Maggie Beer lights up our screens with her infections smile, passion in abundance and mouth-watering food inspiration. Her creative yet simple dishes, her down-to-earth approach and the excitement she portrays in every stir, blend, sauté, bake or fry excite the senses and inspire even the blandest of cooks amongst us to get into the kitchen and give it a go. Her name has become synonymous with family meals, nourishing plates and the sheer pleasure of food – and, at 75, that passion is as strong as ever.
However, last year Maggie felt the time was right to move on from her main business, Maggie Beer Products, after 40 years in the driver’s seat. It was not my husband Colin, and more time for my Foundation and the overview of the farmshop business which will always remain within the family,” she said.
Maggie’s focus is now on the Maggie Beer Foundation, whose core mission is to improve food experiences for older Australians. One of the significant components of the Foundation is to work alongside aged care cooks and chefs to improve the quality of food available to patients, offering masterclasses, education programs, workshops and conferences across the country. By engaging with key stakeholders, including those on the kitchen frontline as well as CEOs and an easy decision, but after consistently working 70 hours a week with her combined responsibilities, something needed to change. It was time to slow down, just a little, and dedicate more time instead to her husband, family, and her community through the Maggie Beer Foundation.
“Every meal should be a pleasure and healthy, side by side, as it’salways been.”
“It had to happen one day because our children were not interested in the business as they have their own, which meant we had no succession plan. But, it so happened with my management team, who I trusted so much, to be the perfect opportunity and good timing to release me. The timing was right to step back and take more time for me and managers, Maggie and her Foundation team aim to reignite the commitment to providing nourishing, pleasurable food to improve the wellbeing and the quality of life of aged care patrons.
For Maggie herself, the passion she holds for the Foundation is key to moving on from her life in business to a cause close to her heart. Through her experience, knowledge and skills gathered across her colourful career, not to mention the accolades and notoriety she has simultaneously attained, Maggie is perfectly placed to make positive change – and she loves the new challenge.
“I think in moving from busy business life, you have to have something else that is your passion to follow, whether that’s giving back to the community or just keeping busy, but doing something that gives you equal satisfaction. Be connected to your family and community and things that matter.”
“[The Foundation] will take me into the coming years, and I need to take some time to smell the roses. As I get older, I have much more I need to do, but I have to balance that with taking time out for myself and family.”
Not surprisingly, this connection to family, slowing things down and savouring each moment is a what makes Maggie’s food so popular. With such a full and busy life, meals need to be quite the opposite- pleasurable, simple and connecting. Despite how busy she has found herself over the years, slowing down to cook and enjoy a meal has always been a priority.
“Every day is important when it comes to food. I keep it simple, taking what’s ripe and ready in the garden. Having time to garden is also important. Every meal should be a pleasure and healthy, side by side, as it’s always been.”
Take a leaf out of Maggie’s book and slow down once each by reconnecting to your kitchen and becoming inspired by food once again. Even if you are on your own, creating nourishing fare to boost your wellbeing and make you feel amazing is not out of reach. Try one of these recipes from the Maggie Beer Foundation, or head to the website for more delicious inspiration; maggiebeerfoundation.org.au