The River Cottage Lifestyle with Paul West
This is a special episode for anybody wanting to live a simpler life.
Paul West is a chef, sustainable food advocate, and the host of River Cottage Australia, famously bringing Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s beloved series of farm life to Australian television screens.
However, for Paul, life wasn’t always so rosy.
In our conversation, we go behind the scenes to explore his own story to discovering the River Cottage lifestyle - from growing up in a small town in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales to volunteering on organic farms through to eventually working as a chef at Melbourne’s exclusive Vue de Monde restaurant. For many, cheffing at Vue de Monde is considered a triumph. But for Paul, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Overworked, overstressed and undernourished, he found himself questioning this version of success - ultimately deciding to redefine what success meant to him and his growing family.
Success was a simpler life; a meaningful life - with slow food at its heart.
I’ve been such a big fan of River Cottage and was delighted to discover that Paul’s even more warm and lovable in real life - although meeting his border collie Digger was obviously the real highlight!
We spoke for more than an hour and I couldn’t bear to cut his interview in half - so I’ve released it in two parts. I hope you enjoy this special edition of All Being Well, and I’d love to hear your feedback on whether this works for you.
Do you want more two part episodes? Would you prefer longer episodes? Would you prefer shorter episodes? Let me know - you can send me an email or a message via Instagram. As you know, I’m thrilled every time I hear from you.
For now, enjoy this celebration of seasonal growing, slow cooking and communal gathering around food.
"When we watch competitive cooking television and see people crying and being judged and eliminated, or labelled the victor - we start to associate food with that process… Cooking should be about the total opposite of that. It should be a cause of celebration and bringing people together rather than division and victory."
Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:
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City of Darebin Festivals - Backyard Harvest and Food Growers Open Garden
Today’s segment of The Collective is a shout out to Keely, a personal trainer. Several months ago, Keely was burning out from long days building her business Personal Transformations and started to get to a point where she was struggling to find any joy in her work, utterly exhausted, and life became a chore. However this moment forced her to lean on her partner and her team for support. Her husband booked a holiday, she handed her business (and phone!) over to her team and had to focus on getting her life back. Today her version of wellbeing involves balance - breaking down the ‘well’ and the ‘being’ to make sure that she’s eating properly, exercising, and approaching life holistically. She says that “No one can exist to their full potential without the others.” Which is a beautiful reminder to hold our loved ones a little closer and to tell them how much we need them.