Chef Endorsed: Carter Were

By Activist
April 10, 2024

Chef Endorsed: Carter Were

An interview with Carter Were

Carter Were is a full time mother and part time cook. Originally from Aotearoa New Zealand, she now lives near Byron Bay, Australia with her three children. A self taught baker and chef, Carter has published two cookbooks with her twin sister, Harry. Carter is a long time friend of ACTIVIST; we spoke to her about cooking for a family and incorporating food as medicine.

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Carter and I live near Byron Bay in Australia. I come from Aotearoa New Zealand but have spent most of my 20’s and now my 30’s between the two. I dream of one day living in New Zealand again, but for now Australia is home. I live with my partner, Jack, and our three kids, Patience who is five, Dorothy who is four and Digby who is one. We live a slow but busy and loud life on a property that Jack’s parents own. We currently live in a small shed, that used to be a horse stables, with a dog and some chickens. We enjoy growing food, cooking and going to the beach. I am a full time mother and cook part time. I have self published two cookbooks with my twin sister, Harry, who took all the photos. For now, I am enjoying writing recipes weekly and sharing them on my Substack.

What role has food & cooking played in your life?

It hasn’t always been a big part of my life. I mean growing up my siblings and I always had big appetites and ate a lot but food wasn’t a big part of our family growing up. Both my parents don’t enjoy cooking so our days weren’t centered around the kitchen table. Maybe this is why I do like it so much. I did get a job at a popular bakery in Sydney when I was 19 and this is when I realized that simple food like bread and pastries can taste really good with the right ingredients and attention.

Then I traveled to Greece as a nanny and this really opened my mind to seasonal, fresh and simple food and I have loved ever since.

How do you incorporate 'food as medicine' into your daily life?

We mainly eat whole foods but it’s not something I put a huge amount of pressure on myself or my family, but I generally think we eat pretty healthy. Having a vegetable garden is the best kind of medicine!

Tips for staying inspired in the kitchen when cooking for the whole family?

Travel helps, but I haven’t travelled in a long time so I think it’s the vegetable garden that helps! I also get a vegetable box delivered weekly which helps me stay inspired because I am forced to use up what is delivered. I think this is when I am most creative; when I have to be!

What are your pantry staples?

Salt, olive oil, butter, herbs.

Finding time in the kitchen can be challenging with little ones – how do you make time?

It is very challenging. My older two are now at the age where they want to help and it’s not too hard to involve them, they like having jobs and feeling important. I love involving them and they are more likely to eat what we make together. My littlest is not so easy to cook with, we are at the stage where he constantly pulls on my legs and wants to be lifted up and see what’s going on. I don’t enjoy cooking when this happens because he is very heavy to hold on my hip now! So I either have to cook when he sleeps… which isn’t often... or if my partner is home he takes him and then I’m more than happy to cook.

What's your go to recipe when you're trying to impress?

I don’t try to impress anyone when I am cooking, it is just something that I love to do. When people are coming over for a meal I am more excited to spend time and enjoy other people's presence than it to be centered around the meal we are eating. The meal is just a bonus! But when I am having people over there are usually extra kids so I do try to be organized to limit the time spent cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. I unload the dishwasher and make meals that are made before they arrive, then I just need to pretty much serve them. Soup, or sauce for a pasta, or a frittata thats ready to go in the oven.

Could you share one of your favorite ACTIVIST Mānuka Honey recipes?

ACTIVIST Mānuka Honey + Peach Smoothie

Peach, 3
Mango, 1 big handful frozen
Hemp seeds, 2 tbsp
Yoghurt, 1 big tbsp
Milk, 1 1/2 cups
ACTIVIST Mānuka Honey, 1 tbsp

Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. If you need more liquid, add some more milk or water. Enjoy!