Queen’s honour is ‘icing on the cake’ for cooking guru Hay

Donna Hay, the bestselling cookbook author and television personality, says she is overwhelmed and humbled to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. Hay received the honour for her service to the food and hospitality industry.

It’s the icing on the cake of a long career in the food industry, no pun intended, she says.

She pioneered a simple and stylish approach to cooking in Donna Hay Magazine, a bimonthly publication that inspired a new generation of home cooks.

The magazine ran for 100 issues, between 2001 and 2018, propelling Hay from food editor-in-chief to household name. At its height, the magazine boasted a readership of more than half a million Australians, earning her an induction into the Australian Magazine Hall of Fame.

Hay’s 28 cookbooks, which include Modern Classics and Basics to Brilliance, have sold more than 27 million copies worldwide. For her contribution to the food publishing industry, Hay was recognised as one of the magnificent seven cookbook authors at the International Gourmand Awards in 2015.

The home cook made her first foray into the world of television in 2011 with Fast, Fresh, Simple on Foxtel’s LifeStyle Channel. In May, she announced her return to the screen with a four-part Christmas series on Disney+.

Hay says she is most proud of the impact she was able to have on Australian families during lockdown, when she held a series of free children’s cooking classes on Facebook livestream.

It was such a touching and proud moment for me to be able to connect with so many people online, when they were really at a loss for what to do, Hay says.

It was as much lockdown therapy for me as it was for the families.

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