Stylist's Food Heroines - Quick and Easy Recipes From Stylist Magazine - Stylist Magazine

Top 20 Food Heroines

Top 20 food heroines

Stylist's champions of cuisine

In celebration of Stylist's food month this April, we bring you our ultimate food heroines. From bloggers and TV presenters to food writers and Michelin-starred chefs, these are the women who command respect in the kitchen and beyond, providing us with an endless source of gourmet inspiration. Below, we bring you the "food philosophy" of each of our heroines in their own words - as well as a summary of why they're so brilliant.

Click on any of the images below to launch the gallery. Have we missed out your favourite food heroine? Let us know in the comments section below or by tweeting @StylistMagazine

Words: Dipal Acharya

  • Nigella Lawson

    Nigella Lawson

    She's been a Stylist cover star twice, guest… More details

    Nigella Lawson

    Nigella Lawson

    She's been a Stylist cover star twice, guest edited her own issue and taught us all the wonderful things you can do with salted caramel. We admit it - we have serious soft spot for Nigella

    After working as a journalist for many years, culminating in becoming the Deputy Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, Nigella launched her career in food in 1998 with her first book, How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. This was quickly followed up with a TV series, Nigella Bites, on Channel 4. To date, she has published over 9 cookery collections and is a British institution in the kitchen.

    Food philosophy: "When it comes to food, I feel (in Mae West’s words) that too much of a good thing can be wonderful."

  • Angela Hartnett

    Angela Hartnett

    In recent years, Angela Hartnett has emerged as… More details

    Angela Hartnett

    Angela Hartnett

    In recent years, Angela Hartnett has emerged as one of Britain’s most successful, best-loved and busiest chefs. Having spent many years working with Gordon Ramsay Holdings, Angela parted ways in 2010 when she took overall control of Murano, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in the heart of London’s Mayfair.

    As well as regular pundit on TV, Angela has also overhauled the daily menus at the Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room along with Murano head chef, Diego Cardoso. She has also published two of Stylist's favourite cookbooks, Angela Hartnett's Cucina and A Taste of Home

    Food philosophy: "Simple seasonal food, take the best ingredients that are in season and do very little too them."

  • Thomasina Miers

    Thomasina Miers

    Credited with kickstarting the nation's interest… More details

    Thomasina Miers

    Thomasina Miers

    Credited with kickstarting the nation's interest in Mexican cuisine again, Thomasina Miers was winner of BBC 2's MasterChef in 2005. Having trained up at the Ballymaloe Cooking School in Ireland, she has dabbled in cheese-making and running market stalls in Ireland to opening a large restaurant and cocktail bar in Mexico City in 2003.

    In 2005, following her Masterchef win, she spent 6 months cheffing at the Petersham Nurseries Café, cooking locally sourced, seasonal food with head chef Skye Gyngell. In August 2007 she opened Wahaca, the award-winning Mexican restaurant group, creating dishes inspired by the food markets of Mexico

    Food philosophy: "Cook ingredients in season with care, enjoy the process and you can bet that whoever eats your food will love what they are eating."

    Find out more about the Wahaca chain here

  • Lily Vanilli

    Lily Vanilli

    There is something quite special about Lily… More details

    Lily Vanilli

    Lily Vanilli

    There is something quite special about Lily Vanilli. A self-taught baker and cake designer, she started her career selling cakes in a small market in East London a few years ago. Today, she has baked for the likes of Elton John and Downing Street, as well as having her cake sculptures exhibited at the V&A museum in London

    Her obsession with baking is infectious and something that Lily actively fosters - whether it's through her sell-out cookbook or the YBF initiative - a new food and drinks awards for emerging talent. Her blog is pretty kick-ass too, check it out here

    Food philosophy: "I value the quality of the ingredients I use very highly, so baking with the seasons means the produce is always fresher, tastier and more affordable. It also keeps you thinking creatively and not getting stuck in a rut"

    Find out more about Lily Vanilli and her current projects here

  • Helene Darroze

    Helene Darroze

    Hailing from three generations of chefs, Helene… More details

    Helene Darroze

    Helene Darroze

    Hailing from three generations of chefs, Helene Darroze has worked alongside Alain Ducasse, at his Monte Carlo restaurant Louis XV, before moving on to open her eponymous restaurant in Paris in 1999. After winning two Michelin stars, The Connaught Hotel in London announced in 2008 that they would be opening 'Helene Darroze at The Connaught'

    The restaurant has become an exciting destination for those wanting to sample Darroze's authentic cuisine inspired by her home in Landes, in the south of France. Between her Paris and London restaurants, Darroze maintains and constantly builds on her flair and exacting standards in the kitchen

    Food philosophy: "The philosophy of my cuisine is the same as that of my grandfather and father, both chefs: it is important to use only the best produce and have respect for products and producers, respect for taste and the simplicity of cooking."

    See The Connaught website for further information on Helene Darroze

  • Esther Walker

    Esther Walker

    Journalist and food blogger Esther Walker started… More details

    Esther Walker

    Esther Walker

    Journalist and food blogger Esther Walker started her career at The Week magazine, before stints on The Times, The Evening Standard and The Independent. She went freelance in 2009. She said her blog Recipe Rifle, was born "when no-one would commission me and at a time when it felt like newspapers weren't going to exist in a year," with its motto being "getting recipes wrong so you don't have to" - but don't let that fool you. The writing on it is honest, funny and utterly addictive. Time to get clicking folks.

    Food philosophy: "You can't live off takeaways and ready meals, so you might as well learn how to cook - even if it's only four things you endlessly rotate."

    Read Esther's blog, Recipe Rifle, here

  • Mary Berry

    Mary Berry

    Mary Berry is the undisputed Queen of Baking.… More details

    Mary Berry

    Mary Berry

    Mary Berry is the undisputed Queen of Baking. Having written over 80 cookery books with total sales of over 5 million, she has worked in TV and radio for over 20 years. And with the advent of a third series of The Great British Bake Off, it seems that Mary will continue to enchant a new generation of admirers.

    She trained at the Bath College of Home Economics, before moving on to the Paris Cordon Bleu. Mary was also a regular contributor to the BBC's Women's Hour radio programme, as well as developing the original AGA cookery book in 1988

    Food philosophy: "Use the finest ingredients you can afford and keep it simple as it always taste best"

  • Rachel Khoo

    Rachel Khoo

    Most of us know Rachel Khoo from her BBC series… More details

    Rachel Khoo

    Rachel Khoo

    Most of us know Rachel Khoo from her BBC series The Little Paris Kitchen but the writer and cook came to her career in a most unusual fashion. With a BA in Art & Design from the renowned Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, Khoo left London for Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and obtained a pastry degree.

    Since then, Khoo has worked culinary projects throughout the world. Her role as an international food creative has spanned six-course dinners and workshops in places as far-flung as Paris, Berlin, Melbourne and Buenos Aires. Oh and she also ran one of the best foodie restaurants out of her tiny Parisian flat. So chic.

    Food philosophy: "Buy the best produce you can afford. Good quality produce doesn't need a lot of work."

    The Little Paris Kitchen is now available online

  • Katy Salter

    Katy Salter

    An award-winning food journalist, writer and… More details

    Katy Salter

    Katy Salter

    An award-winning food journalist, writer and blogger, by day Katy Salter writes for Olive, Sainsbury's Magazine and Waitrose Kitchen among others. But it is her blog - Pinch of Salt - that she runs by night that has made her a favourite with the Stylist foodies

    From her recipes to weekly 'Cafe of the Week' slot, as well as a snazzy 'Friday Find' section hunting out great kitchen products, Salter's writing is passionate, unpretentious and always on the money.

    Food philosophy : "I'm not a fan of show-off cheffery, cooking should be fun and not intimidating. Don't be afraid to make a mess and if you're struggling to afford organic and all the rest of it at the moment, don't beat yourself up about it."

    Read Katy's blog, Pinch of Salt, here

  • Ravinder Bhogal

    Ravinder Bhogal

    Ravinder Bhogal first same to our attention when… More details

    Ravinder Bhogal

    Ravinder Bhogal

    Ravinder Bhogal first same to our attention when she was crowned as Britain’s New Fanny Cradock by Gordon Ramsay on Channel 4's The F Word. Today, the journalist-cum-chef continues to excite audiences, whether it's through her cookbook, Cook in Boots, which won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best First Cookbook UK 201o or her sell-out London pop-up restaurants

    Currently working on her second cookery collection, Ravinder's latest venture is a monthly pop up - 9@THEDISPENSARY - at The Dispensary in London’s East End. Dishing up a whopping 9 courses, Bhogal proves that the pop-up experience is far from over...

    Food philosophy: "My food philosophy is based on the teachings of my mother, my cookery heroine, who taught me the importance of love and generosity when cooking. Eating is such an emotional experience and nothing gives me greater pleasure than to lift someone's mood with a delicious plate of food."

    Find out more about the Cook in Boots cookery book here

  • Gizzi Erskine

    Gizzi Erskine

    If you want someone who bridges the gap between… More details

    Gizzi Erskine

    Gizzi Erskine

    If you want someone who bridges the gap between food and fashion, look no further than Gizzi Erskine. With her sixties rockabilly style and one of the first to back the foodie pop-up trend, it's hard to believe Gizzi was once a professional body piercer hailing from Camden.

    Training up at the prestigious Leith's School of Food and Wine, today she is one of Britain's most exciting cooking talents. Whether it's through her food writing for national publications, TV shows or famous supper clubs, Gizzi is never one to rest on her laurels. We hear she's working on her next book and can't wait to get our hands on it...

    Food philosophy: "Get mucky - to get a really good grasp on food you need to get your hands dirty. Also the best food is tactile and allows you to get really involved with it. And eat fresh. My biggest pet hate is when people make fresh food but use a stock cube or prepackaged stock full of rubbish and tarnish all their hard work with preservatives."

    Go to Gizzi's site to find out more about her current projects

  • Delia Smith

    Delia Smith

    Delia's How to Cook book series redefined British… More details

    Delia Smith

    Delia Smith

    Delia's How to Cook book series redefined British cooking for an entire generation. Teaching the basic from how to properly boil an egg to creating the perfect souffle. To date, she has sold over 21 million copies worldwide

    Food philosophy: "“My message is, as it always has been, moderation: meat as a main course on three days a week, eggs on one, fish on one other and some form of vegetarian meal on the rest constitute a perfectly acceptable, interesting and varied diet.”

  • Skye Gyngell

    Skye Gyngell

    Originally from Australia, Skye Gyngell worked at… More details

    Skye Gyngell

    Skye Gyngell

    Originally from Australia, Skye Gyngell worked at a number of Sydney’s culinary institutions, before flying to Paris to complete her formal training under Anne Willan at La Varenne. After a stint at the Dodin-Bouffant, Skye moved to London to work at The French House and later The Dorchester with Anton Mossiman

    As head chef of Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Skye worked with seasonal produce, creating simple food inspired by what she saw growing and flowering around her. Skye’s first book A Year In My Kitchen was published in 2006 and named as Best Cookery Book at the 2007 Guild of Food Writers Awards. Skye left Petersham Nurseries in 2011

    Food philosophy: "I believe very strongly that the less done to beautiful ingredients, the better. In a way as cooks we are no more than the custodians of produce, and my job is to highlight the beauty of what is available to us."

  • Donna Hay

    Donna Hay

    Hailing from Sydney, Donna Hay is a bit of a… More details

    Donna Hay

    Donna Hay

    Hailing from Sydney, Donna Hay is a bit of a wunderkind. She's authored over 14 cookbooks, including her most recent release Seasons, as well as running the bi-monthly Donna Hay Magazine and releasing her own homeware range.

    Her cooking style is is easy-going, fresh and revolves around seasonal produce and fans of Hay's work include Stylist's own resident foodie Amy Grier

    Food philosophy: "'My approach has always been a fast, fresh and simple approach to food with the philosophy that people eat with their eyes before they eat with their mouths."

    Donna Hay's Season's is on sale now

  • Madhur Jaffrey

    Madhur Jaffrey

    Dubbed the 'Queen of Curry', Madhur Jaffrey… More details

    Madhur Jaffrey

    Madhur Jaffrey

    Dubbed the 'Queen of Curry', Madhur Jaffrey brought the flavours of her native Delhi to the West by way of her TV appearances and over 10 cookbooks. Though Jaffrey first came to public attention through her acting talent, most notably starring in productions directed by the famous Merchant-Ivory directing duo.

    Today, she is based stateside but reverberations of her influence in the British kitchen continue to be felt, with her meticulous attention to detail and quest to produce authentic Indian dishes

    Food philosophy: "Perfection is the key to my success. Many times people will hold back a key ingredient, and I know something is missing, so I hammer away at it until I get it perfect"

  • Liberty London Girl

    Liberty London Girl

    Writer, editor & broadcaster Sasha Wilkins is… More details

    Liberty London Girl

    Liberty London Girl

    Writer, editor & broadcaster Sasha Wilkins is the founder of the lifestyle blog Liberty London Girl, which covers everything from fashion to food. Sasha has been blogging since 2006, although she took a year's hiatus from the online world in 2008 to work as executive style editor on the launch of The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ magazine in New York.

    From scouting out the best food markets from around the world, to posting homespun recipes for gnocchi and lentil dahls, Sasha's take on food is warm, comforting and terribly more-ish

    Food philosophy: "I write about the kind of food I cook for myself everyday. I don't believe in over complicating things, or trying to produce restaurant standard food at home. That's what restaurants are for!"

    Read Liberty London Girl's foodie highlights here

  • Lorraine Pascale

    Lorraine Pascale

    Lorraine Pascale is best known for her popular… More details

    Lorraine Pascale

    Lorraine Pascale

    Lorraine Pascale is best known for her popular cookery series on BBC 2, Baking Made Easy and Home Cooking Made Easy, quickly establishing her as a household name.

    With her tie-in books having sold 750,000 copies sold and counting, it's Lorraine's easy and approachable style of presenting, along with her simple and unfussy recipes that have made her a firm Foodie Heroine favourite.

    Food philosophy: "Buy the best quality ingredients you can afford and always take the time to experiment and have fun."

    Lorraine’s books, Baking Made Easy and Home Cooking Made Easy are published by Harper Collins

  • Clare Smyth

    Clare Smyth

    Clare Smyth's CV reads like a who's who of the… More details

    Clare Smyth

    Clare Smyth

    Clare Smyth's CV reads like a who's who of the culinary world. From Northern Ireland, Clare came to England at the age of 16 and has worked under world renowned chefs that include Thomas Keller, the Roux brothers and Alain Ducasse.

    In 2002 she joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and worked her way up the ranks to become Senior Sous Chef. After a brief absence, she returned to London in 2007 as Head Chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Her standards are exacting: her work meticulous - which is why she is only one of a handful of trailblazing women to head-up a Michelin starred kitchen.

    Food philosophy: "My cooking style is dictated by the seasons and produce is my greatest inspiration. When ingredients are at their peak and in season, they are at their best both from a taste perspective and visually. I like to keep it simple, clean and full of flavour"

  • Sophie Dahl

    Sophie Dahl

    Critics scoffed when it was announced that Sophie… More details

    Sophie Dahl

    Sophie Dahl

    Critics scoffed when it was announced that Sophie Dahl would be making her culinary debut on the BBC's The Delicious Miss Dahl series. BIG mistake. Dahl's recipes and presenting talent filled us all with a wonderful nostalgia about food: dishes that grandmother's made, impromptu dinners shared with friends and lovers. Here was a glimpse into the other side of Miss Dahl's life - and one that we couldn't get enough of.

  • Anna Hansen

    Anna Hansen

    Hailing from New Zealand, Anna Hansen was the… More details

    Anna Hansen

    Anna Hansen

    Hailing from New Zealand, Anna Hansen was the driving force behind the award-winning Marylebone restaurant The Providores before leaving to set-up The Modern Pantry in 2005.

    Since then, the restaurant has won countless plaudits predominantly down to Anna's global menu and fusion cooking. She has also written an accompanying book, The Modern Pantry Cookbook, bringing the charm of her restaurant into every budding foodie's kitchen.

    Food philosophy: "My philosophy on food is pretty much that anything goes ...as long as it tastes good that is!"

    Find out more about The Modern Pantry here

Tags: Food Month

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