Sailing the Seas of Sustainable Eats


Sailing the Seas of Sustainable Eats

Sailing the Seas of Sustainable Eats


Now, banana skin… You peel [the banana], you take off the white pith, and then you get two forks and you scrape it until it’s pulled banana skin – shreds – and then you cook that into a barbecue sauce and use pulled banana skin burgers and they’re actually delicious!- Simon Toohey

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Simon Toohey: 0:00

And my restaurant had butchers coming over and then wives bought them there for a joke. Of course it was their wives, the mental butchers. But anyway, we’ll move on to another story. So you know, early old sort of butchery man coming in, oh, don’t eat me. Where’s your steakhouse? I said. Look, in truth there’s a steakhouse right below us. If this doesn’t feed you, this doesn’t fill you up, then you know I will personally buy you one. And of course their portions went through the roof and this side and they couldn’t walk out the door and they loved it.Ella Magers: 0:31

Hey there, and welcome to Rise and Thrive with me, ella Majors. I created this high vibe podcast from a place of profound curiosity, fierce compassion and the deep desire to connect you with the wisdom of inspirational wellness, health, fitness and conscious leaders and changemakers. Here’s to discovering our blind spots and embracing life as the adventure it is. The time is now. Let’s do this. Hey, hey, everyone, and we are back After taking a month off. I am thrilled to be kicking off the first episode of the new year with a super fun and deeply meaningful episode with Simon Tuei. If you’re not following Simon on Instagram yet, now’s the time to find him and watch his plant-based cooking demos, because they always bring an immediate smile to my face and often an out loud laugh shortly thereafter. The link is in the show notes to follow him. So, yeah, you’re in for a real treat with this episode, especially if you don’t know what a weenus is I didn’t until Simon educated me. It’s a lot of fun. Simon has worked in the hospitality industry since he was 15 years old. He was a finalist in the show MasterChef and was invited to compete in the All Stars season. Simon has gone on to open two restaurants in India, founded the Sustainable Earth Network, is authoring his own cookbook and has his own cooking show on Channel 10 called Freshly Picked. Before we dive in, I want to first give a shout out to a Rise and Thrive listener, viviana Sherman, who was kind enough to leave us a five star review on Apple Podcast, saying if you want to giggle while you learn, this is the show you want to listen to. I like the interviews a lot. Every person getting interviewed has their insights, struggles and knowledge. My favorite part during the interviews is when they answer the question what is one meal that you can’t eat? What is one meal that you can’t live without? So I want to give a big thank you for your support to Viviana and if you like what you hear, then please take 30 seconds and leave us a review. It is so helpful in helping us spread our message. And last, given that it is the new year and we’ve got some fantastic interviews coming up, our very next episode will actually be one with Quinn and I. If you missed our first episode we’re calling you had me at Quantum. Make sure to check that one out as well. Yeah, but given that it’s the new year, it’s the perfect time for you to take on my 22 reboot challenge, which I created in order to make the powerful tools that I use to help my one on one clients transform their bodies and lives accessible to everyone. 22 reboot is a comprehensive 22 day lifestyle transformation system that I designed to help anyone who has been neglecting the one asset that we cannot afford to lose our health, because there ain’t no plan B body. All without our health, we have nothing. As you well know, 22 reboot is the simplest, most effective path to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle that you can be proud of, so I want to invite you to join the hundreds who have already achieved massive, sustainable results by going to 22 reboot dot com today, and although I designed it with entrepreneurs and professionals and mission driven leaders in mind, this system will work for you, even if you’re not one. Alrighty, that’s it for now. I will be catching you up on my holidays and some other fun facts in the next episode, but for now, let’s do this. Here we are, Simon. We’re doing this.Simon Toohey: 4:46

How are you mate you well?Ella Magers: 4:49

I’m doing great. How are you? What time? Seven o’clock in the morning. You seem very chipper.Simon Toohey: 4:53

I am chipper, I’m a morning person. It’s nice actually, I like. I like early mornings. I spend my life doing hospitality, so it’s quite weird that I actually have found myself becoming more of a morning person. But I’m here, I’m happy and I’m ready to, ready to chat.Ella Magers: 5:06

Yeah, what is your morning usually like when you get up?Simon Toohey: 5:10

We have a golden retriever that puts her nose up against your face and nuzzles in to try to wake you up. So that’s kind of the starting point. My partner is a yoga teacher as well, so she’s up at sort of five o’clock to go teach classes at six and whatever. So it’s also forced morning person. But you know, get so much done Like we take mental love, and our dog’s name is mental, by the way.Ella Magers: 5:31

It’s a name. Oh my gosh, yeah, I know, mental, mental, the golden retriever.Simon Toohey: 5:37

So she’s obsessed with swimming, as golden retrievers are. So we live kind of close to the water, so we get up really early, we get a coffee from the local cafe, walk her down to the ocean and she just goes nuts for an hour.Ella Magers: 5:47

That’s kind of it.Simon Toohey: 5:49

It’s kind of something to look forward to as well.Ella Magers: 5:51

Yeah, what a wonderful morning routine ritual. Yeah.Simon Toohey: 5:55

That sounds lovely, love it Very much so.Ella Magers: 5:58

Good, well, I cannot wait to dive in. I mean, there’s just so much that you are involved with and so many things you’re passionate about, and I first of all just want to say thank you for making the kitchen a fun place to be.Simon Toohey: 6:14

And literally every time.Ella Magers: 6:16

I go to your Instagram and I see what was the one that really got me. I think I had to scroll down a little bit, but the eggplant steak with caper Caesar dressing, oh yeah.Simon Toohey: 6:28

That was fun.Ella Magers: 6:30

That looks amazing.Simon Toohey: 6:31

I should do that again. Oh you’re just going to bunch of eggplants. Actually, I’ll make that. Oh, thanks for money, that’s good. You’re welcome yeah.Ella Magers: 6:40

Well, you know, before we dive in, I would like to kind of just get a sense of who you are like Beyond the bio and all the accomplishments and the trips and the travel and the nonprofits and all the things you’re doing. Kind of, behind all that and behind your bio, who is Simon? You know who are you. Like what does that mean to you? You can take that however you want.Simon Toohey: 7:06

Yeah, okay, I’m an average person who did average at school, who was obsessed with sport, a bit of a jock, and who just loves trying to be joyous. That’s a really good question. It’s just a bit of a chill out, but I’m definitely a jock from way back that no one really knows about. Like, I am sort of like out of that pants, rugby, jumper, sports five days a week, kind of thing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, and that’s how I did.Ella Magers: 7:33

I did none of this, yeah.Simon Toohey: 7:35

So I used to play a lot of sports but really fell out of love with it because of his little. I fell out of love with it just because of the people around, so I just sort of stopped. But yeah, that’s it, I reckon. And then, holistically, I think in a past life I probably was maybe a yoga teacher or a living in an ashram or you know, studying that my partner’s doing. So I think there was that slow transition to that. I don’t know. But yeah, I’d like to think about that a little bit more and give a secondary answer at the end of the chat.Ella Magers: 8:03

Okay, fair enough, and do you do yoga now with your partner?Simon Toohey: 8:07

Yeah, so was she your teacher constantly, but I’ll do it sort of a few times a week to keep myself nimble.Ella Magers: 8:15

Got to be nimble to do all the other things.Simon Toohey: 8:17

That’s right, all right.Ella Magers: 8:19

Well, how do you feel now? That was kind of the serious question about a little lightning round to have fun, little questions to kick us off. Okay, all right. Three daily habits or rituals that you attribute to optimizing your health and wellness.Simon Toohey: 8:34

Coffee Mushroom extract tablets like lion’s mane and that’s just our stuff. They’re amazing and like vitamin B’s Got it. So they’re any one of them.Ella Magers: 8:46

And it can be as lightning as we want it to be. Do you listen to music while you’re in the kitchen and, if so, what type of music do you listen to?Simon Toohey: 8:53

When I remember, yes, and I listened to things like the Teske Brothers, I know they would know the Teske Brothers, but yeah.Ella Magers: 9:00

I just got introduced to the Teske. I was just at the.Simon Toohey: 9:02

Austin.Ella Magers: 9:02

City Limits Music Festival and Teske Brothers were there. Yes, oh my gosh, they’re amazing.Simon Toohey: 9:10

Georgia used to work with them back in the old days. Yeah, so you used to play at her cafe when she was running a pizza joint in the country of Australia like country Victoria. Yeah, so we got engaged in their house too, which is kind of funny. So it’s a little fun. We love them.Ella Magers: 9:25

How cool. I mean just so soulful and oh my god breaks me. Oh my god, if you guys don’t know Teske brothers, gotta check them out. Yeah, yeah, right, okay, a quirk or fun fact that most people don’t know about you. Besides the jock thing, because we already said that I really stretchy skin.Simon Toohey: 9:41

So like this is called awareness, almost games called awareness. People might lose their breakfast if they’re listening to this. At this stage I wouldn’t show you, but that’s my party trick.Ella Magers: 9:55

He’s called a what?Simon Toohey: 9:59

Yeah, yeah, you’re almost. Skin is called your weakness.Ella Magers: 10:13

Okay, you get to gift one piece of kitchen equipment to every household in the world. What equipment do you gift everybody?Simon Toohey: 10:20

Oh, solid technique pants and I’m not being sponsored, so the technique pants are the Australian made cast iron raw-dime pants. You’ll give them to the new grandchildren, your great-grandchildren. They will last forever. So that is something that I’ll give them because they’re sexy to you and look hot.Ella Magers: 10:33

I love them oh all right, I’m gonna have to find those and put the link in the show notes. You just sold that. Okay, please do okay, yeah it’s your last day on earth. Are you having tea or a cocktail? Maybe a Gibson? What type of tea are you drinking and how are you preparing it? I think one of us.Simon Toohey: 10:51

Yeah, I’ll drink, cause I’m a tea person as well. I studied tea with Dilma, which is a tea I don’t know if you have it in America, but it’s a single origin smoked tea done by Dilma. It’s pretty fantastic, but it’s smoked using cinnamon bark, so it’s like a lapsing Sushong or like a Russian caravan, but using a single origin Sri Lankan tea, and they smoke it using Sri Lankan cinnamon. It’s insane. So that’s my tea, and then cocktail wise at Gibson. I think you just know that like I’d have a Gibson in a heartbeat. Sure, give me all of those all the time.Ella Magers: 11:22

All right, cool, and we’re gonna get to your East Australian tour of sustainability, which I can’t wait to hear about, and tree long good thing. I like I can’t wait to get up to all that before we do, though I do want to kind of start with your backstory. Yeah, I know you started in the hospitality industry at a young age. Can you share about that and how that path kind of eventually led you to be so passionate now about sustainable eating and zero waste cooking?Simon Toohey: 11:49

Yeah, I mean I followed up. My brother was a work in a kitchen as a dish here at a bakery. I don’t know how old he was, but I started at 15. I took over his role because he went, got a real job and grew up and so I started scrubbing sugar off the bottom of pans and making donuts and gosh or might it’s like those things. It’d be safe if you want to eat a McDonald’s, don’t work at McDonald’s, kind of thing. You know it’s like that in the old days. Obviously we already they’re gonna have the time based ones at all, but anyway. So the same thing with kind of bakeries like old school bank If you want to love a bakery, don’t go work at the bakery, because you really start to understand the incident of all. But I did for a couple of years and I really all I’ve ever done is hospitality. That’s literally everything I’ve done. So so they’re at 15 work there for a couple of years, it’s sort of so. I think we started at 5 am or 4 am, you know, on weekends and something out of 15 years old, just kind of crazy, getting paid nothing. And Then I moved on to like a pizza joint, which was a really nice local pizza place down the road from us. Then I started studying hospitality and tourism and then I got into a hotel, then I got to a pub and that public into a cocktail bar and a cocktail bar go into another one. And then I went to London and worked there. So it was this sort of like natural progression of really enjoying Making things, being creative in this hospitality world, loving talking to people and just bit of showmanship I think I think at a young age you kind of Love this sort of idea of being quasi famous. You know people come to see you, they want to hang out with you. You want to talk them. You give them a good time. You’re showing them a great you know, showing them all the fun that they could be having. Quite so I think I became quite addicted.Ella Magers: 13:24

Hmm, and well, it’s interesting because earlier you had said when you’re kind of trying to come up with my very first tough question, but you’re saying I try to bring joy or something like that, and to me just in a little bit I’ve known you and from what I can tell, like you don’t need to try, you really really embody that very well.Simon Toohey: 13:46

So lovely. I mean it’s now just ingrained Flee like insane that if you meet my parents you know my folks are pretty lively and it’s my brother. So I think it’s genetic. Thank goodness I just it was luck of the draw and I really loved it and I also I think just to finalize answer to answer that question Is it’s. I think I became really afraid. I probably still am now, but I can work out where I can go in a way he would take. But I think you become quite afraid of leaving, which is hard. And hospitality it’s a very much a vortex because it’s all you ever know and you don’t back yourself for anything else other than knowing. Have you know make a drink or work in hospitality or whatever that you know, being a chef or whatever that could be? And so there’s stages where you probably do want to leave. When I did, I went to become a travel agent and I was there for six months and I got fired because I sucked. Well, this is funny blaming game, for the manager was an atrocious human being in a very nasty, nasty human. So we’re also sits quietly and that’s it happen. The person hospitality tells the manager to go stuff themselves and you know. As a result, it’s fine, which you know, sure enough. Yeah, yeah yeah, I got it anyway, so that’s right. So that was six months of a pain, but it was quite useful because I thought we are Work out my travels around the world, which I’m sure we’re traveling, talk you out soon, but anyway. So it’s this vortex of like sucking you in and keeping you dead because it’s such a family, you know, it’s such an amazing group of people and if you accept it and love it, you will be loved and accepted so much as well, and if you don’t, that’s probably not a bad thing, because you can pull yourself away when you’re ready.Ella Magers: 15:16

Mmm. All right, so you know Most of what’s out there in terms of hospitality, and then these bakeries and all that are very far from Fyne based. Yeah, yeah, like a sausage roll when did you start making that shift, making those connections, starting to feel, you know, drawn towards that side of things?Simon Toohey: 15:39

I actually think really it was my wife now I keep calling her partner, but I suppose it’s wife, but Georgia let’s call it Georgia because she’s gonna make Georgia is probably the one that started me on that journey. That was not seven years ago now, so I Really was always questioning it in a way. But again was sitting by the simplest and the ease of cooking, you know mean three veg, which is a very stunning. You know dishes like whatever meat, peas, potatoes being something like that. You know it sits at the plate. That’s kind of it and that’s sort of what we all grew up with and what our grandparents and mothers and fathers all cooked us, but rather was vegan and George’s veggie vegan and George’s mom was vegan out of the fact that the kids were, because you know they lived together and so that so just was easier to buy on the. And what I actually found I think it became the background of hospitality was this sort of actually not being a challenge. I was like, oh, this is quite challenging and it’s not that so challenging for me because we I’ve got three other people who know how to cook it. I can just rely on them, but it’s challenging for everyone else and that’s kind of fun. So not only did I jump on board the vegan thing with great love and enjoyment of trying new foods and new dishes and taking the things that are Meat-based and to transfer them into non-beat, based off, because it’s not that lot of, it’s not that difficult some of it is a lot of, it’s not but it was really exciting to try and get other people To do it, and not in a forceful way. I’m not saying like you need to be vegan, I’m gonna. I was like I’m gonna open up a smokehouse that smokes only plants and you can come along if you like. You know 60 70% of the people weren’t vegan and they loved it and they went home full and it was really really great. So these kinds of little ticks sort of was what meant even more exciting and sort of like something that I wanted to do other than just I’m doing it because of animals slash plants, slash climate. You know animals slash climate, slash, you know.Ella Magers: 17:23

Yeah, so it started down that and you bring so much fun to it, right, it’s that something that you do? Intention or is that just who you are and like, so of course you’re gonna bring it.Simon Toohey: 17:33

I think I was born to yell Like the Bruce Springsteen. Was it born to run? It’s born to yell. I just a lot of cooking shows really dull. I find a lot of there’s lacking information and there’s lacking in joy, and all those put together kind of makes me say, well, there has to be something better than this. There has to be Something where we can produce really good food with great information. So we’re not waxing lyrical about plants and then going I actually don’t know what it means, though, and that’s another thing. It’s like well, what does that mean for you to serve mushrooms so much? What is it about them? That is really important. You’re like well, you know space of use, use of water, vitamin D. You know they’re the outer exoskeleton which holds a lot of moisture, and then it can be released and rah, rah, rah, rah. So all these sorts of things is kind of just adds on to it, and I want people to sort of be engaged and enjoy the food. So if I can get them to enjoy me, then hopefully the food is almost secondary in a way.Ella Magers: 18:28

Mm-hmm. It’s not the case with so many things, right? Yeah, I was listening to somebody and they were talking about Just being so intentional, about connection, right about in terms of Prioritizing where they’re gonna spend their time in their business, and they were like you know what? The majority of my time is spent building Relationships. Yeah, because it’s the people, it’s the connections, it’s not the daily to-dos that you have on your to-do list right that are gonna help grow and inspire and Invite people to yeah, be a part of your world.Simon Toohey: 19:01

So it’s so true, I completely agree with that. And it’s kind of like the world is like a bunch of Lego pieces and they all start building in certain areas of a town, but as they get higher, higher, they start spreading wider and then they start connecting at the top part. So you don’t need to know their childhood, you don’t need to know their basics at the bottom of where they started or where you decide to start this section, but when you start to get the top, they bind, and they bind quite strongly, you know what I mean. And they lean on each other and all these connections Can just jump and hop across all the space, all the bridges to meet each other. And I also feel the plant-based people are those kinds of people. They’re really open, they’re compassionate, because it’s not just plants that they’re into, necessarily it’s climate or it’s. You know, we just had the referendum that everyone but no very heart breaking in Australia For the first nations people have a voice in Parliament, the majority of I don’t know which is atrocious. It’s broken us, I think. But people who are usually plant-based, focused or have that compassionate side of them, they would have that. But yes, so you have this sort of it’s or it’s about equal rights, or it’s about women’s rights in equal pay, or it’s about, you know, the balance of power, or it’s about people who are plant-based, aren’t just plant-based. I just feel as though they are majority of time definitely not everyone, but it’s most people are completely holistic in all those, all those sides.Ella Magers: 20:14

Yeah, speaking of that, I mean this was not in the plan, but where are you in terms of? I mean, you’re traveling the world and we’ll just kind of jump ahead here in terms of just what’s most inspiring you right now in terms of being impactful, because that’s obviously like being fun and engaging is one thing, and then there’s a passion and what you just mentioned about justice and like all of those pieces that obviously mean a lot to you and you’re dedicating so much of your life to those. Do you want to talk? Should we just jump forward a little bit and talk about what’s most inspiring you right now and what you’re up to, and we can always go back and.Simon Toohey: 20:53

Yeah, we can always pick up pieces when we need to Just makes it fun. That way People can try to jump on board themselves.Ella Magers: 20:58

Yeah.Simon Toohey: 21:00

Well, I mean, I guess firstly is I love a good ramble. So I kind of answered the question and I forget what the question was and I tried to run back and ask the question. So let me know. If I forget what I’m saying, I might have to go what was the question? Sure, but that’s just because I don’t stop talking. Yes, at the moment we’ve just moved to a little town in Victoria called Geelong. It’s the second largest town in Victoria, but it’s only 350,000 as opposed to what 6 million that Melbourne has thereabouts, and but we’re the fastest growing city in. We call ourselves a city. We’re the fastest growing city in Australia. We’re on a train line to Melbourne. It’s only an hour to get there. We’re on the beach, everything’s quite cheap in the way of housing prices, which is obviously a huge thing all over the world, and I’m getting it somewhere with this. What’s really wonderful about this is that we’ve found ourselves a community that really accepts people, or that we want to get involved in. That. I think there’s a better way of putting it. So we came here and we had our wedding in honeymoon. We’re like, right, we’ll say for that, say for that, say for that. So that’s been about a year. We’ve just come back a couple of weeks ago and we’re like right now is the time to just dive straight into really belonging and being part of all the community. So I work closely with an off the proper called Give when you Live Foundation at the Feed to Geelong appeal and they are all about the hungry males and the families that are just living below the poverty line and even not like we just have too many expenses because they’ve got three kids and they’ve got two jobs and they can’t have that sort of constant income to buy food. And so it’s a food relief system based out of Geelong cuts out that sort of fear factor of people feeling sort of self-cultured about going to get food and opens up the doors to a really wonderful community. We just joined David and Afghan Feast, which is five Afghani women who had migrated from Afghanistan whose husbands are still over there I think one or two of them were and they’re waiting for their visa to come through and they’re creating food that is from their homeland and they’re creating a community from their homeland. And that’s just the most dividing this place called Common Ground, which is a not a private farm that grows food for not only their little cafes and for people to come and do it like the Afghan women, but also anyone and give it out to people who are in need. So working closely with all these people and feeding people and making people feel welcome and loved is something that I’m super passionate about, and there’s definitely crazy avenues to go down that with, because you know, just to do a little side track and then come back in in a second is a company called Farmers Pick and they do ugly veg boxes right, so they go to all the farmers that I’m sure you’ve heard this many times about people, but farmers that you know would normally produce food for, let’s say, a large supermarket doesn’t hold the shape of a circular potato and so they have to throw it into landfill. Now Farmers Pick stops up from happening and saves you know so much food. So this is the other section that I’m really passionate about is sort of fighting food waste side of things and sustainability, and so saving all that food and using Farmers Pick stuff for myself to then take it to the Afghan people or to the community and cook for them. So this weekend, on Sunday, we’ve got to cook for an open day for the farm where the Give when you Live Foundation is based, and so I’m going to go and use a pizza oven and I’m going to cook for everyone there and make this beautiful sort of like meal to bring the community together and get people to have takeaway containers that can take it home and really supporting a local community. And I feel sometimes that, especially in the world that you and I are in, we find our eyes and not that this is a bad thing, but we find our eyes and our ideals so broad that we end up doing none of it because it’s so broad and we’re trying to find the people who are going to help us get there because it’s so broad. But in reality, if everyone does something locally in their community, you’re going to find that community will grow beautifully. And there comes those Lego building blocks and we start to find each other later on down the trap in that really broad view that we had before and finally we’re connected. So, at the moment, right now, my biggest passion is when it’s always been fighting food waste, but it’s this community. It’s fighting food waste with this community, feeding everyone here, making sure this community is a soulful, divine, loving, all-encompassing great place, because it really is. But there’s people there who aren’t there, you know, and it would be naive of me to think that everything over here is great when it’s not. And so where can I find myself, where can I dive myself into to help fix the problem, or just be a little solution, or a little set of ears, or play the food or whatever?Ella Magers: 25:12

Wow, you explained that so well because I think people that are listening to this podcast care. They care about making a difference right, they care about their own health, but the health of you did that.Simon Toohey: 25:24

You brought those people into listen and made them love it and it’s you know, that’s the community right. You created that.Ella Magers: 25:30

Yeah.Simon Toohey: 25:30

Oh, you’re reaching the way to the mind, but it’s.Ella Magers: 25:32

Oh, my God, are you kidding? No, but what I’m saying is and thank you for that, I’m blushing because that means everything to me and building community, like you’re saying. But I think people do like it’s like, wow, these problems are so large and who am I and what can I even do about them? And we forget. I think too, and tell me what you think. In this age of the digital age, right With the social media, and like we’re seeing problems everywhere and in the problems just seems so huge in those ways that we forget that you know, we’re still communities and we’re still local and we’re still people right around us, you know, right down the street, that are hungry and are suffering, and yeah, so thank you for that reminder and for sharing that. That’s a big deal.Simon Toohey: 26:18

Yeah, it is because, think about it, you try to care for 350,000 people, or you sort of focus on that as being part of your community. That’s a lot of people. That’s not, you know, in comparison to what New York or London or Melbourne or whatever it is. It’s small, but it’s more than one person can handle. So, you know, get a group of us together and it’s fantastic.Ella Magers: 26:35

Beautiful. Can you talk a little bit more about zero waste and in general, and what people might not know? That would be helpful for them.Simon Toohey: 26:43

I love to think that people in the Playbase world really understand zero waste a lot more than the majority of others do, because you know it’s just sort of like cut this off and throw it out, it’s done. But for me zero waste it doesn’t necessarily. I could say I just it’s funny, okay. So zero waste for me is obviously the idea of zero waste food and zero waste eating along with. You know, can transition into clothing, you can transition into, you know, whatever it could be right, like a zero waste thing you could recycle, reuse until really everything is in tatters, falling apart and goes into compost. But ideally in my environment, zero waste is taking in an ingredient, using it as much as it possibly can and then taking that ingredient and then putting that into compost at the end of the day or into the soil or it’s being consumed. You know, and I think there’s again a big lack of education in our environment America, uk, canada, australia, that sort of stuff where some of us haven’t had the real understanding of true poverty right, and knowing that, like I mean, in the South there’s the food of the Creole, is just an amazing sort of representation of using very minimal ingredients and creating unbelievable amounts of flavor and food and potential, right and again this sort of side of things. It’s kind of like hold on, we don’t need this, so we’re going to throw it out, right, and that’s just sort of like this privilege, which is really it’s not a privilege, it’s stupidity more than anything. Right, like what it does the CO2, what it does to the soil and all sorts of things that is not great when it goes to landfill. So in saying all that, it’s like if I have a pumpkin and the pumpkin has a skin, what can I do with that pumpkin skin and it’s edible, like it’s actually edible. You can cut it off, you blanch it, you then chuck it through some sort of spices whatever your favorite spices are and then you roast it until it’s crispy and you use it as a crisp and it goes crispy and it’s delicious. Now, banana skin. I know that’s a bit of a thing you’re still stuck struggling with me with my mind trying to get around it. But you peel it, you take off the little white piss and then you get two forks and you scrape it until it’s into pulled banana skins, into like shreds and then you cook that into a Southern barbecue sauce, spice or barbecue sauce and you use pulled banana skin burgers and they’re actually delicious, like there’s nothing wrong with it, they’re absolutely edible and it is a little you know, really creamy coleslaw on top. You know, very soft bun, fishbash bosh. You’re happy days, you know. So it’s sort of idea of like really doesn’t even be that educated, just learning some fun facts about things and working around and focusing on not buying too much food, knowing that your seconds is going to be left over the next day. You know dinner for lunch is great for me, like I love that. And buying what you need, you know, buying only what you need. And that’s again a big thing Because, as we get to the stage, even though majority about agriculture goes towards eating animals, eating animals agriculture goes towards feeding animals. There is enough food there for everyone. No matter what the facts are, it’s doable. But the problem is is we buy so much? So I’m sure people have said this on your podcast before but in Australia a third of your food is from the farmers goes to landfill. So third of the food they grow and produce goes to landfill because of whatever reason. It looks ugly right, it doesn’t, it’s just ridiculous. A third of the supermarket’s food goes to landfill, into the bin, and then a third of household food goes to landfill and as you put those all together, it’s a huge, huge problem. So small steps of consciousness is just, I guess, the way to go about it. It’s really hard to teach people to be zero waste or to talk about zero waste if they don’t really know what that is or how to do it. You need to have some form of culinary skill. Color only. You need to have some sort of maybe kitchen confidence is all you need. More than anything. I don’t think you need culinary skill. You can tear things up with your fingers, roast it, it’ll be grand. But you know they’re wanting to change or they’re wanting to try new things. But that’s kind of where my role comes into play, and it’s just to show that we can use everything. You can use a whole cauliflower. You can use a whole broccoli. You can use the leaves of so and so the beetroot. You know you can make color greens out of the stems and the root and the leaves of the beetroot and the beetroot itself. You can make a you know, beetroot risotto, so things like that. Like it’s eaves of options, but it’s being afraid of it.Ella Magers: 30:41

Yes, and I guess you know, especially for people like me I live in a condo, I don’t, you know, have really a condo. Oh, what’s a condo? Are you asking what a condo is? Yeah, an apartment, a condominium. Yes, like an apartment, a condominium.Simon Toohey: 30:54

Yeah, yeah.Ella Magers: 30:55

Yeah, condo for sure. And so, yeah, I’m still trying to figure out some of these things, what that is. Yeah, I mean, I grew up in a house we had, we had a compost and we had all those things growing up. But now in Miami and I don’t really have you know, I’m looking at maybe the lettuce grows to grow my own lettuce, but so it’s looking at what you can do and some of the things that create waste every day. I would think, like banana peels if you’re somebody who eats banana peels that I mean eats bananas and has banana peels every day to have something to do with those foods that you already know that you’re going to have that waste daily would be a great kind of first step. And one thing that I do recommend with my clients, and something that I do I consider leftovers. Instead of like people are like I don’t know what to snack on, like snack, healthy snack Well, I talk about your leftovers from a meal can make a perfect snack, and so then we’re not buying the packaged snacks and all the ways that comes along with them. If we just shift our minds, like most of this is about a little bit of mindset shift, right?Simon Toohey: 31:58

If I could what’s a snack?Ella Magers: 32:00

anyway, it’s a small meal, like you just want to eat a full meal. So what if you ate the healthy leftovers from the meal the night before for your snack and like a lot of this is right, like just yeah.Simon Toohey: 32:13

I mean, I did this one, you know, when I was really sort of being quite. I just really wanted to stop wasting food, as my snacks was. Always, it had to have one ingredient. It couldn’t be any more than one ingredient, right? And I kind of think that works, because you think, okay, well, how does that make sense? Well, it’s an apple, or it’s a mango, or it’s a banana, or it’s a pear, or it’s like I don’t know tomato, whatever. So all these things that your snacks had to own could only be one ingredient. And what it does? It stops buying crappy food, yes, stops putting the plastics into the landfill because you don’t need that packet chips or the dip or whatever it’s going to be. So that kind of thing is always fun, and the best thing about that is you sort of really remove yourself from sugar, like unnatural sugars or processed sugars, and so the peach or the mango the sweetness of that is like mind-blowingly good, like everything is better because of it. I don’t know if you’re ever. I mean, in hospitality everyone smokes and the old days I used to smoke and it’s like when I stopped smoking and I started eating, it was like whoa, hold on, this actually tastes like this and you’re like yeah, it’s like where have? I been the last time and I was like not looking after my body and drinking too much and smoking too much. So it’s quite phenomenal. So there’s these things. A lot of really busy people sort of go. Well, I can’t be bothered, it’s too hard, and it’s totally true. Like they’re busy, I get it. There’s a lot. They’ve got four kids, they’ve got a household of two parents and two jobs, or one parent, one job, whatever their thing is. Yes, I agree with them. So buying single ingredients or taking leftovers and putting it in a tub of container, that’s not too difficult, I don’t think. If they’re on the run, they can have an apple, they can have an orange, they can have a maybe not orange. When you’re driving, they can have a peach, they can have leftovers, and that sort of is simplifying things a little bit, because the difficulty is we spend our life being too busy or we’ve got too much on or we’re doing all these things, and so the hardest job for us, as sort of like food people to, to give out our teachings, is to make sure they’re simple for them, that they don’t have to think too much, they don’t have to go buy anything and that we know that we’re there to give them a little something to help them along.Ella Magers: 34:11

Yeah, absolutely. Now I know you use the language around sustainability a lot, like I don’t hear you say the word vegan very often. Can you talk about just how you like to portray your message and why you choose the language you do and the work you do and how you kind of navigate that?Simon Toohey: 34:29

Yeah, I never say vegan because I’m sure you’ll have some listeners there who’ll sort of dislike me for saying this, but I feel maybe they might agree. Now, I think it’s a bit of a dirty word. It’s kind of this euphemism treadmill. You know, we used to say toilet and then toilet became a bad word. So we said water closet and water closet became a bad word, so we said lavatory and then lavatory became a bad word. We saw it went back to toilet, you know. So it’s a treadmill, right? So it’s like so veganism is just this dirty word for people who don’t like about eating and don’t like vegans, right, and they’re just like you’re vegan, yeah, and so although I love everything about it and my message is really about sustainable eating and so if I can produce really good food through sustainability, then the byproduct is they’re eating more plants. So it sucks shit, idiots, I can’t swear. There’s one thing that this person commented on one of my things. I was talking about sustainability and climate change and she’s like climate change is an absolute fast, it’s bullshit, it’s not a thing, it’s all government propaganda. And I was like, okay, fair enough, like totally fair enough. That’s absolutely your opinion and I respect that. I don’t love that. I respect it. Do I respect it? I’m kind to it, Anyway. So what I said, though, was in a reply I said do you believe there’s a lot of plastic and a lot of problems with plastic in the oceans and litter and lining our gutters and what it’s doing without marine life? Do you think there’s a problem? That’s absolutely. It’s awful what all this plastic is doing with and all this rubbish is doing. I was like great. So how about, instead of focusing on climate change as a whole, as a word, let’s get you focusing on plastic problems and let’s get you focusing on recycling and not throwing things and picking up rubbish when you’re walking down the street. Would you be cool with that? Absolutely, yeah, yeah, I’m going to start that. I’m going to get a community that will get that going Brilliant. So she thinks she’s not helping the climate because she thinks it’s bullshit, but in reality, what she’s doing is the best thing you possibly can do. So the thing about this is that you can visually see the plastic being a problem, but you can’t see the climate being a problem, because it’s not. You know, funny. So it’s not going down the whole religious side of things. So on my side it goes down to like all right well, veganism, it’s the same sort of thing. But if I can show them, if I can show them that this food is really, really good, then that gets them not eating meat just once for that day. When these people eat meat three times a day or twice a day, and so you have someone going. Well, actually, maybe we can do plants. You know, one meal a day instead of three meals or two meals a day, and that’s a win for me. I’m not here to scream, and some people are and go for them. Good on them. That’s a real hard thing to do and it takes a lot of energy and I’m all power to them, but I can’t see a positive change screaming at someone. And I can see a positive change and I get someone smiling with really good food once a day. And if I get someone at my restaurant, I had butchers coming over and their wives bought them there for a joke. Of course it was their wives, the mental butchers, but anyway, we’ve already gone on to another story. So you know, burly old sort of butchery men coming in, oh, don’t eat meat, where’s your steakhouse? I said look, truth is the steakhouse right below us. If this doesn’t feed you, this doesn’t fill you up, then you know I will personally buy you one. And of course, their portions went through the roof and this side of the roof and they couldn’t walk out the door and they loved it. And I don’t need to convert a butchery. It’s not going to happen, it’s just not possible. It’s not possible to convert a person who lives in Thailand, in the country, who lives off locally raised. It’s just not. But what it is possible is to get people who we know in our community, you know in our area, who have the privilege to be able to eat plants, is in a cultural sort of difference in some ways and be like, okay, you’re not eating three times a day meat, you’re eating once a day meat, or you decide to change completely, or you’re going flex during all these things, or wins for me. So that’s why I never say veganism, I say sustainability.Ella Magers: 38:00

Yeah, Well, there was really no anyone’s thoughts.Simon Toohey: 38:03

Yeah, no, no, no.Ella Magers: 38:04

We’ve got quite a broad range in our audience of people that are still very, you know, just vegan curious and yeah, cool. Or you know, plant care is whatever we want to call it, I think yeah, whatever you call it, yeah, it doesn’t it doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter what we call it, but I’m saying, yes, the truth is the way things are going, and the research does show is that we’re making a bigger difference, helping a bigger population move in that direction, than trying to convert people and say you better go vegan all the way or nothing Like that’s not working. It’s not happening, and so I think it’s not just a win in separation, and what we need to do is unite and find our common ground, and I think that that’s exactly what you’re saying. So it’s not just a win for you, it’s a win for everyone.Simon Toohey: 38:52

Well, that’s right, and I think there’s a vegan who are probably not as extreme as those who are pushing it that way. And then there’s me, who’s nibbling at the sides. And so, you know, I nibble at the sides and I’m the person in the back mustering the sheep. And then there’s the big vegan sort of voices in the front, sort of leading people along and showing where to go, and I’m like hoping them follow, you know, and we’ll all catch up. We’ll get there, yes, but if we don’t have everyone touching on all the sides, you know what I mean 1000%. Just not going to work, right, right. So we’re just creating a big, whole circle of love.Ella Magers: 39:19

Where we are. We’re meeting people where they are and people are different places. So we’ve got people meeting people at different places, because that’s where we are. And we’re all a big, happy family.Simon Toohey: 39:32

That’s right. Until we watch the news, until we watch the news. So we just don’t watch the news too much yeah.Ella Magers: 39:38

We got to stay away. And yeah, I mean, the more I’m watching I could go down a rabbit hole. Going down a rabbit hole, I’m trying to work, I’m working on my language, making sure like, instead of killing two birds with one stone, feeding two birds with one scone.Simon Toohey: 39:53

That’s a good one. That’s a good one, going down the rabbit hole.Ella Magers: 39:58

Is that a bat? Is that negative? I don’t think. That doesn’t really seem negative.Simon Toohey: 40:01

No, I don’t think so Going down a rabbit hole. It’s just where they live too. So you’re fine, right, but it’s also. It’s sort of yeah, that’s right.Ella Magers: 40:07

Yeah.Simon Toohey: 40:07

And we got to a podcast. They’re all about really.Ella Magers: 40:09

Right.Simon Toohey: 40:09

It’s kind of like finding where the darkness is taking us and where we are. We’re just like oh God, I’ve no idea where I am. Okay, back out.Ella Magers: 40:14

Yeah back out. We come, let’s go to India. Can we go to India?Simon Toohey: 40:18

Yes, we can. Let’s go to India. Let’s go to India.Ella Magers: 40:20

Can we touch on that as we start to pull things together? I would love to hear more about India. Where did this tea fascination come from, and what do we not know about tea and Sri Lanka? And what a incredible video that you posted on.Simon Toohey: 40:33

What’s trying to climb the tree or the one with me?Ella Magers: 40:36

I don’t know if I saw the tree one there.Simon Toohey: 40:38

I was like, I think I saw me trying to climb a coconut tree and then getting leeches all over my feet. Ah, did you see that?Ella Magers: 40:43

one Was that in India.Simon Toohey: 40:45

It was in Sri Lanka, that one yeah.Ella Magers: 40:46

Oh, that was. I didn’t miss that part. I missed that part.Simon Toohey: 40:49

So I got a couple of restaurants opening in India. They were meant to open this year. Last year, this year, last year, no, this year Early, early, early, and then you know it’s just a bit of a tough one to get back over there. So next year, up in the north, in a place called Varanasi, one of the oldest I mean said to be one of the oldest cities in the world continuously running, and Jaipur, which is that if you fly because we do, and I wouldn’t drive that road, that would be too scary for me it’s about two hours drive west, so it’s in the Rajasthan region, which is desertal and pretty amazing. It gives such a beautiful space. So they’re a great hotel group. They’re a very small hotel group, family run, family-owned, are all vegan or vegetarian, anyway religiously vegetarian, but also vegan. And the beautiful part about it is not only found in someone who got there Anyway. So just quickly, the restaurants are great. They’re vegan, they’re focusing on plan-based things. The hotel has three vegan restaurants in it One from like a Southeast Asian one. It does classic Indian vegan stuff, and then they got mine. And then the other place over there is a bit of a joint one, because it’s right near Delhi and Delhi are travelism. It’s a wedding venue and rah-rah-rah. So that’s vegan, mine is, and then they do a joint restaurant which is vegetarian and they’re really beautiful, but the one I’m in Rajasthan, one of the owners, the auntie, she’s animal activist, vegan, right Full-on and every year, for an example, is the religion and excuse my ignorance here, but the religious side of India they sacrifice a goat to the gods, whatever, whatever, whatever and they cook and eat whatever, whatever. I’m sorry anyone who’s Indian over there who’s telling me I’m wrong, but as far as I know, it’s just stick with the fact they sacrifice a goat. Let’s just stick with that, because otherwise I’m delving into an area that I don’t know so well. So she will drive around in a giant bus to where they sacrifice these goats and buy these goats from the people, and now the people, the community, will always take the money over sacrificing a goat, and so then she will put the goats in the bus and then she will drive around to Nakhsod and she’ll stack this bus full of goats like a pack full of goats, and then she takes them out to a sanctuary where she has a huge, huge, pothetable bit of land and lets them go free and sort of lets them live their last days out in this sanctuary.Ella Magers: 42:53

Can I interview her?Simon Toohey: 42:55

Because it’s amazing. Amazing and the crazy one was this is a great story actually is that an elephant domesticated very bollocks word domesticated elephant had killed someone because it’s a wild animal and it probably got in its space. And so, of course, the classic human thing to do is to kill the animal because it killed someone, which just furiates me because it’s been hurt, with sharks in Australia and all these sorts of things. Like you’re swimming in their water, you idiot. Like that’s the risk, this is the risk. You cannot hurt anyway, ran short and over. So she heard about this and went over to the people and bought the elephant and took the elephant back to the hotel. So this hotel has this giant plot of land I mean, it’s quite a rare little hotel. It was one of the earliest hotels in Jaipur, so it’s huge amounts of land and she basically brought the elephant to the hotel and she had the elephant in the hotel not in physically in the grounds of the hotel, whilst they tried to work out what to do with that. But they stopped the elephant from being killed and whatever they boarded the hotel. The elephant just walked around the hotel, the grounds of the hotel. Everyone was very staying away from it noise and stuff. I’m sure they kept it away in its own little section and then they took it out to the sanctuary and now the elephant lives out in the sanctuary with the goats. Wow, it’s amazing. And the hotel is completely animal friendly, so they open the doors up to the animals. But the problem was the animals started to realize they could really get fed, so it got a whole bunch of dogs in there, so they started feeding them outside. And it’s actually a really beautiful fast-start hotel so it makes it even more amazing, so it’s a really top-end hotel. It’s like a little scrollway sort of hotel. So it’s beautiful, it’s a stunning place. They’ve got a peacock and goose sanctuary where they’ve saved all these geese, and they’ve got an emu there, which is really funny. It’s an Australian native animal, an emu. They’ve got the largest emu farms everywhere in India apparently. I don’t know why, but they do so she saves them from being killed and puts them in the and that’s in the hotel. So you can look out your room and there’s these geese in this beautiful little frolic through this beautiful foresty area and drinking away and then they get fed and rah-rah. It’s quite phenomenal. So that really sat beautifully for me. Yes. So I got there, I was like oh my god, thank god, it’s not just me, it’s everyone here. Yes, oh, that’s really quite nice. So that’s India.Ella Magers: 45:15

I love it. Oh my gosh, I want to go.Simon Toohey: 45:18

Yeah Well, I’ll be back over this year. I’ll let you know, will you, if you feel like a trim. It’s pretty crazy, but it’s good.Ella Magers: 45:25

Yes, yes. Yeah, I am called more and more to take a trip to India.Simon Toohey: 45:30

to be honest, yeah, with the, it’s stunning.Ella Magers: 45:32

Yeah, fabulous.Simon Toohey: 45:34

Yes, you’ll say you’re vegan, which is totally easy over there, especially in the north, because they use a lot of mustard oil and vegetable oil as opposed to they do use a lot of ghee, I don’t know if you’re familiar with ghee, with ghee yeah. Right. The funny thing is like oh, you’re vegan. Oh, okay, cool, so fish is okay. You’re like no, no, no, no fish at all. I was like, okay, right, right, right, Chicken. You like no, vegan, no animals at all, Okay, right, right, right, but yogurt, you can have yogurt. But yes, you know what I mean. So it’s that it’s hard.Ella Magers: 45:57

Yes, India, yogurt, butter, like those are just like. When I went to Spain I mean this was many years ago, but I was like vegan vegetarian and they were like but there’s pork in there, because pork is in everything that doesn’t count. It’s like, no, no, that counts.Simon Toohey: 46:15

It’s like the word associates from what it really is. Like it’s not actually pork? No, of course. I mean. Look for those who are going to travel to India who are hardcore vegans. You can easily eat vegan, but you must. I would have be aware that if you’re in the more northern areas, which is like Rajasthan, where you might find yourself eating ghee, because they fry food in ghee, which is clarified butter for those who don’t know. So it’s butter that they’ve taken the milk solids off and it’s fried at a really high temperature. So there is a possibility that happens. So if you’re really hardcore vegan, just be wary. And if you’re okay with accidentally doing it that wasn’t your fault then you’ll be fine. Just apologize and continue on or just ask all the questions we need to ask. But a place we should go and I think this is a good segue because I think we’re going that way anyway is Sri Lanka.Ella Magers: 46:57

Yes, please.Simon Toohey: 46:58

So that’s. Talk about Sri Lanka Are we saying how do you say?Ella Magers: 47:01

it correctly.Simon Toohey: 47:03

Sri Lanka, yeah, sri.Ella Magers: 47:04

Lanka.Simon Toohey: 47:04

Yeah, sri Lanka. That’s great for the vegans because they really into coconut oil, everything’s coconut oil. So, as opposed to India, which is ghee and butter, this is coconut oil. They don’t have the best seafood you’ll ever find. Excuse me, it’s still morning. Where’s your?Ella Magers: 47:21

coffee. Where’s your coffee?Simon Toohey: 47:23

Do you drink mushroom coffee?Ella Magers: 47:24

because I am so into mushroom coffee.Simon Toohey: 47:27

Yes, I do, I really do, and I’ve just found it recently, so I’ve thought that sort of thing in my concentration is immense. It’s so wonderful. I really, really, really love it. So I’m going to continue that going on for a while, and I work for a company called Fable, which I think you can get in America. It’s a shiitake mushroom stems that have been torn up and dried and they’ve done a bit of a process with them, but it’s like meat, because the stems of the shiitake are quite dense, so you’ve got this wonderful meaty texture. It’s fantastic, like a jerky kind of thing.Ella Magers: 47:55

Yeah, you cook them. Yeah, you cook them.Simon Toohey: 47:57

It’s more like I wouldn’t even say minced, it’s like a pulled meat, but it’s been set and so you can make beautiful pies out of it. You can make bolognese out of it, you can make lasagnas, you can do anything. You want Tacos, that stuff. So Fable it is in America, I’m pretty sure. So, if anyone out there, fable, fable, fable mushrooms Delicious, anyway, back to you. So I’m talking a lot and people are sort of going where’s more questions? So I’ll make this no, no, no, no it’s not about the questions, it’s about you.Ella Magers: 48:24

So your doctor’s time is a lot better than my droning fricking.Simon Toohey: 48:27

you know, headache of a sad voice. It gives me a headache sometimes, isn’t that sad? Oh, like, anyway, it’s just a shiitake mushroom. Yeah, it’s just like, it’s phenomenal. So a long time ago, back in my days, we skipped forward, which I actually don’t think is a bad thing, because I worked in London, ran a bar there called Kalu Kalei, and then got invited to go to Sri Lanka to study tea with a company called Bolz, which is a Dutch gin, and the Dula Cures as well, anyway. So I went to Sri Lanka with a company called Dilma and I don’t know if Dilma is in America, I don’t think it’s really big there, but one of the biggest tea companies around the world, in Australia, and they’re all about climate justice, sustainability, giving back to the community. They’re tea fields. They only bring in people from the street. They pay them a full wage and I know people would be like oh, you know, slavery of tea fields. They paid on a proper wage. They build a doctor’s general practitioner building inside the tea fields that everyone who works for them gets free hospital which is just unheard of and their children get free hospital and their husbands get free hospital. They’ve got three primary schools for underprivileged children. They’ve got two regular schools for kids with disabilities to learn and be taught whatever it is, that their level of intelligence or their level can go to. They’ve got Elephant Rehabilitation Centre, which takes in elephants that have been abused and poached and brings them back into the wild and puts them back into their national. They’ve got like I’m telling you, they’ve got it all. They’ve got this thing called the Forgotten Food I’m sorry, dilma and Dilma, I forgot the name of it Forgotten Food Project which is finding all of the indigenous or Sri Lankan ingredients that have just fallen by the wayside over time because of Westernization and they find these back and they’re bringing them back to the world and so they’re producing this cinnamon, because the best cinnamon in the world comes from Ceylon, from Sri Lanka. You know. They’ve got things like mugwort, which is, like it’s called, gotcha gulla over there. It’s like this beautiful leafy green, almost like a spinach that’s really good for your brain functions, all these sorts of things. They’re bringing this all to the forefront. It’s fantastic, and vegan producers, food over there is fantastic as well. Right? So that was that background. So I went over there again recently because through all my work of like I want to stick with sustainability side of things. I’ve obsessed with tea and we’ve become really close friends with people and love them dearly. So I went over there and filmed a series called the Lost Ingredients Lab Lost Ingredients Lab. There we go when I slow down, I can remember it and we went and researched all these places that have, just, you know, doing permaculture or growing this woman called Luck Luckmini. She has a farm that grows gotcha gulla organically, which is, again, quite unusual in this world, and she only employs women and women who have I know this sounds strange, but a husband and a kid, and she sort of sits at home and does nothing. And Luckmini is like well, why are you sitting at home doing nothing when you can have two incomes? I mean, wouldn’t that be a great idea? And of course it is because everyone should be allowed to work. You know, it’s just like this idea that this system has made us think that women sit at home and look after the children, which is, by the way, more than a full-time job and should be paid as a bloody full-time job, plus overtime, plus holiday play pay. You know what I mean? This is just ridiculous. Anyway, that’s another story. So she brings all these women in and pays them a secondary wage, and so the husband obviously sometimes doesn’t have a job either, because that’s just the way we’re men are. They’re lazy and shit sometimes a lot of the time, and so now the mum has to raise the children and also is making an amazing wage. But she also allows them to work during times when they’re not at school. So the kids get dropped off at school, then the mum comes and works if they want to and then they can leave before the school. Pick up is because, of course, the man is not doing it as usual, and then she goes and picks it up and does that. So that is a really wonderful way to create this beautiful female community and bring them all together. So that was Sri Lanka recently, and that really opened my eyes up into the most amazing culinary divinity. You know they use coconut oil, so everything is basically vegan unless you’re using coastal seafood. Most of the time you’re eating plant-based anyway, and it’s just special. It’s just the most special place in the world. It’s probably one of my favorite countries that I will forever live in, visit, retire in, whatever. It’s just heavenly.Ella Magers: 52:32

Where can people watch that Serious?Simon Toohey: 52:35

So that’s on the Dilma’s social media side. But oh fly, but that was weird. But in saying that we’re filming a TV show there in February, so hold the line, callers. That should be out online and on the Australian TV and then around the world, probably by the end of next year, and that’ll be quite similar to what we did here, so focusing on sustainable produce, historical ingredients and all that sort of stuff. Wait, lentil.Ella Magers: 53:03

Lentil she’s so amazing.Simon Toohey: 53:06

She’s such a chiller Gosh. She’s the best dog in the world. I’m curious this is the best name in the world.Ella Magers: 53:13

Oh, it’s a fun name. I don’t know what makes that so fun, but it’s so fun, like, did that just come to you? Was it your name?Simon Toohey: 53:22

Yeah, so it was the Melbourne. Victoria, or Melbourne itself, was the largest lockdown state in the world right, or sitting in the world right. We did over a year of lockdowns.Ella Magers: 53:32

Wow.Simon Toohey: 53:33

So before lockdown 2.0, I think, we were at this little coastal town and we heard and we were trying to buy a rescue dog. It was really we wanted a rescue dog, but over COVID no rescue dogs were available because everyone wanted a dog over COVID, right. And I would like to say my animal is a golden retriever. If I was ever to come back as an animal, I would be probably a golden retriever. Or a few word of morphine to an animal, and I always wanted a golden retriever as well. So, anyway, a friend of ours sort of called up and said hey, a friend of mine has just bought a Goldie, but the person who’s going to buy his sister has pulled out. They kind of thought it would you like it? And we really, to be fair, couldn’t afford it either, but we also really would love a dog and it was a Goldie. And so we’re like you know what, we’ll work it out later on. And we are, to this day, very glad we did. And, as you were saying, we’re driving home that day, we’re trying to spitball names and we’re like chippies no, we like the name Chippies because it’s George’s favourite food. You know, chips and chips and food. And we’re like well, what about lentil? Yes, you, hello. And we both just sort of paused and went quiet and we’re like okay, we’ll put that at the top of the list, let’s keep going and nothing sort of beat it. No, I don’t think you can beat that name, I know Wow.Ella Magers: 54:47

That’s amazing that there were not rescue dogs available.Simon Toohey: 54:51

None, none, none. It was crazy they were all taken because everyone wanted a dog over lockdown.Ella Magers: 54:56

I mean that’s fantastic.Simon Toohey: 54:58

Well, it isn’t. It isn’t Because, once lockdown did lift All the people, they ended up back yeah. All the people that couldn’t realise they were actually they couldn’t get rid of it. You know they couldn’t actually train the dog because the family or did work and it’s just stretching the old so I haven’t heard. I’m sure there’s someone out there with a lot more information, but I haven’t heard bad things. I haven’t heard the things so full, but they’re definitely back to normal. They’ve cleared out and stay clear.Ella Magers: 55:22

So adopt everybody.Simon Toohey: 55:24

Yeah, that’s right, but we’ll get another mental any day, you know.Ella Magers: 55:29

Final thing oh, Simon, you are incredible. Is there anything you want to end with this? Yeah, I know, it’s been like almost an hour and I’m just trying to think like kind of coming from the perspective of the people listening, and they’re like, okay, now what? Like I’m so inspired. I, this food waste thing. This is phenomenal, this sustainability. Where can I get started to now up level where I’m at now, wherever that yeah, all right, we’ll jump on.Simon Toohey: 55:56

I mean, always, social media is always a leading part. So, simon, two years me. I’m on Instagram, I’m trying to work out TikTok, but I just cannot. I mean, it’s fine, it’s just, you know, it’s the same videos and Instagram is even ticked off. But I’ve also got a look at the channel, which I’m jumping back on, called sustainable earth network, and that is a network that focuses on all the things basically we’ve been talking about the last hour and so we’re working with local farmers now and producers and Victorian government and stuff, trying to jump towards a sustainable, plant-based food world without screaming down people’s throat. So, if you like a soft listening, a bit more of a laugh, a little bit more of a fun time. So, simon, two years me, you’ll find my day to day recipes run in the kitchen in our beautiful ugly house that we bought that is so ugly that we’re going to do it. The camera can only face this one way, because everything else is atrocious. So come and have a laugh and watch some recipes and get inspired. Or, hopefully, over the coming year, sustainable earth network will be back up and running. We’ve got 11,000 polls, I think, on that and that will bring some more in depth, more insight into producers, farmers, tourism and recipes like that, so that hopefully will be a little bit more all-encompassing. Freshly picked, which is my TV show. That’s on channel 10, but that is on National Geographic channel. So Fox tell, I don’t know what you call it over there, star, whatever your channels are, it is in America, but it’s all over the world at the moment 140 countries, I think. So you find yourself waking up at 6am or something. Get to go to the airport for your seven o’clock flight and it’s on then. Or you go to the doctors and it’s on the GP. It’s in the doctors waiting room. There’s always a TV with my show. On some random reason they put on channel 10. And every weekend I get messages from friends saying, oh, I’m at the hospital, I’m at the doctors or I’m at the dentist. It is you.Ella Magers: 57:38

I’m like honey how do you do?Simon Toohey: 57:41

it. That’s me in a nutshell, in a one hour nutshell.Ella Magers: 57:45

Well, you might just, speaking of that just funny little thought my friend traveled to India, so next time you’re in India you might see me in an ab infomercial. Okay infomercials from like 10, 15 years ago, me doing like stupid little, like stupid ag machine, like they’re ridiculous, anyway. But you might see me on an ab infomercial, but before we finish up as well.Simon Toohey: 58:08

The world of sustainability is doesn’t sustain you financially as well, and sometimes it’s a yes. Sometimes you have to bite the bad bullet and say, look, I need to pay rent, buy food, whatever. I did an episode the other day which is 99 cents. I bought 99 cents was to buy as bar no brussel sprouts in a packet and I had polystyrene base and I was like, is it sustainable to buy this? Do I buy it for 99 cents because it’s cheap and it’s going to go to landfill? But is it bad because it’s plastic? And sometimes you just got to go. You know what, at this stage of my time, with this amount of income and this raising expenses of everything we’re looking for, I’m actually going to take that role, and I know this is ages ago, 15 years ago, but in fairness, at that time you probably wanted it, you probably needed it, it was, it was worth your, your, your work. So, anyway, big ups to you.Ella Magers: 58:52

Thank you, thank you, oh, simon, you’re just so much fun to talk to and thank you for everything you’re doing for people, for animals, for the planet. I appreciate you. Thanks for being on.Simon Toohey: 59:02

Thanks so much, and hopefully we get to hang out in person sometimes.Ella Magers: 59:05

Yeah, so too, thanks. Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Rise and Thrive with me, ella Majors. I truly hope you found it inspiring and, if you did, please help me spread the word by leaving a rating and review on your favorite podcast player and by sharing the show with your friends. As you probably know by now, my life’s purpose is to use my voice to make this world a more conscious and compassionate place, and your reviews and shares make a huge impact. And last, I’m getting a ton of insanely positive feedback about my short and sweet monthly newsletter called the Way. Short for the way out is through. I give my top five latest badass discoveries, insights and explorations, like vegan products and recipes. I’m obsessed with books and shows I’m loving and workouts that have me fired up. Head on over to my website, ellamajorscom, to sign up and check out all the other awesome resources I have for you and projects I’m involved with, including Hogs and Kisses Farm Sanctuary, where our mission is to create the best life for farm animals while inspiring compassion for all living beings. Thanks a lot, and I’ll see you on the next one.


Now, banana skin… You peel [the banana], you take off the white pith, and then you get two forks and you scrape it until it’s pulled banana skin – shreds – and then you cook that into a  barbecue sauce and use pulled banana skin burgers and they’re actually delicious! – Simon Toohey


In this entertaining and eclectic conversation with plant-based chef Simon Toohey we explore the joy and passion that fuels his journey and discover how he’s been able to inspire people across the globe with his commitment to sustainable living, community building, and a kitchen playlist that’s as soulful as his food. 

From ocean swims to advocating for zero waste, Simon shares his holistic approach to wellness that extends beyond the plate. We learn about local initiatives in Geelong, Victoria, and the global reach of the Forgotten Food Project in Sri Lanka, which reminds us that every bite we take can be a step towards a healthier, kinder world. 

We wrap up with Simon’s reflections on finding common ground in the fight for a sustainable future, whether you’re full-fledged vegan or just dipping your toes into plant-based waters. 

Tune in for an episode that’s as much about nourishing the soul as it is about tantalizing the taste buds!

Mentioned by Simon in this episode:

Mushrooms that are awesome and meaty: https://fablefood.co/

Pans that last forever: https://www.solidteknics.com

Official Bio: 

Simon Toohey a Northern New South Wales born, Canberra upbringing, has been in hospitality since he was 15 years. Along with Finishing school at Canberra grammar in 2004 he has a diploma in Hospitality management and a Degree in Tourism management.

He worked through cocktail bars in Canberra and Byron Bay until he traveled around the world, landing and calling London home for 5 years. This included working and running venues in east London, taking home countless awards such as best cocktail menu in the world and best high volume cocktail bar in the world. He ran a team of 20 focusing on local produce, local drinks with creative inspiration.

From here Simon transferred his learning from a liquid base to a more culinary space by studying his Masters in Gastronomy.

Since then Simon has moved back to Australia where he competed in MasterChef, was a finalist and was invited back to compete in the All Stars season.

Simon has gone onto opening 2 restaurants in India, in the process of writing his first cookbook, has his own cooking show on Channel 10 called Freshly Picked (up to their 4th season) and finally is an ambassador to Hemp Foods Australia, Dilmah, Source Bulk Foods, and more.



Simon’s Instagram   |    Website    |    Sustainable Earth Network Instagram



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