Our most trusted NZ foodie Alison Holst is not only damn fine in the kitchen, she is now a Dame to match!

Even though she is about to release her 100th cook book, it is hardly surprising that Alison Holst says you still can’t beat a simple bowl of summer strawberries and cream.

The best selling author, columnist and television and radio host has just been made Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the food industry, nearly 50 years after she first beamed into New Zealanders’ homes as presenter for television show Here’s How.

She has always maintained that food does not need to be complicated to be good, and said that’s why every other New Zealand household probably contains at least one of her books.

“My work is everyday work. What I like to think is that I’ve helped people to cook recipes that are not complicated, don’t use 10 ingredients, don’t take too long to cook and that everybody in the family will enjoy.”

She is also being acknowledged for her charity work, having raised over $4 million for schools, churches, Plunkets, kindergartens and playcentres, mostly through cooking demonstrations which have drawn crowds of up to 700 people.

Dame Alison, 72, said she has enjoyed moving with the changing trends in cooking, particularly the new and interesting machines that have emerged over the years — she even wrote a book about microwave cooking when they first came out.

But she is concerned about the prominence of processed, high-fat foods, and encourages parents to cook healthy, reasonably priced family meals. “I feel that it’s important to start from scratch, not just to go and buy something ready-made and heat it up, because it costs more and it doesn’t taste as good as if you’ve made it yourself from fresh food.”

She has also teamed up with her son Simon (pictured with Mum Alison) to write several books. He is also an acclaimed NZ cook.

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