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Mindful March Interview with The Botanist Head Chef Scotty Mills
Head Chef Scotty Mills joined us for a conversation about Mindful March at The Botanist.
Scotty has been head chef at the Botanist for close to three years and boasts great experience and a strong passion for food.
We talked about all things mindfulness, food & Mindful March at The Botanist.
What does Mindful March mean to you?
Mindful March is a great opportunity and reminder to take a look at what really is important in my life right now, my family being a large part of that. Also, to be empathic to those who are fighting to scrape together what they can to keep going. To be considerate of others that are (just like me) trying to make it through this world the best they can.
What do you love about Mindful March at The Botanist?
Mindful March at The Botanist is a great experience for me because I get to see how good we can be in giving a little something back. Allowing guests to participate in great wholesome activities that we have arranged, as well as eat some food that is not only tasty but wholesome and nutritious for your body.
What was the inspiration behind your Wholesome Meal Specials?
I really wanted to remind people that wholesome food doesn’t have to be grey or unappealing looking or tasting. But it should be fresh and delightful. I wanted to show fresh and tasty food is easy to make even at home with little fuss.
We know that mindfulness can also be in the form of mindful eating… What does mindful eating actually mean? And how can we practice it?
To eat mindfully to me is to eat with the sense of replenishing your body’s nutrients without overdoing it. This means a balance of flavours and textures throughout your day and week. I don’t like to eat the same thing twice in the same week, so I will often make trips to the supermarket every few days to get fresh ingredients for my meals.
Proper portioning is also important, not only to make sure you have enough to fill you up but that there is little to no wastage. Finding food that you look forward to eating as well is important to feeling good about what you eat.
Being a chef can be quite fast-paced and demanding, how do you manage to stay mindful whilst working?
With a lot of self-training and experience. I always try to put myself in the shoes of those around me, to try and get a sense of how they feel. This helps a lot when trying to negotiate a particularly busy service or a highly demanding day.
Breathing is also key to being more mindful. Often the first thought is one that comes from inside us and is not the most mindful, but with a deep breath, you can give your mind a chance to reflect and be empathic.
What are some ways you practice mindfulness in your spare time?
My kids. Teaching them how to be more empathic to those around and trying to get them to see outside their own worlds. I do this by example around the house. When there is a fight (and there is not too much time that passes where there is not some sort of disagreement between the 3 girls) I help by breaking down what happened and how that makes each girl feel, so they can understand each other’s position. I really hope that if there is anything I teach my children it’s how to be more mindful of others.
And to finish what is your favourite dish to cook here at the Botanist that brings you joy?
My favourite dish to cook would have to be staff dinner. Not often do I get the chance to cook for the team that motors our great restaurant, but when I do it’s a real honour to share a meal that helps revitalise those I work with and admire so much. Because food is not just fuel for the body but also a device that can be used to bring people together and refuel your soul as well.