Cook, Plant Based Advocate and Sustainability Enthusiast

It’s one thing to be enthusiastic about preparing and eating food, but Simon Toohey’s passion goes much deeper than that. 

The talented foodie and YouTube personality, who proved his cooking prowess to the nation on Masterchef, and more recently as the host of Freshly Picked on Channel 10 is driven by a desire to completely transform the process of food production. Sustainability is at the heart of everything Simon serves up.

He’s particularly keen to get Aussies excited about eating more vegetables and less meat – in fact, he was widely credited with making vegies cool when he appeared on Masterchef in 2019 (finishing in third place) then again in 2020. Between seasons, he launched a pop-up vegan smokehouse in Melbourne that was so popular he had to extend its run, and also co-founded the Sustainable Earth Network (SEN). The aim of SEN is to promote whole ingredients, plant-based nutrition and zero food waste and the platform offers videos showcasing everything from roasting cauliflower to foraging for mushrooms.

In 2021, Simon joined the team at HSquared, to create a new show, Freshly Picked, a TV series celebrating local producers and plant-based meals, hosted by Simon. His sparky personality shines through this series and right across the show which airs weekdays on Channel 10. 

Part of why Simon draws large crowds at events and often creates buzz on social media is his relentless dedication to sustainable food and farming practices. Part of it, too, is his natural magnetism. Simon isn’t just someone you want preparing your meal, he’s someone you want to sit down and eat it with afterwards.

That charisma, coupled with an Instagram following of more than 100k, has made him a great fit for brand partnerships, with Simon having been appointed an ambassador for Dilmah Tea, 1589 Hotels and Melbourne’s Wine & Cheese Fest.

Simon holds an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management and a Bachelor of Tourism Management from the University of Canberra, as well as a Masters in Gastronomy from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He’s also a past winner at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, a global competition honouring excellence in bartending.