Dame Alison Holst

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Dame Alison Holst, DNZM CBE QSM

A beloved Kiwi icon and the first lady of New Zealand food, the inspirational Dame Alison Holst spent more than 50 years pursuing her passion for cooking – and to the delight of thousands of New Zealanders she generously shared that passion with us!

Here’s How: Alison Holst Cooks launched on television in 1964 and was followed by regular cooking series, one-off specials, radio features, guest appearances, newspaper columns and 99 books. As Helen Leach, emeritus professor of Anthropology at Otago University says of Alison Holst, “she guided New Zealand domestic cooks through a revolution … when we began to embrace the cuisines of other countries … Alison not only made things nice, but practical and doable". Making things doable for the home chef was Holst’s trademark and this endeared her to New Zealanders who twice voted her onto New Zealand’s 'Most Trusted Top 10' (in 2010 and 2014). 

Holst retired from cooking and public life in 2015 – her work is continued by her son and cooking partner, Simon Holst.

In this excerpt from "Femme de la Crème", broadcast on Close Up in 1984, Holst tells how important it is for her to connect with home cooks and to do something interesting and different with the basic ingredients we already have in the cupboard.

Find out more about Dame Alison Holst:

Visit Holst Online – Kiwi Cooking with Simon and Alison Holst. 

Read an article about her work and legacy on NZHerald.co.nz. 

Read Paula Harris’ “That one time I spent Christmas with Alison Holst”, The Spinoff, December 2018. 

See an article on the Now to Love website.

Image: Screengrab,"Femme de la Crème", Close Up, 1984 courtesy TVNZ.

Catalogue Reference TZP10535

Year 1986


Director: Elizabeth Raizis
Producer: Mark Westmoreland
Reporter: Ted Sheehan

Excerpt: 00:02:23

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