At the age of eight, Donna Hay skipped into a kitchen, picked up a mixing bowl and never looked back. As Australia’s leading food stylist and best-selling cookbook author, Donna’s food, recipes and focus on humble ingredients that are simply prepared and beautifully photographed, are all hallmarks of her work, and have set the benchmark for food publishing worldwide, while inspiring a whole new generation of cooks.
Donna’s simple and style-driven approach is reflected in her 28 award-winning cookbooks. She has sold over eight million copies worldwide, with the books translated into 10 languages. Donna was also named one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cookbook authors at the international Gourmand Awards in January 2007.
Donna’s career as a food stylist began when she was 19. She was appointed food editor of marie claire when she was 25 and soon became food editor of marie claire lifestyle, helming a range of best-selling books.
In 2001, she launched donna hay magazine, a highly acclaimed, top-selling bi-monthly food magazine with tremendous local success and far-reaching international appeal. With Donna as editor-in-chief, the magazine had more than 595,000 Australian readers each issue*, with subscribers in 82 countries around the world, and was the highest-selling magazine on the App Store in Australia.
In addition to this, in early 2009, Donna launched the donna hay general store, which has grown into a booming online business, allowing food and style lovers all over the world to access Donna’s beautiful homewares, books and special gift ideas at the click of a button.
Donna completed her first TV series in 2011 – fast, fresh, simple – for Foxtel’s LifeStyle Channel in Australia. The series screened in more than 17 countries worldwide, and was followed up the worldwide phenomenon, Basics to Brilliance, and then Basics to Brilliance Kids. She received an ASTRA Award in 2012 for best new female personality.
In December 2011, Donna was appointed by Tourism Australia as the creative director for Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Welcome to Sydney’ party, for Oprah and the 300 audience members who travelled to Australia for the special series of shows. The segment, seen by more than 20 million people worldwide, included Donna’s transformation of Sydney Harbour settings into stylish beach and country locations, plus fireworks that lit up the sky and Sydney Harbour Bridge – especially for Oprah.
In December 2013, the one-hour special, a donna hay Christmas, was created exclusively for Foxtel, bringing to life Donna’s chic, no-fuss approach to Christmas entertaining.
Donna made her first foray into the growing world of ‘luxe health’ content in 2015, releasing a special issue magazine titled Fresh + Light, packed full of super foods and delicious recipes for a lighter approach to eating that would form the blueprint for her now signature ‘better for you’ recipe ethos. After 60,000 copies sold out in less than two weeks, the title became a quarterly fixture with Donna at the helm.
In November 2015, Donna was inducted into the Australia Magazine Awards Hall of Fame, recognised for her pioneering brand and contribution to the industry. Rather than resting on her laurels, Donna turned the business up a gear. In May 2016, she returned to television with a brand new eight-part series exclusive to Foxtel, titled Basics to Brilliance. The accompanying book was released in September 2016. That same month, the magazine celebrated its 15th birthday with a hugely successful bumper issue. And on Boxing Day 2016, Donna fulfilled a lifelong personal ambition and sailed as part of the crew on Beau Geste in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
Donna also helmed a popular weekly food column in the Sunday editions of News Corp newspapers around Australia, reaching over 2.5 million people each week. She was a regular contributor to UK’s leading lifestyle magazine, Living etc., and had a fortnightly column in The Sunday Times Magazine in the UK.
The Donna Hay Home Baking Mix range was launched in Australian supermarkets, featuring a much-loved molten chocolate chunk brownie, flourless chocolate cake and wholesome banana bread, made with all natural ingredients for a truly homemade taste. Donna also developed a popular vanilla-bean pancake mix, gluten free plain flour and cocoa as part of the range. Her brownie mix currently holds the number one spot in baking mix sales across Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.
In 2021, Donna released the best-selling cookbook, One Pan Perfect, featuring flavour-forward all-in-one recipes that inspired a world of home cooks still reeling from post-pandemic cooking fatigue.
In 2022, Donna partnered with Disney+ to create a brand-new series, Donna Hay Christmas, while releasing an accompanying revised and expanded edition of her best-selling cookbook, Donna Hay Christmas Feasts and Treats.
Donna was the proud recipient of an Order of Australia medal in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2022 for service to the Australian food and hospitality sector as a cook and author.
She is a mum of two beautiful boys, and lives by the water in Sydney, Australia, where she still cooks every single day.