“I had no idea I was developing a brand because we didn’t have any sort of grand plan, but I was learning all the time. This quest for knowledge has always been there. And I had this amazing public that would take on anything I did… I loved the feedback.”
Maggie Beer speaking to Unpaused founder Judy Stewart in Adelaide, February 2020
Maggie Beer is defined by many things, not least of which her culinary ambassadorship of the Barossa Valley. Rather than being defined by her age however, she is instead defined by her grit and longevity in an industry that churns through the gifted and talented more than most. While Maggie acknowledges her periods of burnout, she has come back to be bigger and more influential than ever before. I call it playing the long game. At 75, she is both wise and, even in lockdown, hard at work in her home kitchen in Nuriootpa, on IGTV . We are lucky to have her.
Maggie Beer is not just an Australian food icon, she’s an essential ingredient in any discussion about food and flavour.
In 1973, Maggie and her husband Colin, settled in the Barossa Valley, their intention being to simply breed and game birds. However, the Pheasant Farm and vineyard soon transformed into the renowned Pheasant Farm restaurant, which went on to become part of Australian food history, winning the Remy martin Cognac – Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year award in 1991.
In 1996, Maggie began developing her range of Maggie Beer Products, a food brand that is a staple in every Australian household. She is the author of 10 cookbooks, including Tuscan Cookbook, a book she wrote her friend Stephanie Alexander which has now been printed in seven languages.
In 2011, she was awarded the Senior Australia of the Year, and in 2012, appointed a member of the Order of Australia for ‘service to the tourism and hospitality industries as a cook, restaurateur and author, and to the promotion of Australian produce and cuisine’.
These awards inspired her to established the Maggie Beer Foundation in 2014, which aims to provide the pleasure of a good food life for all, regardless of age and health restrictions. With a board of industry leaders, professors and health advisors, Maggie has made it her personal mission to link the latest research of nutrition’s impact on brain health and general wellbeing, and her innate knowledge of what good food can do for everyone’s state of mind.
In her words, ‘We can improve health the health, happiness and quality of life of every older Australia, creating an appetite for life’.