Watch Out World: Hemsley and Hemsley, Wellness Food Activists

Melissa  and Jasmine Hemsley (Photo by Nicholas Hopper)

Melissa  and Jasmine Hemsley (Photo by Nicholas Hopper)

The video clip shows two young, fashionable sisters speaking in a lilting, melodious accent typical of those born and raised in the United Kingdom, adding ingredients to a stock pot of simmering beef sinigang (tamarind stew). Their Filipina mom stands between both instructing them what to add next.

Jasmine and Melissa Hemlsey are two sisters based in the UK, food activists who advocate wellness and offer nutritious recipes. Better known as "Helmsley and Hemsley," the sisters run a food consultancy business. On their website, they disclose they are not professionally trained in culinary arts and nutrition, but their sensible advice on good eating has attracted A-list clients, doctors, health experts and a large fan base who just want to eat well.

Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley’s advice is: “Change the way you eat. It doesn’t have to be deprivation or diet.”

Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley were raised in Kingston Upon Thames to Filipina mom, Evangeline Garcia from Manila and the late Jack Hemsley. Their path to good health started during Jasmine’s modeling career when she needed nourishing food for stamina. The sisters developed their own recipes. They made wholesome dishes with grains, that were gluten-free and avoided refined sugar. The flavors were homespun. They embraced the clean and simple approach to food.

Mom Hemsley's (  Evangeline Garcia, center) Filipino influence is found in the recipes of her  daughters Jasmine and Melissa. (Photo by Nicholas Hopper)

Mom Hemsley's (Evangeline Garcia, center) Filipino influence is found in the recipes of her  daughters Jasmine and Melissa. (Photo by Nicholas Hopper)

Before long, their clients grew. Vogue UK asked them to blog about food. It was a pioneering move for the British Vogue publication which had no food section.

Although Filipino food is the foundation of their palates, the Hemsley sisters offer mainstream popular recipes they developed based on wellness. Mom Hemsley’s Filipino influence seeps through in recipes of their first best-selling cookbook, The Art of Eating Well. The sisters just launched their second cookbook, Good + Simple (Clarkson Potter), in the United Kingdom. This 140-recipe cookbook will be sold in the USA by April. Jasmine and Melissa are also opening their first 35-seater café “Hemsley and Hemsley at Selfridges” in London this April.

“We make recipes that are familiar. We look back to the time of our great grandmothers when portions were smaller. Life was simple. They went to bed with the sun and woke up to the sun.”

For Hemsley and Hemsley it is important to be attuned with mindfulness of contemporary home cooking. There are foods they cannot live without. “Mom’s chicken tinola (ginger stew) is the taste of our childhood. The whole dish flavored with ginger is comforting.”

“If you have garlic and onions, you can do anything” Mom Hemsley taught them. Their recipes have lots of ginger, coconut oil and bone broth, the Filipino “nilagang sabaw ng baka” (beef broth).

Hemsley and Hemsley are young food activists changing the way we perceive health food. They practice wellness for a good life, health and strength. Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley make it seem effortless through basic home cooking that nourishes and is delicious. They’re “good plus simple” ways that bring us back to Mom Hemsley’s Filipino influence.

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey, is a journalist, food writer and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She blogs about Filipino home cooking and culinary travels to the Philippines on her site

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