DOMESTIC GODDESS

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Published on September 04, 2019 with No Comments

Model turned celebrity chef – it’s been an exciting journey for Danielle Graham who is cooking up a storm with her cookbook and stylish kitchenware.

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Images JOEY CHEUNG
@calcarriesmodel @jcwonderland

You were a model previously and now you’re a celebrity chef with a cookbook and kitchenware collection. How did that come about?
My modelling career took off when I was 18 and moved to Hong Kong. I started to live on my own. It was the first time I had a kitchen. I was eager to cook the dishes my family taught me and to experiment with ideas from my travels and the restaurants I’ve been to.

Learning to cook involved a lot of trial and error for me. I went to cooking classes, had lessons with chef friends, and kept recipes from magazines. Cooking is my passion and it always has been since I was a little girl helping my parents out in the kitchen. It was my dream to publish a cookbook. I was talking about it for a whileA and finally made it happen when my kids were a bit older and I had more time to work on it. The kitchenware line has been a natural progression. I wanted to make products I loved cooking with. I’m thrilled with how they have turned out. I hope everyone enjoys cooking with them too.

What’s your inspiration when it comes to cooking?
I have wonderful childhood memories with food. When I was about five, my mother came to school and cooked fried rice for my friends and me. I was fascinated and proud. I think I fell in love with food from that day. I wanted to be just like my mum, a fantastic cook!

Growing up, I loved being in the kitchen with her. We would always get our hands dirty when making wontons together. It became a family tradition every Chinese New Year. Just like how I helped my mother make wontons,
my daughter Sophia now loves to help me. My father cultivated my love for comfort food from a young age. I have fond memories of him cooking Sunday roast lunches for our family. He taught me how to make mashed potatoes when I was eight, and now it is my son’s favourite thing to eat.

Tell us your cookbook, On the Table at Home.
Home cooking is something I am passionate about and my focus is on fresh produce without too many preservatives or pesticides. I like to plan our meals and believe my children have blossomed mostly eating home-cooked food.

Creating this book is something very close to my heart and has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. It has brought me closer to my Eurasian heritage, beliefs and traditions. I grew up with my Chinese mother and Irish father instilling the love of eating well and sharing meals. My parents were always in the kitchen making something amazing and I inherited this love of cooking from them.

My cookbook has a good mix of Asian and Western dishes inspired by family recipes that has been passed down to me, from a travel destination, or a memory of that place. I am lucky to have had amazing people to cook for and with me, and who teach and inspire me. Besides my parents, these include my stepfather, grandmother, cousins and close friends.

Over a year ago I choose to work with an Australian team to make my cookbook dream a reality. I feel so lucky to have been able to work with such a talented and passionate group of people. They saw my vision and executed it perfectly. The book is beautifully styled and photographed. It has been an incredible learning experience and such an honour. My darling childhood friend and well-known Sydney food stylist Claire Delmar came on board and introduced me to Tracy Lines, my publishing consultant and designer, and Chris Chen, our photographer who took the most beautiful photographs.

What was it like putting the cookbook together?
It was an amazing journey that took about two years to make. There were many sleepless nights and my children were convinced the book is my third baby! It was not easy trying to juggle my time with work and family. I tried my best and worked so hard on it.

Now you have a new range of kitchenware! How did that idea come along?
Danielle by Danielle Peita Graham grew out of my desire to create a modern and long-lasting line of essential kitchenware that makes cooking at home easier. I really hope to inspire more people to spend time at home cooking the food they love to make, transforming fresh ingredients into nourishing meals for their family and friends.

The kitchenware products are highly functional and of the best quality. My children love that their names are engraved on the knives. It’s great when I get feedback from customers telling me they love cooking with them. A client in New York recently bought the whole set and has been cooking up a storm with them.

What’s next for you?
I have friends and fans asking me to make ceramics after seeing the ones I used in my cookbook. So I will be looking into that.

How does it feel to have come this far?
I am grateful that I am doing what I love and it feels so satisfying when I hear people are cooking the recipes and using my kitchenware to make them. At the end of the day I hope to inspire people to invest in goodness and cook with passion.

 

CHECK IT OUT
For more information on Danielle’s cookbook and kitchenware, go to www.daniellepeitagraham.com
Follow her culinary adventures on Instagram @daniellepeitagraham
@daniellekitchenessentials @onthetableathome

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