Chatting with: Alice Zaslavsky
Alice Zaslavsky is a best-selling cookbook author, television and radio host based in Victoria.
I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with Alice several times over the last decade or so, and always remember our first encounter at Mecca Cosmetica. I had purchased a Zimmermann dress to wear to a party, and headed into Mecca in search of the perfect lipstick to go with it. I was helped by none other than the lovely Alice, who encouraged me to try a bright shade of coral (and back then I never wore bright lips). With Alice’s help, I jumped out of my lipstick comfort zone and purchased it on the spot. Not long after, Alice, a teacher at the time, joined the school where my boyfriend (now husband) was also a teacher - and the rest is history!
Alice would move from teaching to creating a profile in food like no other (kickstarted by season on a well-known TV cooking competition). Her energy and approach to the food industry is a recipe of adjectives: enthusiastic, inspiring and intelligent. But more than that, Alice brings a unique talent from her years as an educator, encouraging people to open their minds to how they nourish themselves. She wants us to celebrate delicious flavours with our families and friends through a playful lens and find joy in cooking and eating.
I often find myself celebrating Alice’s achievements from the sidelines, having been fortunate enough to witness the arc of her journey to date: Best selling cookbook author. TV presenter. Radio Host. Mother. Alice works tirelessly to share her passion.
What has been the silver lining of the last 12 months?
Getting to spend SO MUCH time with my husband Nick, and The Nut. If it hadn’t been for lockdown, I’m sure we would’ve spent a lot more time on the road and flitting about, which is fun, and we still would’ve been together, but the concentrated quality time at home, with nowhere to go, just enjoying each other's company, and getting to know this little person who’s just growing at an exponential rate… Stop this train, am I right!!? Oh! AND discovering THE 8PM Bedtime! Not for Hazel - for us!! I’m reading a lot more, and waking up at least an hour earlier than I might. We’re missing out on the latest streaming phenomenons, but I don’t care.
In Praise of Veg gets a very good run in my kitchen (and on my WhatsApp with a group of my closest friends) Do you have a favourite recipe?
THANK YOU!! It makes me so so happy to see this book on bench-tops and bookshelves and in the hearts of home-cooks around the world! It really depends on the time of year - since veg is so seasonal. Summertime, I’m all about the Summer Slice, winter’s the Choc-Beet Brownie or Parsnip Sticky Date, and all year round, a version of the Borsch is in our fridge.
Do you have advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Find someone whose path you admire and learn from them! It doesn’t even have to be someone in the same field - creativity and self-expression takes so many forms. My dad kept trying to get me to read autobiographies when I was younger, and I’d just roll my eyes, but now I inhale podcast interviews with people who’ve trodden roads less travelled and reached lofty heights. I love listening to Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin, and am currently re-listening to the Game Changers Radio podcast as I dip the ol’ toe into broadcast radio for realsies. On that, throw your hat in the ring… even if you’re not quite sure how it’ll go, or where… you’ll only ever regret the opportunities you don’t take - and experience is learning, however you slice it.
What’s your favourite, most treasured item in your wardrobe?
BAH! HARD! I’m a reformed hoarder, so my wardrobe is a mess, and probably partly because I “treasure” too many things in it. Most of the coolest pieces are op-shop finds from a squillion years ago, or bought second-hand from consignment shops and online marketplaces. I do also have an inordinate amount of shoes… and there’s a pair of shearling booties that look like fancy ugg-boots that I can confidently say tie almost any outfit together, so let’s go with those.
Do you have another female led business or platform that you admire or would like to share?
YES! My frames fairy godmothers at Wink in Ormond Rd, Elwood! Jo and Lucy and their team curate the most phenomenal collection of eyewear from around the world. I remember I was in Paris, staring at the most Extra pair of glasses I’d maybe ever seen (and that’s saying A LOT) and I gots to chatting with the staff, and they said “oh oui, we do supply one shop in Australia… Wink, in Melbourne?” I remember years ago when I came off MasterChef and was walking past the store, they pretty much chased me down the street and said “let us help you…” (it was tough love, but fair) And help me they did. If you have four eyes, I can’t recommend them enough
You can follow Alice on Instagram, and catch her as the host of ABC Radio Sunday Drive.
She also co-hosts foodie radio talkback segments on ABC Radio Melbourne, Hobart and Perth, and is the Culinary Correspondent on ABC TV News Breakfast.