Author Interview: Jody Vassallo

Jody Vassallo is a well known foodie who has worked with multiple publishers writing food and is working with Jamie Oliver, we were able to find out a little more about her and her latest release Beautiful Food.

Hi Jody and welcome to Beauty and Lace.

When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in food?

I was about 26 years old and working as a masseuse, I’d had a car accident which made massaging for long hours challenging. Donna Hay was my sisters best friend, she suggested I enrol in a home ec course at TAFE. The rest is history

How did you come to write your first cookbook?

My first books were for the Marie Claire style series. I was working as the Food Director at Murdoch Books and my boss called me into her office and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

What inspired you to write ‘Beautiful Food’?

I have been passionate about health for many years now and have written many cookbooks for people with specific dietary problems. I had studied Ayurveda years ago and had found it a fantastic way of eating for ones body type. I always struggled to find Ayurvedic cookbooks that weren’t just full of Indian recipes so I put together a proposal and was really excited when Harlequin said yes.

Can you tell us a little about the book? What will we find within its pages?

You will find 100 simple nourishing beautifully photographed recipes, also info on how to eat for your body type and in line with the season. There is a simple chart if you want to figure out what dosha you are and some easy to understand information on basic ayurvedic principles.

Ayurvedic principles form the basis, can you explain that a little for us please?

Yes Ayurveda is about eating for your body type and changing what you eat according to the season and how you are feeling. There are 3 different body body types (doshas) and they have different body shapes and personalities. Certain foods are more appropriate for them to eat depending on the time of year. For example some is a pitta type – these are fiery competitive types, will tend to overheat in summer, so they are best to avoid spicy foods in summer. Instead they should eat cooling foods such as coconut, mint, coriander and sweet fruits.


There are two ways that the book can be used, can you tell us about the differences?
You can simply use the book as a healthy eating cookbook or you can work out your dosha (body type) and follow it that way.

You are a member of Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food in Australia, can you tell us about the Ministry and its aims?

The main aim of the Ministry is to teach people to cook simple healthy affordable meals and this is exactly what it does. The programme is life changing and the wonderful thing about it is that it is available to everyone.

How did you come to be involved in the Ministry of Food?

I have worked with Jamie for a few years now and when a job in Australia came available a friend of mine who works for him also suggested I apply.

Through the years you have written many cookbooks, do you keep them handy and use them? Which is the one you reach for the most?

Yes they are all on my kitchen shelf at home. I love my curries cookbook I wrote for Marabout in France but I have to say I do use them all at different times, the Marie Claire style series when I am entertaining, the Health for Life and Big Ideas ones for friends who are celiacs or diabetics and my Marabout ones when I am in the mood for Asian or Indian.

With so many cookbooks and dishes in your repertoire have you got a ‘Go To’ dish that you seem to cook with great regularity?

No I cook according to the weather outside, what is available and my mood. But most often it will be healthy with loads of vegetables and some fresh fish or seafood.

What are you working on next?

My next book.

What does being a woman mean to you?

Great question.
Over the years it has meant many different things to me but now in my forties it means being strong and vulnerable, honest and authentic. It means waving goodbye to self defeating behaviours such as perfectionism, control and people pleasing. At this age I feel it is important for me to focus my energy on giving back, being of service, sharing the things I have learnt wisely to help create a healthier more loving planet for everyone.

beautiful food (Harlequin Australia) is available for purchase for RRP $39.99 at or in all good book stores nationally.

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