We could not have a bigger crush on Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, the super sister duo behind wellness brand Hemsley + Hemsley. We are huge fans of the type of food they advocate: nourishing, home-cooked food full of spiralized veggies, restorative bone broth and healthy fats. So when we got an opportunity to interview them, we jumped at the chance. Below, we talk to Jasmine and Melissa about their new book, their favorite recipes, their just-opened cafe and how they stay grounded.
How did Hemsley + Hemsley come about?
Jasmine: I worked full-time as a model from the age of 19 and was fascinated by the many different ideas surrounding health and nutrition. Over the years I developed a way of eating that made me feel energised and toned and put it into practice along with my boyfriend Nick (the third wheel to HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY)! Through this we found that natural, easy to digest and nutrient dense foods were what truly counted despite whatever ‘fads’ were being hailed by the media. I soon begun sharing tips and tricks with friends and family. Mel, who had worked as a footwear brand manager and later in marketing and promotion for gastropubs and bars, caught the bug and helped spread the word. We created a bespoke food service aimed at helping people with their digestion and relationship with food. Before I knew it, we were cooking for clients, clearing out their cupboards, filling up their fridges and freezers and showing them how to cook our recipes and feel better: happier, healthier and more energized.
Melissa: Within two weeks of launching our own food blog, we were asked to become regular contributors to Vogue UK and soon after began developing our first book The Art Of Eating Well: a go-to guide for people to use as a foundation for changing their eating habits and enjoying delicious, healthy food that makes them feel great. Since then, we have released our second book Good + Simple, launched our Hemsley Spiralizer, seen our debut TV series air internationally and opened our first ever day-to-night cafe, Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges, in London. The business has gone from strength-to-strength and we’re so excited for what the next few years have in store!
What’s it like to work together as sisters?
As with all small businesses, you have to roll up your sleeves and get involved. The business has evolved naturally and we now get to work in the areas that we love the most. Everyday is different at H+H. From cooking, meetings and recipe developments, there is lots of room for creativity and also plenty of time to work alone and remotely from laptops so we aren’t in each other’s space the whole time. And luckily, when it comes back to just being family, we find it remarkably easy to switch off!
Can you share your experience writing two best-selling health cookbooks?
Writing a book is a lot of fun. We didn’t in our wildest dreams think that would happen…And now there are two of them! We thought that writing the second one would be harder but actually it takes the same amount of hard graft! Both books and their messages are so important to us.
What are your favorite dishes from your latest book Good + Simple?
Jasmine: They’re simple and on first glance might appear unexciting but our Flax Seed Buns have proved a winner not just in our lives but in those of our readers, as well as buns for our burgers at our Hemsley cafe in Selfridges London! I also love our Chocolate Orange Bar with Clementines: they are deliciously decadent, and again ridiculously easy to make. They’ve become our demo party trick. We laugh along with the audience at how easy they are to put together, but wow do they make an impact when served after dinner as dessert.
Melissa: I love our BBtella, a healthy Hemsley twist on the classic childhood chocolate and hazelnut spread. Free from refined sugar and full of fibre, protein and vitamins, ours is made with black beans and tastes even closer to the original rich and dark chocolate spreads that you find in Italy. Kids (and adults) will love it, and they don’t have to know that it’s good for them! Because I love a good stew, Mum’s Beef Sinigang is another one of my all-time faves. It’s a dish we grew up with so it’s real nostalgia food for me; real, honest-to-goodness, home-cooking that’s so simple, tastes amazing and is packed with flavor, not to mention our key ingredient, nourishing bone broth. It’s pure comfort food and I always double or triple the quantities so I have plenty of leftovers, because I’d happily eat it for a week!
With such busy professional lives, how do you stay grounded?
Jasmine: Meditation is key, ever since I started learning the practice seven years ago. It’s had such an impact on my life. Getting outside with fresh air and into nature is also super powerful. And having an attitude of gratitude first thing in the morning and before going to bed reminds you how precious life is and how lucky we are to live it.
Melissa: I also meditate and love being outdoors with my dog Nelly. Switching off and spending time with friends and family is also key.
Can you tell us more about your new cafe in Selfridges?
We started off as private chefs and wellness coaches, cooking in the kitchens of our clients and feeding them and their families, so feeding people was always on the cards and this cafe is a truly dream come true! The all-day eatery serves good-mood-food seven days a week (we do take-away too!), in the iconic Selfridges department store on Oxford Street, right in the heart of London. From the cocktails to the coasters, this cafe is all us. The menu is a reflection of our food philosophy; championing organic, seasonal foods that are naturally free from gluten, grains, refined sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hemsley staples like bone broth-based soups and stews, spiralized noodle salads and paradise bars are available alongside new dishes like quinoa courgette toast, salmon burgers, and the best carrot cake ever, with a creamy, probiotic yoghurt honey frosting.
What’s next for Hemsley + Hemsley?
For the moment we’re loving our cafe at Selfridges, where we just getting into the winter menu and developing some new recipes. This has turned into our little hub where we can meet customers and be inspired by fresh ideas. We’ve also started baking for christmas time: we love putting our twist on traditional favorites.
About Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley: Loved by the food, fitness and fashion industries alike, sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley have taken the health and wellness industry by storm since launching their family-run wellness business Hemsley + Hemsley in 2010 for people who want to live healthier happier lives. As well as being regular columnists at Vogue UK, they are the best -selling authors of The Art of Eating Well, and have just released their highly-anticipated second book Good + Simple. Jasmine and Melissa’s first ever day-to-night café Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges opened its doors in London in April of this year. Their debut TV series, Eating Well With Hemsley + Hemsley is currently airing internationally throughout 2016. The sisters also continue to cook and consult for celebrities and high-profile events (including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Vivienne Westwood) around the world.
All images courtesy of Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley.