Brisbane-born Australian nutritionist & consultant Jacqui Toumbas loves wholesome foods, curating unforgettable events, exploring her culture and heritage, and opening up dialogues and conversations with some pretty incredible people. All of this done from the kitchen, over a love for cooking and food.
If you're from Brisbane, some of you might know Jacqui a little better from her pseudonym, Miss Bliss - a name that can be dated all the way back to 2015, the name she used when she first started making healthy bliss balls for cafes around Brisbane. Fresh out of studying at QUT, and following the success of her bliss balls, Jacqui took the plunge and opened up her own wholefoods cafe, Miss Bliss - a place where she could bring together her love for nutrition and wholefoods, and create an environment and community that she’d always wanted.
Jacqui wants to share everything. Her love about her culture, food, work-life and everything in-between. Food and cooking brings Jacqui so much joy, and in the worst of times has helped her push through dark days.
Jacqui hopes through her channels, sharing her journey with you, it may inspire you to explore different foods, learn about other cultures and love life while finding your passion. Growing up in a big Greek family food was (and still is) a focus in all aspects. Jacqui’s love for cooking was nourished by spending time in the kitchen with her Yiayia’s (grandmothers) and mum.
Jacqui is not about restricting, banning foods or counting calories. She’s all for delicious, healthy and wholesome foods that make you feel so damn good. She’s all for pulling together that one-week-old broccoli, left-over rice and adding in some coconut cream, and making the best curry you’ve ever tasted. She’s for Saturday morning market trips to find organic fruits and veggies and hormone-free meats, but she’s also for Aldi runs, sneaking into YiaYia’s kitchen to steal freshly baked olive bread, and for over-ordering UberEats when it’s been a big day.
Jacqui wants you to fall in love with food, create incredible dinner parties that get their own hashtag, and hopefully learn from her own experiences to help you shape your own journey.
We sat down with Jacqui to ask her everything from the correlation between food and how we feel, an insight into her day-to-day, how she prioritises self care daily and so much more. Plus a delicious recipe for you to try!
Tell us a little about you?
I am a Brisbane based food & hospitality consultant, content creator and all round lover of food. My passion for food ignited after studying Nutrition at QUT and opening my cafe, Miss Bliss, which I've now sold to consult for other food & hospitality brands.
What inspired you to create your business?
I think it's always been in my blood, I've grown up working in family businesses.
Tell us about the business journey so far?
It's been a very, VERY, winding road. I started off with the cafe, which I opened in 2015. It was an incredible experience learning how to manage staff, build a brand and constantly evolve. My favourite part was definitely building a community of like-minded people. After the big C, in 2020, I decided it was time to move on - my version of success had shifted and I was looking for a new change and challenge. I somehow fell into consulting, I was able to use my passion for food & hospitality to help other venues with menu development, digital marketing and cafe setup. I also work with a range of food businesses to food brands and products.
Why is it important to care about what food we eat?
I think sometimes people underestimate the power food has on our bodies. It affects everything from our energy levels, mood, hormones and cognitive function. We also need to take into consideration how food production affects our environment and future supply.
Do you feel there's a correlation between the food we eat and how we feel?
110%!!! I couldn't stress this more. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.
Any things you would recommend we eat or drink in our day to nourish us better?
There's not one food item or group I focus on, my philosophy is all about a balanced diet with a focus on good quality, unprocessed fats, carbohydrates and protein. Plus ensuring you are staying hydrated with plenty of water.
What does your morning routine look like?
hahaha so this year I had it in my head I was going to create a SOLID morning routine. That still hasn't happened.
I just got a very (VERY) cute puppy so my mornings are sometimes chaotic. But on a normal day, they start at 5:45am. Quick drink of water and take Basil (my puppy) for a quick walk, then off to pilates at 6:30am. I usually run home after pilates to grab Basil and walk to our local coffee spot, grab a coffee, chat with some friends (for me connection is a big part of my day) and another quick walk. Back home to shower, eat brekky (eggs on toast ALWAYS) and either head out to meetings or settle in at my desk.
What does self care mean to you? Do you have any self care rituals?
Self care for me is many things.
I love indulgent self care, for me this is a bath, my bath always includes a bath soak like Gracious Minds Soothing Bath Soak - the magnesium in it not only helps my muscles relax and recover but I always have an amazing sleep after a magnesium bath. This is something I'm trying to implement once a week.
Daily self care looks like prayer and spiritual growth. I am a Christian and my faith is very important to me. I'm currently challenging myself to do daily readings and journal my prayers. I've never written them out before, it's always been in my head, I feel like this is a game-changer for me.
Is there something self care related you are keen to explore next?
At the moment I've put myself on this spiritual challenge with daily readings, journaling and prayer - it's definitely a step up for me in terms of self care and i'm very excited to explore how it changes my mind / faith
When I say "Love Yourself First" - what comes up for you?
Before we can give love to others we must love ourselves first. I believe as human beings our job is to love others, there is nothing greater than love. But I have learnt I do need to fill my cup and love myself first, this includes being kind to myself, being patient with myself and practicing self awareness.
Do you have a favourite easy recipe you can share with us?
At the moment I am loving Maroulosalata which is Greek for Lettuce Salad. Yes it sounds boring but OMG it packs a punch. You have to try it! I top mine with some chickpeas and tuna for a quick lunch. Plus it's Gluten free, extra win!
Recipe: Maroulosalata - Greek for Lettuce Salad
- 1 piece lettuce
- thinly sliced - baby cos heart / baby romaine lettuce / Little gem
- 2 piece shallots finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons dill finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoons mint finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons feta crumbled (40g)
- 1 can tuna in spring water, drained
- 100 grams chickpeas
- 50 millilitres olive oil
- 2-4 tablespoons lemon juice
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Step One: Prepare your dressing by combining all the ingredients in a bowl or jar and mix together till emulsified - set aside.
Step Two: Chop / slice all salad ingredients as per instructions.
Step Three: Combine lettuce, shallots, dill, parsley and mint. Drizzle with dressing and massage with your hands (this is the trick!)
Step Four: Once everything is coated evenly with the dressing mix in the chickpeas and tuna.
Follow Jacqui on instagram and tune into her Youtube channel for her latest Conversations In The Kitchen Series HERE.