In conversation

In conversation

Heading out to Piha on the west coast of Auckland, we had the pleasure of sitting at the table of local food writer Eleanor Ozich. Connecting with a group of likeminded women who share the same values as we do here at Max, we were lucky enough to share a meal together prepared by Eleanor in an idyllic garden setting.

Post lunch we caught up with Eleanor to learn about her background and what ignited her passion for wholefoods as well as finding out more about Piha Hideaways, Eleanor’s latest passion project.

Take us through your journey and how you started food writing?

It all began when I first started sharing recipes online almost a decade ago. In the beginning, I called my food blog ‘Petite Kitchen’ named after the tiny art deco apartment we were living in at the time. It was a journal of sorts, inspired by our daughter Bella and my mission to heal her health issues naturally through whole foods and natural living. Fast forward to now, and you’ll still find me pottering around in the kitchen, a slightly larger space in our Piha home surrounded by native bush. I've since published 6 cookbooks, and enjoy sharing daily musings on food, wellness and joyful living.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

One of my favourite things to do is make myself a cup of tea, pop some music on, and spend a few hours browsing food blogs. I also own quite a large collection of beautiful cookbooks! My style of cooking is rooted in simplicity and seasonal ingredients, therefore spending time at the Farmers Market is also a wonderful way for me to draw inspiration and ideas of what to cook.

What does creating with your hands mean to you?

It means starting with raw, untouched ingredients, and using my hands to create colourful (and delicious) masterpieces! Spending time in the kitchen should not only be about the end result, but the small, gentle, joyous moments along the way. I believe there’s so much beauty to the rhythm of cooking. The gentle drum of a knife, slicing beetroot on an old wooden board, hot oil in the pan, sizzling and shimmering among fragrant herbs, onions and a little garlic. These are simple, beautiful moments, easily lost, but certainly not ordinary!

Share with us a bit about Piha Hideaways, how did this idea come to be?

When my family moved to Piha a few years ago, we felt absolutely captivated by this wild and beautiful seaside town. I've always fantasised about the idea of owning a tiny house, and so with Piha Hideaways, I was able to live out this dream through offering them as boutique holiday homes. We now have two tiny houses available to book, and I love being able to offer spaces for guests to reset, reflect, and feel inspired.

As women it’s no secret that we’re professional ‘jugglers’ with a knack for taking on a multitude of tasks and acing them! Balancing food writing with Piha Hideaways and the priority of being a full time mother, wife and friend, how have you learnt to stay on top of everything?

For me, it would be learning to say 'no’ and scheduling spare time throughout the week to enjoy the things that make me feel good. This looks like plenty of surfing (the joy of living next to the beach) and taking time to simply enjoy a cup of tea or read a good book. When I intentionally carve out time in my day for rituals such as these, everything else seems to flow automatically without too much thought. Moreover, when challenges are thrown my way, I’m in the right headspace to deal with or accept them, rather than slip into overwhelm!

Lastly, what words of wisdom do you follow in business and in life?

I love the saying “Do small things with great joy”. After all, our life is simply made up of many little moments, why not be intentional about them?

Photography by

Holly Burgess

As told to

Courtenay Lewis

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