a great way to get moving. Plus I love spending the time with Emily.
Otherwise, I do weights twice a week and I also love yoga as it’s very calming after a long day.
5. THREE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
Being so passionate about food, I’m going to keep these food related!
At the moment, I love:
- Avocados: Michael (my husband), Emily and I go through at least one a day – we’re totally addicted!
- Lemons: there’s nothing better than lemon in water to help stabilise your body’s pH levels and help control inflammation. Try starting your day with this.
- Hummus: again it’s so versatile. It’s great to pull out as a dip with some fresh veggies if guests pop over, but also in baby food for Emily. Wild rice risotto with hummus and avocado always goes down a treat with her!
6. YOUR SECRET VICE
My secret vice is cheese. I was exposed to amazing cheese when I worked in the South of France, and really learnt to appreciate it. This is something that’s stuck with me since.
7. TOP SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST
My favourite music right now is anything by Sam Smith. I love his voice!
8. YOUR MANTRA
Always find the joy in food! Allow yourself a glass of wine from time to time – we all deserve it and it helps us keep a balance between nutritious eating and treating ourselves.
FINALLY…YOUR FAVOURITE RECIPE
These are perfect for entertaining over summer – plus they’re delicious!
Vitasoy Soy & Almond Milk Nut Fritters with Salsa Topping
Prep time: 10-15 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Serves: 10-12 fritters
Ingredients for cashew fritters:
- 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews, finely ground
- 1/4 cup Vitasoy Soy and Almond Milk
- 1/2 a bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped (alternatively use 2 dessert spoons of dried basil)
- 1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp. of Tamari soy sauce
- Small amount of olive oil
Ingredients for salsa topping:
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 tbsp. of Tamari soy sauce (alternatively use 2 pinches of salt)
- 2 tsp. tomato paste (gluten free)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 20g fetta or goats cheese (optional)
- Cook onion in heated olive oil until soft. Combine the cooked onion, cashews, Vitasoy Soy and Almond Milk, basil, Tamari soy sauce and egg in a bowl. Stir until thick and sticky.
- Use a dessert spoon to form fritters and cook in a pan on medium heat for 5 minutes each side, with a little olive oil.
- Sauté the tomato and garlic in a pan for about 10 minutes, or until pureed. Add the tomato paste and Tamari soy sauce.
- Serve the fritters on a plate with tomato sauce on top. Place slivers of fetta/goats cheese on top of tomato sauce and garnish with fresh basil leaves or coriander.
- Serve with a green salad.
Can't wait to see the return of my favourite cooking program. It's my Saturday morning entertainment on the cross trainer!
Want more from the good chef? Hang out with her here: