The Food Guru
Hemsley + Hemsley
Good food, wellness and family – the Hemsley sisters talk to our columnist Eve Kalinik about finding the perfect balance.
From the moment they started their eponymous blog and nutrition service Hemsley + Hemsley (hemsleyandhemsley.com) back in 2010, sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley have become the go-to for food inspiration that is healthy, joyful and pleasingly fuss-free. Since then, they have become regular contributors to Vogue.co.uk, launched two cookbooks and helmed their own television series. Their ‘eat well to feel better’ philosophy has also seen the London-based sisters bring the likes of bone broth and spiralized vegetables into our culinary repertoire. They talk to The Style Report about sisterhood, influences and the joy of keeping it simple.
You manage to make delicious and healthy food. How do you strike the perfect balance?
Jasmine Hemsley and Melissa Hemsley: ‘We embrace ethical animal products, healthy natural fats and plenty of fresh vegetables; using these nutrient-dense and naturally delicious foods means that our recipes are satisfying and good for you. Our food is naturally free from grains, gluten and refined sugar, but you certainly won’t miss them!’
Your latest book is called Good + Simple. How does that fit into your general approach to food and general wellbeing?
BOTH: ‘It’s all in the name. Good + Simple is about making healthy eating easy, affordable and stress-free. It is about stripping back the principles of our food philosophy and making it even easier for people to feel healthier, happier and more energised. Just by making simple, small adjustments to their eating habits, this will ultimately make a huge difference to their lives.’
What do you think ‘healthy eating’ really means?
BOTH: ‘Good quality ingredients, prepared mindfully for the best possible digestion and enjoyed fully – that’s what we’re all about. Good food, good mood, good digestion, good health!’
You seem to have a lot of fun when making your food – have you always found joy in cooking?
MH: Cooking can always be fun and stress-free. For anyone that lacks time or confidence in the kitchen, as long as you have a couple of dishes up your sleeve, that’s all you need as a base to build on. I only really started cooking in my twenties – the first thing I learnt was a simple soup and it was the best feeling ever to serve it up to some friends. I always say, if you can make a soup, you can cook. Same goes for frying an egg!’
Who or what has been your biggest influence?
JH: ‘We were brought up on solid home cooking so definitely our mum. I also looked to the real food community and experts in digestive health after years of shunning calorie counting and diet foods that are supposed to be “healthy”.’
MH: ‘Our mum definitely taught us a lot of what we know in terms of using real ingredients and making the most of what you have – that’s where our frugal streak comes from.’
What is your favourite dish to cook? And to eat?
JH: ‘To cook, anything that comes out of the oven – like our apple crumble or Flower Power pizza because taking it out of the oven and putting it on the table always draws gasps and it becomes a special moment. Plus, you get those caramelised chewy edges. To eat, I love family recipes with stories – so going to a friend’s house and they are cooking a dish that has passed down through generations.’
MH: ‘I love cooking a big Sunday roast for friends. I’ll always save the bones to make bone broth too, so it’s like a two-for-one meal! I then use the broth in soups, stews and sauces throughout the week or sip it gently seasoned from a mug. I love to eat a roast too! Especially with a nice glass of red wine.’
Where is your top foodie city destination?
JH: ‘At the moment it has to be Lisbon. I’ve been a few times over the years. I keep stumbling across the cutest places. The latest is Taberna da Rua das Flores, a tiny restaurant with the best food and wine for a mere snip of London prices that I had unknowingly walked past every day before I got the tip-off from a friend.’
MH: ‘I loved Seoul. I went 10 years ago but it still remains one of my top food holidays and I really enjoyed the restaurants in Copenhagen, especially a place called Manfreds.’
What has been the proudest moment in your career?
BOTH: ‘When a client tells us they feel better and shares their experiences with their friends and family. When we see that people have stopped punishing themselves with calorie counting, gruelling workouts, skipped meals and diet programmes and start living (and sleeping!) again, it’s a very rewarding feeling.’
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