Hi I’m Jo Anderson and welcome to The Luminous Kitchen. I hope you like it here.
The Luminous Kitchen is about sharing– how food brings people together, savoring– because it’s not so much about what you eat, but how you eat it that really matters and enjoying– that’s the part where we don’t take ourselves so seriously, where we drop all the judgement and labels and just do more of what makes us happy.
I learnt about savouring and enjoying real food from living and working on yachts in the Mediterranean and around the world. My passion and “fake it til you make it” attitude landed my untrained butt in the organic grass fed butter working as a private chef to a Russian Billionaire ( oh the stories I can tell).
It was in Europe that my love of cooking was forever cemented. I fell in love with the way European cultures revere cooking as an art and a ritual and how it is intrinsically interwoven into the culture of societies, bringing people and families together.
I have never been able to stick to recipes (even my own) and I always try to find a way to add a personal spin to any recipe I make and that’s what I encourage you to do. Make my recipes your own- use them as a guide ( except baking recipes – baking recipes are always very exact) then stray from the path – be adventurous and discover what you love.
“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all”
I think we make food far more complicated than it needs to be. We’ve compiled so many rules to decipher what’s healthy and what isn’t that we start to judge food before we even get a chance to see if our body might like it.
“Cooking is love made visible”
I believe that the kitchen should be the heart of the home and that it is up to each and every one of us to be mindful of where our food comes from and how it is prepared. I believe in the energetics of food and that a meal prepared at home with real, organic (where possible) ingredients and love, eaten mindfully and savoured is not only nourishment to our bodies but to our souls as wellIn a world of processed fast foods I want to lovingly guide people back into their kitchens with easy, simple recipes that will still make your tastebuds want to high 5 you!
How did I get here?
::I have adored cooking since I was 5 years old
::Fast forward a few years and I was living with my then fiancé and working as a medical rep. I was doing everything that was expected of me, but I wasn’t feeding my soul. I knew there was so much more to experience, but I was playing it safe. I used food to sabotage myself, to numb the nagging feeling that I wasn’t living true to myself. There was no appreciation for food, no joy in eating.
::I craved adventure. I wanted to experience life, to ride a wave of uncertainty and sail off into the sunset. So we did. Together, we sold everything we owned and hopped on a delivery of a 76ft catamaran across the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Town to the Caribbean where we worked together running a small charter yacht for 2 years until I after two proposals I realized I was no longer where I was meant to be. It wasn’t the easiest decision I’ve ever made, but I left the caribbean and my fiancé and followed my heart to Europe.
:: I met Corey a year later in a little town in the South of France called La Ciotat and fell in love hard and fast. We shared the world’s tiniest cabin on a boat together for a year, got engaged in a hot air balloon over a game reserve in South Africa after just 5 months of being together, were married on the beach in South Africa a year after that and moved to his home town on the Gold Coast in Australia. There is a world in between those few lines…
:: While we were working together in the Med we started to future trip. We knew we could create a life we loved and a business that made a difference with people at heart. We knew it was all up to us so when Corey was offered the Captain’s position on the boat we were working on we decided instead to leave the safe path and the incredible paycheck to forge our own way and actively create a life we love.
:: We founded Food Actually to give people more choice over processed foods. When we started to pay closer attention to what we were putting in our bodies, we were shocked to discover that so many seemingly healthy foods were loaded full of chemicals and preservatives. We wanted to create unique and convenient products that are as close to wholefoods as possible. We now have 2 product ranges Norridge – A grain and gluten free cereal and Ezy Superfood Balls – A raw energy balls pre-mix and an incredible community of supportive, happy and healthy customers.
:: I was given an old Pentax dslr camera, by someone I met in a coffee shop a little under a year ago. I started taking photographs of food and my whole world opened up. When I discovered a way to share what I love doing and create my own job I realized I had found the sweet spot in life that I had been seeking forever and it is what excites me to get up everyday and keep creating.
“ When you go after what you want with love and wild abandon you tap into the energy that created the stars and the seas”
- I am proudly South African (even if I do live down under) and I can still speak Afrikaans fluently.
- I am super impetuous. Do now, deal later has been how I have lived my life up until now. I figure you can always adjust along the way.. this is how I like to cook as well.
- I studied holistic nutrition at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NY . It changed the way I think about food, medicine, health and life. Ask me about it.
- My worst culinary disaster : the first time I had to cook live lobster on the yacht for my boss. I screamed. I cried. Eventually the Captain had to do my dirty work. I cried again later that night. I guess I’m just not the killing kind.
- Favorite food to eat: Mediterranean tapas. I love to try lots of little things its the best way to eat. Interactive food-Sharing, savouring and enjoying with others.
- Favourite food to cook: I love to cook with seasonal fresh produce, letting my produce basket inspire what I should cook.
- Favourite restaurant.. I don’t even know its name because we just call it “the lamb restaurant”. It’s on the island of Mallorca off the coast of Spain. I was based there for a year and we would go every other Sunday. You arrive early to book a seat because it gets busy, then hike up to an old monastery from the 1500’s when you get back down you get seated with whoever ,wherever and the red wine starts flowing. There is a little old granny who is mean as heck who cooks the lamb in a huge wood fired oven while shouting orders to her husband in Spanish and it is quite possibly the most incredible lamb I have ever tasted (every time we forgot to take mint sauce along with us! every time. They don’t do mint with lamb in Spain) The views are incredible and the whole experience is just as having a meal out should be.. social, relaxed and jovial.
- I’m pretty sure I was a gypsy in a previous life because I get antsy staying in one place too long, the word wanderlust makes me see sparkles and variety is the spice I like best.
- Add too much salt
- Sing the wrong (often made up) words to songs
- Leave the lids unscrewed on jars
- Have time for a cuppa and good chat
- Tell the people I love that I do
- Read magazines from back to front
- Try to see both sides of the story
My Bucket List
- Write, create, style and shoot a brilliant cookbook based on seasonal, European, timeless classics. I want to live in a villa in a little village in France for 6 months and submerge myself in it.( Its happening 2017 – We are doing a house swap with a family in SOF and while we are there I am going to be holding a Food Styling and Photography Workshop!! )
- Live in Europe for 1 month every year
- Change someone’s life in a positive, uplifting way
- Sail across the Atlantic ocean
- Hike the Inca Trail
Go to a live Tony Robbins seminar
- Stop putting “Learn to speak French fluently” on my goals list and actually do it
- See the Northern Lights
- Walk the Camino de Santiago
- Go in a hot air balloon
I don’t think I’ve left anything out haha – I’m a big, open hearted sharer. Well done if you made it this far …I’m so glad you are here. Now lets bring pleasure back into our kitchens. Start a love affair with yourself through real uncomplicated food, roll up your sleeves, cook with abandon and taste life with pleasure.
Jo Anderson is a food stylist, photographer and passionate foodie. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa – she now resides with her husband and baby girl on the Gold Coast. After many years working as a cook on yachts around the world, Jo’s styling and photography talents are now sought after for ebooks, cookbooks and recipe apps. Jo is passionate about teaching all that she has learnt along her journey and helping others develop faith in their own foodie talents – something she focuses on in her in person workshops and online course.