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Let's cook, eat & enjoy with Mary Wills

The Wholesome Collective is passionate about creating simple, wholesome recipes AND showing people through interactive groups and presentations just how easy it is to cook, eat & enjoy in a healthy way.

That is why we have recruited the skills and talents of the passionate and energetic Mary Wills! Mary is a Home Economist with a wealth of experience in the food industry and we just love her approach to food and cooking. From recipe writing for The Australian Women's Weekly to enabling people living with disabilities to independently cook, she has done it all! 

So you can all get to know her, I asked Mary a few questions about her career path, her inspirations in the kitchen and her food & cooking mantra.


KERRYN: Can you please tell us a little about your yourself, your profession, and your career so far. 

MARY: I am a Home Economist, which usually takes some explaining or people laugh, thinking I am saying that I am a house wife. The term Home Economist is quite old fashioned and yet we have such a vital role to play in the community. No, I am not a chef, I don't have commercial cooking skills. What is the difference you ask? A Home Economist works in the community educating people to increase their cooking skills in the home, developing recipes for books, magazines and publications, food styling for photography and working in the health system as assistants to Dietitians.

Mary's AMAZING seafood paella

Mary's AMAZING seafood paella

KERRYN: Do you have any career highlights that you want to share? 

MARY: I have been lucky enough to work at The Lodge in Canberra (home of Australia's Prime Minister) where I have served Prime Minister John Howard his dinner. I have worked alongside many celebrity food presenters to host fabulous cooking classes. But I think my most iconic moment as a Home Ec was to see my name in print as a contributor to many Australia's Women's Weekly cook books. I felt like I had really made it!

KERRYN: Why did you decide to work in the field of food and nutrition?

MARY: Mum may not be too happy with my answer. So sorry mum, I love you dearly. I never liked mum's cooking except for a few pieces of brilliance that I still use. I wanted to cook the meals myself and use foods that I read about in The Australian Women's Weekly cook books (the only resource I had!) Mum graciously handed over the kitchen to me with the proviso that I cleaned up...fair enough!

Mary's vegetarian chilli con carne with polenta dumplings!

Mary's vegetarian chilli con carne with polenta dumplings!

The love of nutrition came later as I studied Home Science at school. I was hooked but wanted to combine my love of cooking and nutrition and in the 80's, the answer was a Home Economics certificate.

KERRYN: Is there anything that continues to inspire or motivate you to work in this field?

MARY: I love the buzz of showing someone new ideas who takes that idea into their home and increases their skills. We all eat and we all have to prepare food to some degree. To have someone tell me that they find that task easier, more interesting or more enjoyable as a result of something I have shown them is such a thrill.

KERRYN: What is the best part of your job?

MARY: The retention of knowledge by people who have come to me. I have taught children who won't eat vegetables, I have taught 93 year olds new ideas, I have taught disabled people how to have confidence in the kitchen (best ever reward) and people who use my recipes in their weekly repertoire of meals. To feel you have helped or made a positive impact elates me.

KERRYN: What is a simple way to describe your food and cooking manta?

Keep it simple.

KERRYN: What are 5 must-have ingredients in the house at all times and why?

MARY: olive oil, lemons, parsley, Dijon mustard & lentils. I can cook it, flavour it and add a protein in a flash. SIMPLE!

KERRYN: What are the key things that you focus on in order to stay healthy and well?

MARY: Count my blessings every morning as I wake up...fair dinkum I really do. Make a choice, fresh or processed - fresh will win every time. That very simple philosophy will keep us healthy. ALSO, the sharing of food made with love cannot be over rated. 

You can see from this interview that Mary is the perfect fit for The Wholesome Collective. A food and nutrition consultancy that is passionate about enabling everyone to cook simple, heathy and delicious meals. If you are interested, we can tailor an interactive cooking presentation or hands on class for any group (whether that be a sporting club, school, workplace, private or community group). This option will show you how uncomplicated it is to prepare nourishing meals, using fresh and familiar foods that still taste great. 

If you would like to spend some time with myself and Mary as we teach you the foundations of nutrition and cooking please SAY HELLO and see how we can help you. 

Kerryn x