To know Melissa Delport (@trufflejournal) is to wonder when she has time to sleep. Her day jobs include in no particular order, Photographer, Food Stylist, Health Coach, Private Chef and Cookbook Author. (Her platform “the Truffle Journal”, is an addicting blend of foods, health and travel pictures and stories.) Here, this boss lady talks about how keeping creating, using cooking as a form of meditation, and finding inspiration in her love of art and travels helps her achieve success without burnout:
Tell us a little bit about your background, where you grew up, what your family life was like and where you lived.
I grew up in Johannesburg and when I was 15, my parents separated and I moved down to Durban. We are pretty close as a family with the usual ups and downs. Everyone loves food in my family so it’s a great start!
When was the first time you thought about creating www.trufflejournal.com
I started www.trufflejournal.com in 2014 and it originally started because I wanted to share my love of cooking and travel. Over time it has grown into the platform you see now and I hope to grow it even more in the future!
How would you describe the content and philosophy of The Truffle Journal?
Authentic. My goal is to share the “Truffles” the diamonds or the amazing finds so to speak in an authentic way that inspires people to travel and be healthy.
You are a Food Stylist, Private Chef and Cookbook Author. When did you first become passionate about food? Who has served as your creative inspiration?
I have loved food for as long as I can remember. I learned to cook and bake when I was young from the women in the family. They inpired me. Then I think it just grew simply because I love to eat and nothing makes me happier than good food! As my career has grown so has my love of food. Cape Town with its amazing food scene is also pretty inspiring.
How long did it take to become a food stylist? What was your ambition?
I became a food stylist because when I started shooting food I knew in order to be efficient I had to learn, so I had to make it happen pretty fast. So I am self taught and I guess through my love of art I have always had a good eye. I just kept practising and creating beautiful images then before I knew it people called me a food stylist. As time goes on though you become better at your craft.
When did you realize you wanted to write a cookbook?
I realised I wanted to write a cookbook when I connected with my health after years of feeling unhappy with my relationship with food and my body. When I got healthy and found balance I knew I had to share it. That’s how WHOLE was born!
What roadblocks did you face when writing ‘Whole’?
Time. Time is so precious and I learnt the hard way that I am only one person. I cannot do everything and asking for help is ok.
What is your favorite recipe in your book ‘Whole’?
Wow that is like choosing a favourite child. I love all the recipes because it is how I cook at home. I enjoy the rosemarys bake a lot although it is a lengthy cook and I enjoy all the chocolate dishes a lot!
What are your top 3 favorite cookbooks?
Anything from Ottolenghi
What’s is your recipe development process?
To put good music on, get lost in my kitchen and just cook with my intuition. It’s like a meditation. I just need to get into my flow and get lost in tasting and adjusting.
You are also a very talented photographer. How did you develop your interest in photography? Have you always wanted to be a photographer?
I have always been a photographer first and foremost. Before the blog there was my photography. I actually studied it but dropped out half way. I always thought I would be a fashion photographer because I love fashion so much but then life had other plans and I ended up in the food industry which was perfect for me. When I discovered my love of food photography I just kept shooting as much as possible.
Can you share your favorite picture with us and tell us the story behind it?
I would say that my book is my favourite collection of images along with a few images that I have shot from wine farms. So a single favourite is pretty tough. I just love photographing beautiful food and in Cape Town we have such gorgeous produce and chefs that are doing amazing things. If you visit my blog and scroll through my photography portfolios you will see a selection of what I love.
What is (one of) the most eye-opening photo projects you’ve covered?
I would say Whole because I have been blown away by how many lives it has impacted and how many people have reached out to share their story with me. I am so blessed to do what I do.
What have been your biggest achievements so far?
Whole – Bowl food for balance was my heart on my sleeve and having sold over 6000 copies felt phenomenal. To know people received it the way that they did blew my mind!
What advise would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Hustle. Chase your dreams and never give up. Always keep shooting, styling and working. Even if it is for money its for your career. I am constantly creating. If I am not working I am cooking or shooting something. It all pays off at the end of the day.
What do you find is the hardest challenge balancing your work and personal life?
To not constantly be online and have boundaries between social media and the rest of my life.
What is your self-care philosophy?
Self care is so much more than a hashtag or a phase. It is constant work and practise. It’s like working a muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it becomes. It takes time and you won’t always get it right. But that’s ok. It’s part of the journey.
Take us through an average day in the life, the first thing you do in the morning through to the last thing you do at night.
Each day is unique for me. That’s what I love the most. I could be private cheffing at a retreat, travelling to Bali or shooting for a client in Cape town. I try every day to get a long walk in and every morning starts with warm lemon water. My days always end with chamomile tea and I try to keep my routine as grounding as possible because of my manic life.
What does your perfect day look like?
Spending the day exploring tropical paradise, diving and eating high vibe food!
I really have to motivate myself to exercise. It doesn’t come naturally to me. But I made the decision to commit to myself so I usually get myself up and get going because I always feel better for doing it.
Something you can’t live without?
A beautifully baked sourdough.
What is the wildest thing you have ever done?
What classifies as wild? To be honest if I told you I would have to kill you haha.
What is next for you?
My next cookbook! I am so excited to create this one and I plan on making it even bigger and better!
Is there anything we have not asked that you would like to talk about? (specific achievements, project(s) you are working on that you would like our followers/readers to know about etc.)
Nope that’s pretty much it 🙂
Sweet or Savory? Savory
Hot or cold? Hot
Lips or Eyes? Eyes
Smoothie or Juice? Smoothie
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Describe yourself as a person in 3 words Honest, Ambitious, Caring
Your favourite thing in your closet right now? my cat sneakers lol they are soooo comfy
What’s on your cell phone playlist at the moment (3-5 favourites)?
Evada – Kurla Dust
Taking Over – Joe Goddard
Bulbo – Feather sun
If you could only eat one more meal but it could be anything you wanted, what would it be? Probably a dam good burger
One book you read that positively shaped you? Brene Brown braving the wilderness
Favorite Tv show? Friends
One superpower you would like to have? Invisibility or flight
Best gift you have ever received? The gift of experience