Mum’s we Love – Dani Valent: writer, eater, traveller, cook
Food reviewer, Thermomix Queen and Mum of three
All things food.
Mum to Liam, 23, and daughters Ruth, 14, and Tess, 13.
With a passion for connecting the kitchen table at home to great food from around the world – this is one mum we definitely would love to come home to! Beginning her professional writing career with Lonely Planet, Dani’s travels soon led her to discover a hunger for writing all about food, sharing recipes, restaurants and reviews, while being lucky enough to enjoy all of it herself! Currently responsible for reviewing chefs, restaurants and cooking up an absolute storm for both her family and Thermomix… ahhh Dani, can you please come over and teach me a thing or two?! A genuine desire to share all of her scrumptious knowledge with the world, makes our tummies grumble and our hearts glow for this super-mum.
You have travelled to some pretty magnificent places in your career, interviewing some incredible people. What is your most memorable experience to date? Eating Basque Cheesecake in the lane ways of San Sebastian and falling into an immediate swoon. I knew my mission in life: get the recipe! It wasn’t easy but I did it and now my version of this Basque classic is my most popular recipe on my website.
What is your secret to avoiding writer’s block, other than a cheeky glass of wine? I can attest to the motivating power of a deadline. I was just chatting to my Sunday Age editor last week – I’ve been the restaurant critic there for 10 years, and we were celebrating the fact that we’ve never had a blank page because I’ve always got my copy in. You have to – the idea of a blank page is unthinkable.
You’ve found a fantastic niche in blending your cooking prowess and journalism skills with Thermomix. What led you to such a great partnership?Ten years ago I wrote an article about chefs and the gadget they wanted and guess what they all said? Yep, Thermomix. I ended up seeing one, wanting one, obsessing about it for a few months, then buying one. The next problem was that there were no nice Thermomix cookbooks and I’m a cookbookaholic with a vengeance. After complaining for a while I just thought, Oh well, I’ll have to do one myself. Three books and 150 Thermomix videos later, here we are!
If you could explain motherhood as a variety of wine, what would it be?Motherhood has taught me more about myself than anything else – being a mum is rich, rewarding, tedious, terrifying, fun, instructive, tiring and all-round BIG. Maybe I’ll go for Prosecco: bright, bubbly, sociable and prone to a bit of naughtiness.
As a Mum of three, what’s your secret to fitting it all in? Everything goes in the diary, including time for doing nothing. Working and being a mum makes you prioritise savagely, and I am now pretty good at saying no to things.
What is your most enjoyable dinner to make with your kids? Pizza. I love it. We all make our own on Friday’s at home.
Wine variety: Pinot Noir and Sparkling, always! Always have a bottle of bubbles in the fridge.
Winter escape: I love winter – I’m happy to head to Flinders or the Great Ocean Road and put my face in the breeze.
Season to entertain: Spring – I love emerging from hibernation with a big Grand Final BBQ.
Podcast: My husband Karl Quinn does a great podcast called The Clappers. For food, I’m loving The Pass, an Australian podcast with Magdalena Roze.
Dish to cook with wine: Boeuf Bourguignon – a classic!
More mum’s to come, in the meantime why not cook mum up something tasty from Dani’s website, and grab some of our wine to pair with it!