‘Fail to prepare and you should prepare to fail’

Natasha Corrett
Natasha Corrett

If you should ever have any doubts over the power of prep, speak to green-eating guru - and Honestly Healthy founder - Natasha Corrett.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” she muses proudly. “It’s as simple as that. And I have the famous [Benjamin Franklin] quote at the front of my cookbook so its the first thing you see.”

Discussing her latest title, Honestly Healthy In A Hurry, the 33-year-old explains: “I wanted to create something that was method [based]. Working in kitchens, I realised that we do everything mise en place, so we prep and cook it all [in advance], and just pull the dish together at the last minute.”

Extending the same approach to our day-to-day lives - putting in some prep and planning early - will help keep us on track with our healthy cooking, she says.

“I know if I get home from work and I’m tired, I am going to order a takeaway. I’m exactly the same as everyone else, so unless I have that food in my fridge, I’m not going to do it.

“Just put your favourite programme on and dance around your kitchen!” she adds. She may say she’s the ‘same as everyone else’, but this London-born foodie certainly has one thing that many of us claim to lack - and that’s bundles of energy.

Meeting Corrett at her book launch-come-cooking class, the vegetarian chef - complete with enviable glossy hair and clear skin, despite insisting she’s knackered from a late night of promotional duties - certainly practices what she preaches. And today, her sermon is prep, prep, prep.

“Your freezer is your best friend,” she begins. “So if every two weeks you can make up a batch of stew or a curry - something with a lot of sauce, and freeze it in single-portion freezer bags, they can be heated up from frozen with no fuss.”

It’s how she and her husband, gym owner Simon Bateman, live - and with a bit of practice, she promises that all of us busy folk “won’t want to do it any other way”.

But while she’s mindful of what she puts in her body now, Corrett admits it took a trip to an Ayurvedic doctor to change her former yo-yo dieting ways, and ultimately inspire her 2013 overnight hit cookbook, Honestly Healthy: Eat With Your Body In Mind, The Alkaline Way.

“He told me I was really acidic and I needed to eat more alkaline foods,” she says, bundling her brunette locks on top of her head. “He told me to go on this 21-day [plan] and promised it would change my life. He gave me this muffin that was like cardboard, and I thought, ‘If I am allowed to have that, then I can create a healthier alternative where I feel like I’m not missing out and I don’t have to binge’. So that was the turning point for me; if I fancied a pizza, rather than feeling guilty, I’d find another way to make it.”

And that’s where the self-trained chef - daughter of restaurateur Graham Corrett and interior design mogul Kelly Hoppen - made her name.

Encouraging consumers to “cook smart” with no wastage, her latest mantra is designed to inspire readers to cook in three different ways: Quick - straightforward recipes that take less than 30 minutes; Quick Quick Slow - recipes that are quick to bring together but take a little longer in the oven; and Cook Once Eat Twice - recipes that take advantage of the food you’ve prepared in advance. All with tips, charts and check-lists aplenty.

Quite literally steering the revolution, this summer she’s also been touring summer festivals in a tuk-tuk decked out with juice blenders and smoothie makers.

“The idea is to hopefully franchise them out, and make them into a little business where we can go round to big offices and serve a healthy lunch,” she says, smiling. “We want to move [Honestly Healthy] around”.

Can’t wait for the Tuk-Tuk takeover? Here are three recipes from Corrett’s latest book to try now...