Vanessa Baxter

Communicator: Cookbook author, food, travel, lifestyle writer, broadcaster

New Zealand

The past two years have been unusual for many.

Right now I am immersed into work with Talent Beyond Boundaries, looking after their social media communication and writing blogs for their website. It feels wonderful to have purpose and feel that my writing about displaced people and the chance for them to rebuild their lives has come at a perfect moment.
I'm also leading the digital marketing campaign for NZ Tomatoes - the board that represents our tomato growers here in NZ. I am producing e-books, web content and social content to connect buyers with our locally grown tomatoes.

I'm also the Food Editor for a local magazine supporting our Ellerslie business community as they remain resilient in the face of so much change and uncertainty.

Below is my bio pre-covid19. A lot has changed for me but the bio still stands.

Vanessa Baxter is a chef, award-winning cookbook writer, and Masterchef 2013 finalist. She believes food is the perfect medium for connection, creativity, communication, and understanding others. She has worked, lived, and eaten all around the world. Vanessa ran a school in Vietnam, studied Italian in Siena, worked as a private chef in Cape Cod, lived in Jakarta for 6 years, Singapore for 3 years, UK for 2 years and her birthplace Australia where she initially studied psychology and music.

She now lives in Auckland with her two teenage sons, Chris and Morgan, sits on the Board of NZ Food Writers and hosted 52 episodes of The Fearless Kitchen podcast. She has no intention of ever slowing down and loves to create delightful, memorable stories that inspire positive change. She has written for NZ Bite (Herald - food); Aus Women's Weekly (travel); Sing Women's Weekly (lifestyle); Garuda Inflight Magazine (travel) amongst others.

Vanessa published The Fearless Kitchen Cookbook in 2017, which has won 3 awards. She is a familiar face on NZ TV screens and a radio personality for discussions around food (and parenting).

Talent Beyond Boundaries
Passion and persistence brought Maryam from Syria to Nova Scotia

Syria was descending into chaos as Maryam tried to complete her postgraduate master's degree in Maternity Care. Shattered, she witnessed daily fighting on the streets as her country collapsed. In fear for her life, she eventually realized she couldn't stay to finish her thesis.

Talent Beyond Boundaries
Connecting a community with cuisine

TBB has created a free downloadable cookbook showcasing some of the wonderful recipes that bring together our Alumni, staff and volunteers from around the world.

Talent Beyond Boundaries
Diala - taking one step at a time

When Diala's plane finally touched down in Toronto she had goosebumps. The last year had been exhausting and exhilarating and she could barely believe she had made it to Canada. She was here alongside her new husband, Yehya, who she had unexpectedly met through this process.

Talent Beyond Boundaries
A Syrian chef with a ladle full of perseverance - Talent Beyond Boundaries

Adel has a passion for food and a dream to bring a deeper cultural understanding to our world through the blending of cuisines. He and his wife Sara are set to follow that dream to Horsham, regional Victoria. When life throws us an unexpected event it is natural to feel stressed.

Talent Beyond Boundaries
Refugees tell of the joys and challenges of moving

This article is based on advice from TBB alumni and their spouses. We survey candidates regularly (before departure, and up to a year post-settlement) and invite continuous feedback. This helps us learn and improve. To the pioneering people quoted in this piece, thanks for sharing your experiences so openly.

Talent Beyond Boundaries
Soul surfing and lifelong learning in the Australian sea

Following nine years of displacement in Jordan and 8 months lockdown in Melbourne, finally Samer could choose a challenge to face into for himself. He had experienced unimaginable change followed by unprecedented measures of lockdown. He faced the reality of a new country and a new culture to naviga

Talent Beyond Boundaries
We share the same table

Sharing a meal is one of society's most beautiful moments. The preparation of individually wrapped morsels of goodness is time consuming but it is such a wonderful way to unite a community. Individual parcels of food invite you to share, try and experience more.

The Fearless Kitchen
Cookbook: The Fearless Kitchen | The Fearless Kitchen

The recipes reflect my travels around the globe but are simple and achievable, using every day, affordable ingredients. I would love every member of your family to feel they can cook from this book and feel less fearful about trying something new.

Ellerslie Village Magazine
Cannelloni Recipe

A fun family recipe the whole family can enjoy creating and sharing

Funky fritters

A former Masterchef contestant and early childhood educator, Vanessa Baxter now runs kids' cooking classes. She says: Children I have taught love making fritters. There are so many possible combinations, and kids can be encouraged to add ingredients and sample the results. Fritters are quick to prepare and fun to cook.

Broadcast Examples

Fast food: cooking tips from Vanessa Baxter

People are cooking more again now that we are back in lockdown, but many of us are missing (or perhaps craving) the speciality dishes we enjoy from our favourite takeaway restaurants.

Food with Vanessa Baxter: toasties

Our love affair with the toasted sandwich seemingly knows no bounds. But not all toasted sadwiches are created equal. A revolution in the art of toasted sandwich making has seen many Kiwis up their games in recent years -- moving on from the classic cheese and pineapple or the bog-standard Wattie's Spaghetti toastie to more adventurous combinations.

Top cooking tips with Vanessa Baxter: Butter

There was a time not so long ago when butter was in the news for the wrong reasons, with supposedly healthier alternatives promoted over a product that dates back to 2000 B.C. However, butter is back, and better than ever, thanks in part to some fascinating things chefs are now doing with it.

3MM: Vanessa Baxter on essential items for your larder

Three Minutes Max, New Zealand commentators with succinct opinions. Vanessa Baxter from The Fearless Kitchen shares some thoughts on essential items for your larder to help through social distancing or self-isolation due to Covid-19. See terms of use. Podcast (MP3) Oggcast (Vorbis)

Vanessa Baxter's top Christmas tips

A new survey shows that lamb has moved ahead of ham as New Zealanders' favourite meat choice on Christmas Day. The poll had lamb closely followed by traditional favourite ham and with beef a very distant third. Chef Vanessa Baxter joins the show with a few expert tips to help make your Christmas meal something to remember.