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Healthy Living - Rose Ashby


Born in London and raised in South Africa, Rose trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine. The opportunity soon arose to join Michelin-starred restaurant Petersham Nurseries where she thrived under the tutorage of Skye Gyngell and, later, Greg Malouf. In 2014, after working on her own projects, Rose teamed up with Skye once more, and helped open Spring at Somerset House. Starting as senior chef de partie, within two years she became Head Chef and now runs the 25-strong team. With Rose’s help, Spring has become one of the first London restaurants leading the way in the zero food waste movement and has been operating without single-use plastic for two years and counting.

What are you doing to stay positive in this current climate?

Although there have been so many negatives effects of Covid19 around the globe, I have been able to see some rays of light shining through. I am taking huge comfort and happiness from the fact that the earth is being given some much needed 'self-repair' time. The fish are thriving, air pollution has reduced, the ozone layer can heal, the corals can grow and the earth is quiet. Given the circumstances, it is a strange feeling of relief that I never thought I would feel in my lifetime. There has been a profound human impact as well. Communities have reached out to those in need again, the elderly, the vulnerable, the lonely. People are talking in the streets, over balconies, and showing gratitude to those keeping the world moving. We’ve all become less focused on ourselves I think
In my day to day life I am keeping my body healthy by eating well and exercising daily. After a few days of time flying by incredibly quickly and the hours almost vanishing in to thin air,  I decided to make daily to-do lists in an effort to feel a sense of achievement by the time I go to sleep.

Is there a book you’ve read, or journal article that you find uplifting?

I recently read ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney, which was such a wonderful book. I couldn’t wait to get home and read it, I felt like I had made some new friends who I loved and cared about, it was heart warming and sad in equal measure.

Are you working from home, if so do you have any advice to stay focused?

At Spring, we’ve been able to move quickly and create a fresh produce box for home delivery, which has involved quite a lot of organising and working with the team remotely.  I work from home two days a week and then I go in to the restaurant three days a week to cook and pack the boxes. It is a real novelty for a chef to be able to work from home, something I never thought I would need to do, so I am really enjoying myself! I need to make sure my phone is on silent and I have a clear list of tasks otherwise I can get distracted…the prospect of a snack is always quite tantalising as well.

What is your working from home attire?

I think given the circumstances we’re in, we can all be forgiven for having 'comfort at all times' as a main priority. I have a variety of super comfy tracksuit bottoms and I get incredible amounts of joy by accessorising this new found comfy look with some delightful food-related socks. Today is watermelons. I ride in to work on a Vespa so jeans are a must, and then I have my usual chef whites in the kitchen, but I am counting down the seconds until I get home and can whip my faithful trackie bums back on.

Meditation/exercise tips?

I have signed up to Centr, which is Chris Hemsworth’s fitness platform. Of course, I was lured in by the prospect of being taught to exercise by the beautiful man himself, however I soon discovered he sadly doesn’t coach any!  That said, it is a completely brilliant  website and I am totally hooked. I have been doing a couple of MMA classes every day at home and absolutely love it. The exercises are really interesting with lots of movements I didn’t know existed and most importantly, not full of burpees and high knees which I find incredibly dull.
I have a pretty good bed time regime that really helps me unwind after a busy day, chef’s tend to have their busiest times during evening service a few hours before bed so it was really important for me to find a way to relax . It’s quite extensive but it works for me; I use two sprays of my biocol labs ‘something for dreaming’ mouth spray, I put on my Muji diffuser with lavender oil, and I spray my pillow with Ren's ‘& now to sleep' pillow spray.  I also try to do at least 10 minute night time meditation using the Calm app. It’s a ritual that I absolutely love and try to do  do every night.

Any recipes perfect for self-isolation?

I think it is quite hard to follow recipes whilst in isolation because more often than not you need to go to the shop to buy every ingredient. As I’m sure we’ve all experienced, food shopping has become quite difficult, and it’s more a case of what can I get, rather than what do I need. I always make sure I have the basics in my cupboard like pasta, a tin of beans, tinned tomatoes, anchovies (of course) and a few veggies like broccoli, garlic and onions. It’s amazing what you can make with some simple ingredients, you’ve just got to get creative!

Follow Rose on her Instagram here: @roseashbycooks

Healthy Living