Sarah Todd On Health, Wellness And The Juggling Act Of Motherhood

As so often happens with each season of Master Chef, Australia fell in love with a new batch of contestants, all from different backgrounds with varying levels of expertise. In the kitchen, it was a whirlwind, with challenges demanding everything from the contestants vying for the title. Admittedly though, it was all anyone could do but not take their eyes off Sarah Todd. Seven years might have elapsed since she first appeared on Season 6 of the hit culinary show, but in that time Sarah has cemented her place as one of the most renowned names in the food scene. She’s cooked alongside some of the world’s most renowned chefs and even opened up successful restaurants of her own, each championing her love of the bold flavours inherent to India, with a modern spin. 

While Sarah has continued to impress with her culinary dishes, it’s her story that resonates with most. Yes, her dishes are enough to make us swoon, but that she can balance the high-paced, energetic demands of the food industry with motherhood is a testament to her patience, determination and drive. With her new cookbook, My Indian Kitchen being launched this month, the connection between food, wellness and the experiences it affords has never been more apparent. If ever there was someone who was living proof that food brings people of all different cultures together, it’s Sarah. Taking her passion for food one step further, she’ll also serve as co-host of Farm to Fork, which aims to help all Australians eat and live well, inspiring families to not only cook at home but to also understand more about the produce they’re using. 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we caught up with Sarah to hear how the famed chef navigated the trials of lockdown as a mother and businesswoman. Every month, Sarah will share her thoughts on health, wellness and female empowerment and, naturally, some delightfully delicious recipes, too. Today, she talks us through the juggling act that is motherhood.

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I often laugh to myself about the situations that arise as a working Mum. I am on the phone to a very important producer and my son quietly slips a piece of paper in front of me, “Mum what is your favourite animal?” He believes his question is just as important as my call. It is a juggling act, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The key is to prioritise the time to be truly present with my son.

My schedule has been so hectic over the last six years and I realised that I never found the time to celebrate my successes. I was always moving from one project to another. The events of 2020 forced me to slow down and reflect. It is important to acknowledge the wins because it is these moments that give us the strength to persevere.

Throughout my life I found communicating on an emotional and personal level very difficult. I kept my struggles to myself and was reluctant to ask for help. On the flip side, I shied away from praise. I developed this self-assured persona in the public eye but inside it was a different story.

Over time, I have learnt to be honest about my struggles and am now willing to talk about them. I have been overwhelmed by the response and, in turn, I believe I have become a better listener. 

Sometimes you don’t need answers; you just need someone to hear you.

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As time has become more precious and often pressure is high, it is important to have the right people around us professionally and personally. Remember not everyone has your best interests at heart. It has certainly taken time to learn to listen to my intuition and find my circle of support.

For me, the number one rule in juggling motherhood and business is communicating with my son. Sometimes it is essential that we find a compromise, so I find that if I explain the situation to him, we can work together to find a solution. It is important that if I say ‘no’ there is a valid reason behind it.

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Today is International Women’s Day and it is also my son Phoenix’s 10th Birthday. This could not be more fitting as the symbolic meaning of the name Phoenix is renewal; the firebird rising from the ashes to become more powerful. I believe throughout our lifetime we will continue to rebirth and grow. I am excited about this new chapter writing for my favourite magazine, Australian Women’s Health. Over the coming months I hope to inspire you to be more resilient and help you to rise to the challenges in your life. We will cover food, lifestyle, finding balance in fitness and of course, being a working mother. Remember, don’t be afraid to fail because it is in these failures that we learn the most valuable lessons.

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