22 Mar 2023
It was an absolute pleasure to host Thomasina Miers on the podcast today. Entrepreneur, cook, TV personality, activist, writer and so much more. There isn’t much that this incredible person can’t do.
Like many of us, Tommi learnt to cook at her mothers side and after attempting to forge a career in advertising, journalism, digital consultancy, she followed her heart and went to cookery school.
Fast forward a few years, after travelling the world, Tommi went on to win Masterchef and create Wahaca inspired by the food markets of Mexico during her trips.
Tommi cares deeply about where our food comes from, how it is grown, supports the soil, biodiversity and the planet and believes everyone should have access to good ingredients.
I learnt so much more about Tommi and we chat about:
Remember you can check out Tommi’s incredible book “Meat Free Mexican” which has some glorious dishes and her regular column in the Guardian.
All the links to our discussion topics can be found on www.thedoctorskitchen.com/podcasts
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I learned to cook at my mother’s side. She started teaching me how to make a béchamel sauce, and to sweat onions until soft and sweet, when I was six. I was swiftly hooked.
I spent most of my twenties trying to find a career; I tried advertising, VAT consultancy, journalism and digital consultancy. I finally met Clarissa Dickson Wright on a catwalk in 2002 and she told me get to cracking and follow my passion.
It was her idea that I went to Ballymaloe Cookery School, which I loved. I followed that with a cheese farm in West Cork where I moonlighted making sourdough in my free-time to sell at farmers’ markets. It was magic.
After a few years I went back to Mexico, where I had travelled in my teens, to open and run a cocktail bar. The diversity of the ingredients and the quality of the food there blew me away and I travelled around the country as much as possible, learning all I could about the different regions and their recipes. Back in the UK, broke and with no idea what to do next, Masterchef came knocking with an unexpected and breath-taking win, then a stint at Petersham Nurseries under the watchful eye of Skye Gyngell.
A year later, in 2006, I was introduced to my business partner, Mark Selby, and after lengthy research and eating Wahaca was born, inspired by the food markets of Mexico. We wanted to show people how fresh and delicious Mexican food was but we also wanted our business to be as sustainable as possible. We recycled everything from our food waste to our bottles, putting a heavy emphasis on vegetarian choices; to this day our street food menu is around 45% vegetarian.
I have been writing a column in the Guardian’s Feast magazine every Saturday for five years, cooking seasonal, simple but delicious food. I care deeply about where our food comes from, how it is grown and how its growth supports the soil, biodiversity and the planet. Everyone should have access to good ingredients, and more locally grown fruit and vegetables. Much of my work delves into this, from work with the Soil Association, to creating a garden in my local primary school with help from the Fork to Fork food festival, to my work with Chefs in Schools, a charity of which I am a trustee.
I have presented several TV programmes including A Cook’s Tour of Spain and Mexican Food Made Simple and have written six cookery books, the latest being Home Cook, published by Faber & Faber. When I am not public speaking, writing recipes or cooking at events I am shopping at my local market, growing vegetables in our back garden and feeding my husband, three children and our friends.
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