Pete Evans: how I eat

The chef, author and TV personality on staying present, avocado toast and what it’s really like to be Paleo Pete.
Pete EvansSteven Brown

How have your attitudes towards food changed over the years?

I’ve always loved the craft of cooking, and loved being able to plate up food that tastes bloody delicious, so nothing has changed in that respect. The only thing that has evolved is that I’ve removed the blandest foods from my repertoire; they rob space on the plate from nutrient-dense and flavourful ingredients.

Are you patient with people who don’t share your views about the Paleo diet and lifestyle?

Absolutely. Everyone has choices and those are their choices to make. Just because I openly share my journey doesn’t mean I’d force my opinions onto others.

What’s your earliest memory of cooking?

Home economics at school. They taught us to make cookies and cakes and, even at that age, I wanted to know how to cook “real food”. It’s why I became a chef.

What did family meals look like when you were growing up?

I spent most of the time at the table with only my mum, Joy. Her meals featured good old meat and three veg. She’s a great cook and still cooks for me from time to time. Thanks Mum, I love you!

What’s the best part of your day?

I keep it simple. I love enjoying life with my wife, Nic, and daughters Chilli and Indii. Time with them is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Let’s talk breakfast. How do you do avocado toast?

Nic makes awesome hemp bread, so we toast that, add smashed avo, salt and pepper, maybe pickles and fermented veg, or even some chicken liver pâté, too.

Where would we find you when you’re not in the kitchen?

Gardening, surfing, skiing, sky-diving or scuba-diving. I also love playing around on the farm with two remarkable horses, Olly and Zorro, a wonderful dog named Shikoba, a very independent cat named Anais, 17 chickens and 20,000 bees.

Is it hard to maintain your diet when you’re travelling?

If I can’t access quality food, I’ll just fast… but generally I find it really easy to navigate what goes on my plate when I’m travelling. Thankfully grass-fed, free-range and organic meat, and wild sustainable seafood are becoming the norm, so generally I find it easy.

What’s on the menu for your last supper?

Oysters, fatty tuna belly, uni, bone marrow, roasted Jerusalem artichokes and home-grown vegies. My wife’s chocolate-coated liquorice is also damn fine.

Mates drop in for a beer. What do you feed them?

Sweet potato fries and pork crackling always goes down a treat. And my mates and I choose to drink kombucha over beer these days, too.

Was making the change to your diet challenging?

It was really easy to dive straight in, because vegetables and well-sourced seafood and meat are always the true stars of any dish, so I just reworked lots of recipes to make them grain- and dairy-free and it all just flowed on organically from there.

What cooks inspire you?

My friend Josh Niland at Saint Peter in Sydney is an example of a chef who’s found his passion for the craft. His dedication to nose-to-tail seafood is a testament to someone willing to stand out from the crowd. Duncan Welgemoed at Africola in Adelaide is another chef who puts food on the menu that means something to him on a personal level. He’s unashamedly brave with his choices.

Are there food trends that you love?

Anything home-grown, fermented foods, bone broth, our deeper understanding of native ingredients and the healing benefits of herbs.

Do you have a Sunday night ritual?

No two Sundays are the same. If I’m not working, you’ll find me having an early meal with my family, then it’s straight into a game of table tennis, onto the trampoline for a few back flips, or into the pool to play Marco Polo. We juggle that with watching a cool movie or documentary, and my wife and I are quite partial to a magnesium bath together and a meditation before bed.

What’s most rewarding about your job?

It’s humbling to be part of a wonderful family of people dedicated to sharing information that empowers others to transform their lives, be more fulfilled and vibrant.

Who is your biggest fan?

I’m my own biggest fan. Realising I’m the number-one person I need to love, accept, trust, forgive, nourish, celebrate and be in total awe of has been an endless breath of freedom.

What’s your biggest vice?

My biggest vice is thinking at times that I am separate from others when in fact we are all magnificent manifestations of the one universal energy.

What do you do to switch off?

Switching off is an interesting term. I definitely prefer to be switched on or, rather, continually tuned into being constantly present and in the now. Some of my favourite practices are nourishing my family with unconditional love, connection, and nutrient-dense food, as well as a deep connection with nature. I’m also loving expanding my own consciousness and the realisation that every choice is ultimately made in relation to love or fear. Which will you choose?

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