Here at KCNQ2 Cure, especially during COVID-19, we find ourselves thinking a lot about food. Searching for new recipes. Recently, I caught up with a friend Down Under who has been doing the same thing. A cook herself, she wrote a magazine about it. Here is my interview….
Australian Pete Heine tells me she always knew she wanted to be a cook. “My first cookbook was The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook. I’ve still got it.” Pete says she created The Fibre Bible after reading numerous articles which suggest fiber’s benefits for gut health.
“I wanted to make it easy and delicious to eat more fiber. Not getting tangled up in labels and numbers and percentages. Diet should not be about restrictions, guilt, or deprivation, but about choosing what makes you feel good, inside and out. What brings you pleasure as well as sustenance.”
Early in her career, Pete worked in hospitality. The job saw her hopscotch across Australia and to the US and the UK. But after the birth of her two daughters, she craved more routine hours. When Pete saw an ad in a local newspaper about a pilot program teaching children how to grow, cook, and share food, “I knew it was the perfect job for me.”
That program was the brainchild of Australian chef and restauranteur Stephanie Alexander, author of the Australian classic, The Cook’s Companion. Pete says there was an American connection. “Stephanie told me part of her inspiration was a visit to the ‘Edible Schoolyard’ of legendary American cook and restauranteur Alice Waters at Martin Luther King Junior Middle School in Berkeley, California, back in the 1990s.”
The Fibre Bible is the Australian cook’s latest foray into the cookbook realm. Pete co-authored We Love Food with friend Kirsty Manning, an Australian novelist who is also an accomplished cook, in 2010. “Eating very, very well on an everyday basis will bring you vitality.”
Pete says while she has always loved good food, her interest in the nutritional significance of what we eat intensified when her mother developed a rare and deadly lymphoma. “Chemo made her very sick. She said my food kept her going. We would sit together every night, her and I and the girls. She went through a phase of loving beautiful chicken broth with lots of spinach pureed in it, and a hint of lemon, because it was so hard for her to eat due to her mouth ulcers.” Sadly, Pete’s mother passed away from cancer in 2010.
Pete says she offered a free subscription to The Fibre Bible to KCNQ2 Cure for two reasons. “I believe in sharing good food with children and families, and I believe in the power of community.”
For Pete, supporting community is also a family affair. Pete’s sister Kate Heine is founder and managing director of Heads Together for ABI, an Aussie organization that assists those who have suffered an acquired brain injury. Pete serves as a volunteer coach with the Heads Together Ability Group for young adults with ABI’s. Pete, Kate, and their brother Marc Heine are trustees of a private ancillary fund called Kids and Families Foundation which supports grass-roots programs that benefit the health and education of kids and families. In her spare time, Pete volunteers with ‘Chop and Chat’ through Youth Junction, a program for young adults in Australia’s justice system.
If there is a constant at the center of it all, it is food. When I asked Pete to name the most important ingredient in her recipes, she smiled. “That’s simple. The most important ingredient is love.”