Hello, Melissa here. I’m a self-taught chef, food columnist, best-selling cookbook author, real food activist and sustainability champion who is passionate about spreading the power of feel-good food. Feel-good food, for me, is food that not only tastes delicious, it’s food that nourishes our bodies, food that’s grown with the seasons and with respect for the people who grow it. It’s food to be enjoyed and shared, and it’s food that is used to its full wholesome, nourishing potential with nothing wasted.
FEEL-GOOD, FAIRTRADE, PLANET-FRIENDLY
My focus is on a more sustainable way of eating for everyone. My fourth cookbook – EAT GREEN (OUT NOW) is packed with flavoursome, flexitarian recipes, and useful tips and advice for more planet-friendly, waste-free eating. Read more here and hopefully I’ll see you on my BOOK TOUR which kicks off in January all over the UK.
In Autumn 2019, I launched the Sustainability Sessions – an ongoing series of community panel discussions with experts from Anita Rani, Grace Dent and Skye Gyngell to Bryony Gordon, June Sarpong MBE, Matt Haig and Fearne Cotton. The sessions range from farming, travel and plastic pollution to mental health, fast fashion, green beauty and slow living with the aim to connect, empower and motivate our offline communities to make meaningful sustainable changes in our daily lives.
One-third of ticket sales go to charitable initiatives I really believe in and that I’m an ambassador for, including food waste charity The Felix Project, The Prince’s Trust, Mental Health Mates, Future Dreams and Women Supporting Women. Be the first to find out about Sustainability Sessions Series Two here.
My first solo cookbook, Eat Happy (2018), topped best-seller lists and is a celebration of fuss-free, feel-good food, packed with simple yet nutritious recipes.
I’m proud to be an ambassador of Fairtrade UK, volunteer for The Felix Project, judge of GQ Food & Drinks Awards and Soil Association (Best of Organic awards), the Guild of Fine Foods and YBFs (Young British Foodies) and host of the 2019 Sustainable Restaurant Association awards and the 2020 Veg Summit Awards (The Food Foundation).
HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY
My professional career in food began as a private chef with my sister, Jasmine back in 2010. After several successful years cooking many a nourishing, wholesome meal for international actors and musicians like Take That, we published two best-selling Hemsley+Hemsley cookery books and have a café in Selfridges, London. A primetime cookery show followed (subsequently sold in over 20 countries worldwide), as well as lots of appearances on Sunday Brunch, Saturday Kitchen and This Morning, and at food festivals all over the UK – and internationally.
A BIT MORE ABOUT ME
I grew up on an army base with an energetic Filipino mum and an army dad, who taught me the value of a good home-cooked meal and the importance of sharing it with the ones we love. When I left home and learned to cook for myself, it was my mum’s waste-free approach that I took on, reinventing leftovers, raiding my fridge and seeking out in-season foods, which have dictated how I cook – simple and seasonal, feel-good and delicious.
I cook, write and tend my “work in progress” vegetable garden in East London, where I’m renovating a house with my boyfriend Henry. We live with our dog Nelly and our home is always full of hungry friends and family squeezed around the kitchen table and expecting waiting for a fridge foraged sharing feast for dinner!