Maggie, originally from Sydney, worked and travelled overseas in an amazing variety of jobs from a Lift Driver in a New Zealand department store to the Assistant to the Senior Geophysicist for British Petroleum in Libya. Returning home in 1968 and well before becoming immersed in the world of food, she was employed in fields as diverse as light aircraft, Citizenship Law Clerk for the American Embassy and House Management at the Women’s College of Sydney University.
Her marriage to Colin in 1970 led them to the Barossa Valley in 1973, where they began pheasant breeding and grape growing. The establishment of the Pheasant Farm was the start of a career that now spans farming, food production, exporting, food writing and television presenting.
There have been lots of awards over the years from those first heady days when in 1991 the Pheasant Farm Restaurant won the Remy Martin Cognac/Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year. More business related accolades included the Telstra Business Woman of the Year in 1997 and the Jaguar/Australian Gourmet Traveller Award of Excellence in 1999 and then in 2001 Maggie was overwhelmed to be presented with the Food Media Club’s Industry Peer Award.
Maggie has written 8 books in total. The first being Maggie’s Farm, followed by Maggie’s Orchard and Cooking with Verjuice. She then collaborated with Stephanie Alexander and chronicled their Italian cooking school experiences in Stephanie and Maggie’s Tuscan Cookbook which has been translated into 5 languages. Her fifth book Maggie’s Table won the Best Regional Cook Book in English in 2001, and then against all other languages, replicated its success in the Gourmand World Cook Book Awards in Perigord, France. In 2003 Maggie’s Table was also awarded the Australian Food Media Award for Best Hardcover Recipe Book.
The sixth addition to her literary collection is Maggie’s Harvest, a veritable tome of Maggie’s cooking expertise, superbly bound in hand embroidered Chinese silk. Since its release it has been awarded second place against books from 27 countries for the best cookbook cover in the World at the 2007 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and was highly commended by judges in the category for Best Recipe Book over $36 at the Australian Food Media Awards in 2008. Maggie’s Kitchen released in 2008 is a collection of favourite recipes as well as the everyday basics Maggie believes form the foundations of a good food life. Her most recent addition to the library is Maggie’s Verjuice Cookbook published in 2012, which features over 100 recipes using Maggie’s favourite ingredient...Verjuice.
It was a natural extension, with her passion for food and food writing, that Maggie should find herself in front of the camera in her own television series. Screening on the ABC, The Cook and The Chef shows Maggie introducing Executive Chef Simon Bryant to her home region and the people who supply her with the produce she has used to create her culinary reputation. Her success on the show was cemented at the 2008 Australian Food Media Awards where Maggie won the inaugural Lifestyle Food Channel’s People’s Choice Award and The Cook and The Chef won the Sizzler Bernard King Award for Best Television Food Segment. Wrapping up production on The Cook and the Chef has by no means meant Maggie has escaped the spotlight. As part of the 2010 Australia Day Awards, Maggie was honoured with winning Senior Australian of the Year, in recognition of her focus on cooking with seasonal produce, that has in turn, helped to educate so many Australians to make informed food choices. The award was presented to Maggie by Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, at a special ceremony in Canberra on January 25th 2010. The following year Maggie became the 2011 South Australian of the Year and in addition to these achievements, Maggie was thrilled to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to tourism and hospitality on Australia Day earlier this year.