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Australia Food Trends Over Three Decades: Cultures & Cuisines, Fresh Produce, Food Waste & More with Mark Normoyle


Australia Food Trends Over Three Decades with Iron Chef Mark Normoyle

Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications. Through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.

My podcast is dedicated to all the people, past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.

One of the things that I’m really excited to bring to our audience with the Wellness Warriors Podcast, is the opportunity to talk to a diverse group of people about so many different things that are associated with wellness. And today my special guest is chef Mark Normoyle. Welcome to the Wellness Warriors Podcast.

Mark Normoyle: Thank you Felicity. 

Felicity Cohen: So Mark, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, in your role as a chef and working with us here at WeightLoss Solutions Australia, designing food for bariatric patients, and really taking you away from what you would normally do in your everyday world as a chef, to get involved in what’s important with bariatric patients and that’s something I’d like to chat about later on in our conversation today.

So I guess, first of all, you know, you’ve had three decades of experience working in the industry that’s associated with all to do with chefs and food and, you know, 16 years as head chef at the RACV club in Melbourne, I’d really love to hear from you, first of all, a little bit about how you’ve seen food change over that whole period of time in Australia, it must be massive in terms of change.

Mark Normoyle: Yeah, very much so Felicity, I think in the last 30 years we’ve seen a lot of the consumer is more savvy than they’ve ever have been. So they want to know more about the produce they’re eating. They want to know where it’s coming from. They want to know what’s in season. They want to know how it’s made, how it’s prepared. And it seems to be a trend now, I think where people tend to want a less processed food, which is amazing. So in the past, when I first started cooking, there’s a lot of processed foods around and the average consumer didn’t know, they didn’t care about it, as long as it tasted great, that was good enough. 

And I think the latest trend in the last 10 years is definitely catering for vegetarian and vegan style cooking. So protein is really important. And we’ve always been big meat eaters in Australia, but now, portion sizes of meat are slightly reducing, which is great. But the rest of the plate is being put on with beautiful vegetables, beautiful lentils, beautiful rice and beautiful pasta and that sort of thing.

So I think that’s a bit of a trend and one thing, which I’m really pleased to see is just portion sizes getting smaller. Sharing meals is really, is, is a big trend now. So I think that’s great for people to have smaller portions as well, instead of having one big plate for themselves. So that’s a big change.

And I think, and also with our international flair we have in Australia with different cultures coming all the time,  so chefs are also learning about how to use some great ingredients from other countries as well. So flavours from Korea, which we never had years ago, flavors from Spain, which we didn’t have.

So we had a very Western style cuisine, but now we’re mixing and fusing all of these beautiful flavours from around the world. And a lot of the cuisines overseas don’t use processed foods. So it’s all about what’s in season, what’s fresh, how can you make a beautiful, fresh pasta which only takes like flour, eggs, and a little bit of oil. So it’s all that fresh food. And that’s what I think the trend is coming now, which is great.

Felicity Cohen: So before we talk about, you know, portion sizes reducing, which is actually fantastic, if that is the current trend, I’m so excited to hear that. But prior to that, there’s been a whole big, I think, culture around the up-sizing mentality that our plates were getting too big that we couldn’t even fit them in the dishwashers anymore. And that people were being valued by portion sizes increasing. Was that a demand on you as a chef that you had to actually, that the customer wanted something to be satisfied and to feel as though they had value for money that the portion had to be bigger? What did that look like?

Mark Normoyle: You hit the nail on the head that there was that perception of value for money, but I think as the customer gets more knowledge and as the customer learns about food as well, savvy customers these days, and even in the smaller retail outlets at the restaurants out in the suburbs, most consumers now would have rather have quality over quantity, which is great.

There’s still places there doing, you know, big plates with chips and all the rest on there, but most people now would rather spend their money on a really good quality, a smaller piece of fish or a smaller piece of steak and a beautiful salad than having, you know, a big plate of mashed potato and big plate of chips on there as well.

So I think the customers are just learning. Instagram is great because people see the different style of food on there so they can see what’s in between the trends. So, and a lot of the restaurants they’re actually driving this as well now, so, but it does come from the customers in the first place. So they’re the ones saying, you know, we want healthier style food. We still want to be able to eat out, but we don’t want a lot of fatty and a lot of salty food as well. So it’s actually making chefs get smarter with how they produce food as well.

Felicity Cohen: I love that that’s a trend. And if that’s where we’re heading and our portions of reducing, that’s really where we need to be from a health perspective, that we’re not over consuming, in general, you know, that portion, you know, I think that’s so important.

Tell me about what you’ve seen in terms of the fast food industry, because, you know, I went to, I think I was telling you when we were having dinner together, just recently that I went to a suburb in Brisbane where I felt like within a radius of 50 meters, there was every single fast food outlet.

Convenience has become a big issue. If you’re talking about, you know, husband and wife, both working, trying to sort of manage work life balance and fitting in, how does that work and fast food obviously has grown and grown and grown. Do you think that that industry, is that competing with, where are we sitting now with fast food and the fact that the drive-throughs are so easy and that convenience is easy.

You know, you can, and I think this is a big problem for me, is that not only can you drive through wherever you want to pick it up, but you can also dial up and have it delivered. What’s your view on that sector?

Mark Normoyle: That’s a really good point, Felicity. And I suppose if you think about the fast food, the fast food side of, we had a lot of places like McDonald’s now, they are getting smarter and smarter all the time. So they didn’t had water at McDonald’s years ago, but they do now. They do have to put the calories on the meals. So at least they’re trying, I don’t know if they’re forced by what the consumer is saying as well or standards have to follow but the up-sizing thing is definitely an issue. And we follow trends, as we know from the America and things are getting bigger and bigger and cups. And, and one thing, a trend which young people are doing a lot now is energy drinks. So, it’s good to see young kids drinking water. We see a lot of kids drinking these energy drinks, which are full of sugars, full of salt, and actually drinking them, not as like to get energy, but it’s actually a drinking as a normal drink. So that’s, to me that’s a real issue. But the fast food thing, they, I think one thing we do have now in Australia, which we wouldn’t have had 20 years ago was every corner has a sushi shop now.

So sushi is a great quick snack. So there are options there and there are places doing beautiful fresh salads, so there’s options there, but then again, like you said, every second corner has got a fast food place on there. It’s cheap, which is an issue as well, but then having said that to produce a quick snack meal for yourself or quick cheap dinner for yourself can be very quick and very cheap. Something as simple as a piece of grilled salmon with a beautiful fresh salad, it’s going to cost you nothing to make, it’s going to take you 15 minutes, no cleaning, no mess and it’s ready.

You know, so it’s just about people actually learning about food and just getting a few techniques, getting a few skills and some people are actually scared of cooking. You know, “I think it’s hard and I don’t want to cook the fish if I ever cook it.” It’s only food. Just try it. Yeah. And so I think there’s options there for people if they want to eat healthy  and fast food can do, you can do fast food yourself at home and still make a lot better than fast food that’s available and still do it relatively quick.

Felicity Cohen: Oh, I totally agree. And you kind of triggered for me a memory, something that one of our dietitians has talked about was a patient who, he was an insulin dependent, diabetic, who has never even turned his oven on, in his home until he’d had his surgery, so that learning to cook thing, it can be quite daunting for people who haven’t had that exposure and that’s where for us involving you and engaging you in what we’re doing with patients, I think is so valuable, you know, learning those basic skills and getting people motivated to cook more, and healthier food, you know, as well.

So let’s just talk a little bit about the landscape of fresh produce in Australia. I personally believe it’s really important to try and support our local farmers, to buy Australian. What’s happening out there in the world of, you know, farming and technology and fresh produce in Australia, what does that look like right now?

Mark Normoyle: Good. I suppose if you look at the.. you see a lot more organic food around now, which is fantastic. And when it first come on the market, it was overpriced. And it was almost ripping off the market. It was almost like when the gluten free products started coming in the market, they were very expensive, and weren’t such good quality.

But I think now as the competition grows, we’re seeing a lot more beautiful, fresh, organic vegetables around. But we’re actually quite lucky in Australia. We have amazing systems, we have made some amazing farms, we have amazing water, we have amazing cattle and all amazing produce.

So actually, if you go to the supermarket anywhere in the world and you, you see, in a lot of Asian countries, you see Australian fruit and vegetables, so the stuff we’re getting here is already good. One thing we asked for in Australia within what we don’t do, that a lot of countries like Greece and Italy, is we don’t eat seasonally with our vegetables.

So we’re used to eating strawberries all year round. We’re used to eating tomatoes all year round, whereas in the Mediterranean countries, you’ve beautiful tomatoes when they’re in season. We, we do, I mean like asparagus now, you see it in the supermarkets all year round, but really it’s a summer vegetable such as coming in season now.

But one thing which I think is a positive is that the supermarket are actually getting smarter now. And the quality of the produce in supermarkets is raising all the time. And a good thing, I believe for somebody who start to learn about food, learn about cooking is to spend a lot of time in your supermarket.

Just walk around. And you’ll actually see the areas where they have the seasonal produce. So at the moment, during summer you’ve got beautiful stone fruits in season. So when I was a kid wouldn’t have had fresh stone fruits, it was always tinned peaches. You know you can get a beautiful, fresh stone fruit, simply grill it, put a little bit of ricotta on top and a little bit of prosciutto or something, amazing little entree, also a little snack.

Felicity Cohen: Oh you’re making me hungry. That sounds so good. Is it important to buy organic? Have we got, do we really understand what does organic mean and why is it important?

Mark Normoyle: Look, I think now that the way things are regulated in Australia, we have an amazing system in Australia where the food that we on the table, it’s safely from A to B it’s, it’s very regulated.

So it’s getting tougher and tougher for people to use excess chemicals and all that sort of thing. So, I think it’s great to eat organic when you can and it’s also great to support other farmers as well. And you’re safe to eat any food in Australia. That’s one thing you guaranteed about, that it’s real food, it’s not fake. So same with the seafood industries as well, everything is highly regulated. So we’re safe. We’ve got some of the best food produce and more in the world. So organic is great if you can do it but it comes at an extra cost as well. My focus is just to try and use the simple produce that’s in season and it’s, A it’s cheapest and it’s, B it’s also its best quality when it’s in season as well.

Felicity Cohen: So it’s still safe to go out and purchase fresh, healthy produce. Don’t necessarily worry about is it organic or not? And we’re still doing the best that we possibly can for our body.

Mark Normoyle: Hundred percent, hundred percent. And it’s all in moderation as well. So I think that the organic is great if you can do it, but still just eat fresh. That’s that’s good enough .

Felicity Cohen: Oh, that word just resonates with me, moderation and it’s I think, you know, when we’re talking about food, everything in moderation is how I grew up. You know, that there’s no such thing as bad foods. There’s only bad eating habits.

You know, we know how hard it is to break a habit, change a habit, and to make those healthier lifestyle decisions. But if we think about, food as everything in moderation, that that’s probably a healthy approach. And for me, that’s probably part of my wellness, I guess, attitude or approach. When, when you hear the word wellness relating to food, what are some of the things that come to mind for you?

Mark Normoyle: Look, I just think it’s having a good balance as well and feeling good about the food you eat. So, I think if I eat too much, you know, unhealthy food, I feel bad. I feel guilty and I just don’t feel right. But when I eat some nice, fresh, beautiful food and something I’ve made myself, makes me feel even better as well.

So I think the wellness part of it now is just about eating smaller portions, about eating more regularly throughout the day and it’s just makes you feel good. I think that’s important part about it.

Felicity Cohen: It’s about fueling your body.

Mark Normoyle: Very much so. Yeah.

Felicity Cohen: So, let’s talk about your journey as a chef, which is just amazing.

It spanned three decades of some incredible experiences, you know, runner up as Australian Chef of the Year in 2016, plus a whole host of accolades that go hand in hand with, you know, a long and dedicated, passionate career. Tell us a little bit about, you know, some of the changes in cuisine orientation.

So, you know, we’ve been through, you know, phases of Nouvelle cuisine, when that happened. Talk us through some of those changes that you’ve seen in your career as a chef.

Mark Normoyle: It was actually quite funny. So you mentioned the Nouvelle cuisine. So that was all about having a big plate, the size of this table with all the little dots of food over it, you know, and you sort of eat your dinner and you think, “Wow, what do I get, what about I eat?” You know? And it was all different colors and you didn’t know if you were eating a piece of fish or, you know, a piece of broccoli or whatever it was. But there’s definitely a trend now where that chefs are trying to use the most simplest produce available. Because it’s an interesting thing about it is they do it because it’s cheaper for them as well. So it’s not just about, it’s great looking after the customer and giving them some good, fresh, simple produce, but it’s actually cheaper for the chef to produce as well. At the end of the day, they’re running a business so they can actually make more money on it. And same when you’re cooking at home, if you can use the beautiful in-season stuff, then it’s good and it’s fresher as well. And it’s, it’s cheaper for the use. So I think chefs are getting smarter all the time. They’re learning to use different proteins and different starches. They know about the carbs now, as they’re trying to balance their meals better. I think they’re just getting smarter all the time and learning more about the, what the consumer wants and the chefs actually too, do drive trends as well.

So it’s a funny thing. It’s about, you know, getting what the customer wants, but it’s also training your customer of what they want as well. So when we first started cooking, the chefs in Australia taught traditional French cuisine. That’s what you get trained in school, and that’s all about butter, salt, cream, all these heavy things. Every sauce had flour and every sauce had butter in it. But now, like that’s almost changed, we’re mixing all these beautiful Asian spices and flavours, and you don’t necessarily have to have to be gravy with everything and not necessarily have to have mashed potato with it.

You can have some beautiful grain salad or we can have some beautiful lentils or whatever you want to have with the dish. So chefs are just learning all the time and it’s an ever evolving things that we’re getting, the good thing about Australia is maybe a lot of people don’t realise that we are actually seen from around the world as a, as a food hub, as a foodie, foodie country. So people actually do look to us what we’re doing as well, so while we always learn and get trends from other countries and bring the flavours from Thailand and flavours from Korea and flavours from Japan to Australia, people do look to Australia for how we’re eating and what we’re cooking and what we’re serving.

Felicity Cohen: So do you think we are evolving that national kind of cuisine? I mean, I know, you know, Australia’s always being looked at as, you know, we eat meat pies and, and drink beer, you know, from the, the culinary vision, from the external viewpoint, from the outside world. That’s what, that, that was what we ate or that we were driven by more of those English kind of, you know, thoughts around what food look like.

So obviously, you know, the introduction of the multicultural landscapes changed how we eat. Are we evolving an Australian kind of signature cuisine?

Mark Normoyle: Look, no. It’s very difficult because people do say to me when I travel overseas, “Are you from Australia? What’s what is Australian cuisine? What’s what are your flavour? What do you cook?” And I say, well, a bit of, bit of Italian, a bit of Japanese, a bit of, bit of Thai, a bit of everything. So that traditional meat and fruit, veges that, which I grew up with as a kid and the repertoire my father had when he was cooking was two things: a soup or sausages and mashed potatoes on peas.

And that was all it was, you know? So that’s gone. That’s long gone now, I think. So and as we get the new waves of immigration, so with the Vietnamese coming during the seventies where they brought some of their stuff, and obviously before that were the Europeans, and now we’ve got some African, well African influence in Australia, so North African cuisines coming, so you do some beautiful spices and flavours and rubs and those countries, they they’re all about just simple produce. There’s no fancy ingredients. That’s all about basic produce, cooked well, and served.

Felicity Cohen: Excellent.

Another subject that I’m really fascinated about at the moment, and it’s quite topical is the discussion around food waste.

And, you know, there’s so many different aspects that we can talk about when it comes to food waste. But if we can just start with, what does that look like in the, in the restaurant industry? And in the restaurant industry, what is actually being done through hospitality venues to actually minimize food waste? What does that actually look like?

Mark Normoyle: Yeah, look, food waste and organic recycling is really a big, big, big ticket item at the moment. So most of the companies it’s, it’s definitely a big agenda item where before it was taken as a bit of a, “Yeah, we want to try and do something green but we don’t know what it is”, but now there’s pressure getting put on big companies to actually do their fair share.

So Australia is quite behind in a lot of other countries around the world. if you even go to a country like Korea, you cannot even put in your home rubbish bin any organic waste. You’ve got to manage it inside your home, which is amazing, isn’t it?

Felicity Cohen: Amazing. What did they do there?

Mark Normoyle: Well, basically they’ve got some, a little like a combustion unit inside the kitchen, which just dehydrates it and it goes in the garden. That’s crazy, you know, and we don’t hear about that in Australia. We do have some technology now, which, which is, the biggest thing, the problem with organic food waste in Australia, there’s more than one problem. The big problem is, A it’s a big waste. And let’s just say, I’m reading a report recently that third of the whole food produced in the world gets wasted. Can you believe it? One third? It’s amazing. And that was from the United Nations. That was a really interesting report.

So in, in the kitchen as well, food is money. So we’re trying to do as much as we can to reduce the waste, but there are, there will always be waste. And we actually did a waste store at the place I was working at, and ascertain that a big hotel produces between three to 500 kilos of organic waste a day.

Which is amazing. That’s almost half a ton and that’s table scraps, food leftover from the buffet, overproduction because once a food has been served on, on to the public, you can’t re-serve it because you don’t know what’s happened to it. So what would happened previously was that would go into a skip bin, and then it would go in a truck. So that’s creating, you know, road miles, miles with the truck and it’d gone to landfill and it creates greenhouse emissions.

Everything just like bad, bad, bad, all ticks for the bad for the environment. So had to be a solution there. So what some companies are doing now is they actually having onsite compost units. So these units will have a hundred kilos of organic waste, and in 24 hours, it’ll turn it into, 15 kilos of, mulch.
Which can be taken up a farm, a golf course, which is a great thing. But in, if you have a bin in the city where are you going to all these sort of stuff? So the solution, which a lot of place using now is something called an ORC unit, which actually is a big machine, like a washing machine. And you put all your food scraps in there.

Everything goes in there like coffee grinds, bones, vegetables, cakes, and anything. And it basically turns it into spins, sprays enzyme in it, and turns it into water. And it goes down the drain. So it just turns it into, into water, go straight to the drain. And it’s actually been tested this, make sure that it’s actually not putting any pollutants in the drain. So that basically just eliminates trucks on the road, greenhouse emissions. That’s the amazing thing.

Felicity Cohen: That’s just awesome. I think that’s fantastic. And I hope one day that we do adopt some of those systems that are being used in Korea like that.

Mark Normoyle: Ah, look, it’s amazing. And as I say, the Australia is not, we’re not even in the top 20 in the world for sustainability. So I think France is number one. France have actually implemented a law now where guys like the big supermarkets, they must give their leftover stock to these charity organizations who will use that for, making food for the homeless. They must, there’s no, like, that’s a good thing, we want to do it. It’s law. And I think Canada is closely behind them as well.

Felicity Cohen: We really need to follow that trend. And, you know, I’ve seen even in organizations who do support the homeless and have feeding them on the street, that they’re dependent on a small number of, you know, restaurants or outlets who donate to them, but it’s so often high carb, high fat, you know, high salt and sugar, whatever it’s poor quality. Yet if we had a system where we could get our supermarkets and other chain stores behind a solution, then we’re also going to be, you know, not only, doing the right thing in terms of food waste, but offering to create healthier options for those people.

Mark Normoyle: Very much so. And like, so it’s it’s happening, but I just think we are way behind, like Australia, we’re quite a progressive country and we think we’re, you know, we’re quite ahead in a lot of things, but a lot of things we’re quite behind. So it’s only when you do a bit of traveling and do a research that you can actually say, and see if you can actually jump on the internet. And we’re lucky now with the internet, we can learn whatever you want about any subject. And that’s how we get better.

Felicity Cohen: Is that a subject that’s passionate for you that you’d like to sort of see some outcomes from, in Australia for the rest of your career?

Mark Normoyle: Very much so. So I, I like training young chefs, but not only about cooking, just about life in general, you know, and that those young kids they’re gonna have kids one day and I’ve got kids and, you know, we’re, we’re custodians of, of this place and it’s up to us to try and improve a little bit and try and make it better for, for the next generation.

Felicity Cohen: Totally agree with you. So in the work that you’ve done here with us at WeightLoss Solutions Australia, it’s been a relationship that, you know, we absolutely love and have had a couple of years now of working together where you’ve created recipes for a bariatric patient population and something quite different from the work that you’ve done previously.

But we’re talking about teaching adults, first of all, how to create nutritious, tasty food. We’re focusing on portion size, but also giving back this whole focus on food still being pivotal and for a bariatric patient before surgery, you know, food has become a big problem. And what we want to teach our patients is that food needs to be fun. It needs to be delicious, nutritious, and also still become a big part of life and take away the fear of what food looks like. And, so you’ve been really instrumental in helping us create that opportunity for patients to learn. How, I guess, first of all, how have you enjoyed the experience of working with this demographic?

Mark Normoyle: It’s been amazing Felicity and the whole team’s great, from yourself and all your team here, but also patients, it’s just been great. Everybody wants to have fun. For me, the biggest part about cooking is you have to have fun. It’s simple as that, the rest will come after that. So, my goal is to try and get people to enjoy what they’re doing and learn some skills and show them that at the end of the day it’s just food.

You know what I mean? Just try it. You don’t need a lot of massive ingredients to make something nice. Two, three, four, five ingredients done well. And just try and teach them the basics, what chefs learned, how to maximize the most flavour out of certain ingredients. So, the class we did on Saturday, I need to just use, probably about a teaspoon of salt and it was just to give the salmon, a tiny little bit of seasoning, all the rest of the flavour come from the natural ingredients.

The beautiful peas we used, the beautiful lentils we used, amazing low fat ricotta dressing with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Just great flavor. I think all the dishes had four or five, maybe six ingredients. Simple to make as well. So that’s what I’ve been trying to show the guys is just have a go with it and show them how to cook a really, a piece of salmon, which some people can get scared to cook a piece of salmon.

And they think you’ve got to cook it really well, but just to cook it really lightly and then let it rest. Yeah, so I’m just trying to give them my skills, simple things and sharing a bit of fun, funky techniques as well, where we torched the avocado, which is something the guys can, you know, have fun and do with it with a dinner party at home, or show them a beautiful carrot soup, which they could put in a glass, and put a bit of almond yogurt on top and have a little funky cocktail party at home for their friends. Show off about the lovely, fresh food that they can make.

Felicity Cohen: Well, you definitely did the whole big, you know, exposing the whole big rainbow, the carrot soup, the lentils, the avocado, the peas, the salmon, you know, all of those colorful things that are so important in a healthy approach to good food and good nutrition in your diet. Yeah. So, so important. Yeah. So we’re excited to see that relationship grow over time and to get you back again in the kitchen, cooking for our patient population in the future. Cause it’s, so it is so much fun and I totally agree. It’s the fun factor is, is critical. So tell us a little bit about what, what’s coming up for Mark Normoyle, what do you see as your future direction for you as a chef?

Mark Normoyle: Well, I’m lucky now, suppose I’m at the stage of my career, I get to work with the people that I want to work with, which is great.

So I’m having fun, doing some, some freelancing and doing some traveling. So I’m currently an ambassador for Wagyu beef, a region in Japan. So it’s an exciting time for Wagyu beef and we’ve had Wagyu beef in Australia but previously it’s Australian bred Wagyu beef, which has the genes from the Japanese beef, but now we can actually import the fully bred, Japanese Wagyu beef, which is an amazing product.

So I’m doing a bit of work with them, Wagyu farming has got a great history in Japan. So it’s a style of farming where they feed the cattle that specific diet and they look after it like a little child, and it’s got beautiful marbling in it. So, but that’s a sort of a thing where we’re used to have a big steak in Australia, but in Japan they eat maybe 60 or 70 grams of beef.

That’s probably why they’re all so slim and have great diets over there. So I’m working some in Japan, I’ve done some stuff around Australia as well. I’m currently the national executive chef for big dairy company, so that’s exalting as well. So once again, I’m working there, they want me to use their dairy product, how can we make fresh, healthy, nutritious food cause dairy gets a bit of a bad run sometimes. But the good thing about butter, which I’m happy to say now is the trend has come back to using fresh butter a lot, which is great. So margarine had a big space there during the eighties and now it’s almost gone. So butter is a beautiful product and in moderation again. Great thing to use. So I’m just having fun cooking, enjoying my life.

Felicity Cohen: Moderation again, it’s the critical word. Okay. So the name of this podcast is Wellness Warriors. Tell us a little bit about your view on wellness as a whole and what does that look like for you, for your family? How would you describe the values of wellness for you?

Mark Normoyle: Look, I suppose physical and mental as well is, is really important. So I’ve worked in the industry, which, you know, it’s a lot of stress as well. So, for me to me, wellness is just about being content in what we do in life in general, get into a stage where each enjoy life.

It’s the most important thing. And by having a decent diet, by looking after yourself, keep being motivated, hanging around with the right sort of people and interacting with, you know, all my friends and colleagues and family, to me, that’s, that’s wellness. It’s a big, big picture. So, and obviously food is a big part of that. We like to eat out a lot in Australia. That’s one thing I do like about the Europeans where they eat together. So to me, that’s where there’ll be happy family. So that’s what it’s all about for me.

Felicity Cohen: And that’s something that I really take away as well when we’re doing these cooking classes for our patients, that it’s, re-establishing that core value of eating around a dining table as a family.
To me, that was part of my childhood. And I’m just trying to get people back into that whole concept of sitting around a table without the technology with no television, with no phones. You know, it was a big part of my childhood that I’ve also made part of my own family life. And even now with children in their twenties, it’s still something that’s so, so important to me. And if we can kind of, I guess, impart that and make that more approachable, realistic, and easy to handle for patients to where life kind of has, the overwhelm sometimes gets in the way. Coming back to core values..

Mark Normoyle: Everyone’s got a busy life now, so we’re busy and we’ve, you know, we’ve got targets and we’ll do this and we’ve got to do that.

We just forget to, just to chill and just to, just to relax and take time to have a chat to your kids, have a chat to your partner. Just that share a simple meal together. Once again, it doesn’t have to take you four hours to make it on a Saturday afternoon. It could take 20 minutes. And it’s actually fun. If you look at it as actually fun, going to the supermarket and looking for some fun, new produce that you may never have cooked before, just Google it. How do I cook a courgette? How do I cook a zucchini flower? That sort of thing. It’s actually quite fun, you know?

Felicity Cohen: Absolutely.

Mark Normoyle: Yeah.

Felicity Cohen: Well, I’ve absolutely loved having you involved with the food journey for WeightLoss Solutions Australia and for our patient population. I think it’s just fantastic. And I’m really, really looking forward to the next phase.

And next year it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on our Wellness Warriors Podcast. And thank you so much for joining me today, Mark.

Mark Normoyle: It’s been an absolute pleasure as well. So it’s been a joy. Thank you.

Felicity Cohen: You’re welcome.

Thank you for joining the Wellness Warriors Podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you enjoyed the series, please leave your review, subscribe and follow, and we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

Nutritionist & Dietitian

Meet our team


Chealse Hawk

Nutrion Leader Coach

Isabelle Cole

Nutrion Coach

Joshua Chambers

Nutrion Coach

Laura Barrett

Nutrion Leader Coach