On the Couch with Helen Tzouganatos

Helen-Tzouganatos-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Helen Tzouganatos?
A gluten free cookbook author, television presenter, sometimes blogger, coeliac, chocolate lover and mum of three kids.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
My background is marketing. I was in the corporate world for more than a decade marketing FMCG brands such as Nescafe and Kit Kat. If I didn’t go down the food path I would probably still be working in corporate, but I much prefer being my own boss and setting my own agenda. It is much more rewarding and gives me greater flexibility with the kids.

Who inspires you and why?
My food heroes are Ottolenghi and Jamie Oliver. Not only do they both cook incredibly delicious food but I think they have a good understanding of the home cook and how people like to eat at home. I love their farm to table approach, its simple food elevated with big flavours. Fine dining is fantastic when you are eating out but the reality is nobody is going to serve beetroot foam or fancy soils to their kids for dinner.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m constantly trying to raise awareness of coeliac disease and gluten intolerances in the community. 80% of people who have coeliac disease remain undiagnosed and by simply removing gluten from their diet they can make significant improvements to their health. Thankfully doctors are now proactively screening for coeliac disease but this was not the case when I was a kid so I spent my childhood feeling constantly exhausted with chronic stomach pain.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love any holiday destination that leads me to a beautiful beach. I chase the sun and run from the cold. Greece is obviously one of our favourite holiday spots because we get to enjoy stunning beaches and beautiful food, my two loves. We also have family and friends there so it feels like our second home.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The first thing I do is take them on the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, it is just breathtaking. Sydney is the only city in the developed world that has crystal clear beaches 15 minutes drive from the heart of the CBD. I don’t think people realise just how lucky we are.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading The Tattooist of Aushwitz. Brilliant book I highly recommend it. I love all types of non fiction – autobiographies, true stories, health and wellness books and of course cookbooks. I built a new bookshelf in my kitchen to house them because I am running out of space.

What are you currently listening to?
I love pop or any great dance tune. Kylie and Bruno Mars are on high rotation on the school run but I also love listening to podcasts, generally in the health and wellness space.

Happiness is?
Family. As long as they are healthy and safe nothing else matters.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully lots more cookbooks and cooking on TV. It’s been a crazy year with COVID but hopefully things settle soon. Until then, we cook. In a way the release of EASY GLUTEN FREE is unexpectedly well timed because more people are cooking at home and looking for simple and achievable recipes to get them through a stressful period. Nobody wants complicated, they want EASY.

Helen is the author of Easy Gluten Free – published by Pan Macmillan Australia (Plum) and now available from all leading book retailers including Dymocks.

Image: Helen Tzouganatos (supplied)