Paul & Blair: Cooking Green

MYCITYLIFE sits down with these environmental cuisiniers and discuss what their food mantra is, sustainable food and living, applying this to our everyday lives and their tips on eating well.

From the archive: This post was published on our original site, MyCityLife back on 28 May 2014

Gold Coast surfer dads and high school teachers, Paul Bullpitt and Blair Tonkin were well-loved characters from 2014’s My Kitchen Rules. Managing to combine their love for cooking and surfing, Paul and Blair were able to bring Asian tastes – particularly Balinese influences, as a result of their surfing trips – to their MKR plates. They certainly managed to impress throughout the contest: triple chocolate cheesecake and the lamb fillet with smoky eggplant and spicy masala sauce standout dishes. 

The one philosophy Paul and Blair have continued to promote is healthy, tasty cuisine using fresh locally sourced ingredients. And they bring this ethos to the environmental celebration and sustainable Green Heart Fair this Sunday, June 1 with a cooking demonstration that explores the process of food coming from the ocean and reaching our plate. MYCITYLIFE sits down with these environmental cooks and discuss what their food mantra is, sustainable food and living, applying this to our everyday lives and their tips on eating well. 

You will both be appearing at Green Heart Fair for a cooking demonstration: What ingredients will we be expecting you to use on the day?
We will be cooking some beautiful fish and pairing it with fresh ingredients that allow the fish to shine on the plate.

Green Fair is all about being green, including sustainable food and sustainable lifestyle. What does sustainable food mean to you both, and what excites you about sustainable food and living? Sustainable food means making educated decisions about what we eat, where it comes from and what food we choose for our families. Knowing where your food and produce comes from and what it can do for your body has the potential to be life changing for people and families. That’s exciting.

What are your tips in applying sustainable living to our everyday lives?
Sustainable living is not an easy trip to take. The first step is to educate yourself on what you eat and where it comes from. Eat locally. Buy produce from your local farmers markets for example. Grow some of your own food, say herbs to start with, then move to vegetables. Minimizing waste is also integral to being sustainable. The less we need to throw away the better.

Given the world we live in where everything is consumable and disposable, how is it possible to incorporate a sustainable lifestyle to food?
The more food we grow ourselves the better. If you can’t do that make sure the produce you do eat is not mass-produced, imported or overly processed. You may be buying cheap food at the register but you can bet we are all paying for it. Give up the idea of convenience. Take the time to prepare things from scratch.

What do you think people should be aware of when they shop for food?
The most important thing to know is where their food has come from and how it was produced. So much of our produce is the product of an unsustainable food system. It depends on foreign oil, destroys the soil, contaminates water – the list goes on.

What are your tips on eating well?
Our food mantra is simple. ‘The more it’s processed, the less you should eat it”. The more raw products you eat the better off you will be. As consumers, we need to know what we are buying and what we are putting into our bodies. Knowledge is power when it comes to eating well.

Given the foodie explosion in Queensland over the last two years especially, what do you think has contributed towards this?
People are becoming more educated on food and flavours, and as a result, are more discerning consumers. They are more concerned about where food comes from and what it does to their health.

What trends do you see with food at the moment in our Queensland markets and kitchens?
There is very much a move towards a paleo style of eating, and definitely an increased interest in healthy food.

As we move into winter and Green Heart Fair is such a heartening environmental experience: what are your top three nutritious and hearty dishes?
Our love of fresh ingredients and big flavours are an inspiration and we love recipes that can be cooked with locally sourced ingredients. We have a love of spicy food, and food from all over the globe while incorporating traditional flavours:

1. Beef Rendang
2. Slow cooked Greek style lamb with cauliflower cous cous
3. Spicy Thai pumpkin soup 

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