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Bridget Davis reveals the horrific way men treated her when she started as an apprentice 

Celebrity chef Bridget Davis was just 14 when she dropped out of school to work as a waitress and start a culinary course – which she graduated at the top of her class.

But despite being a prodigy in the kitchen, the 45-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, said she was preyed upon by staff in the male-dominated industry.

‘I’d bend down to get something and the male chefs would push my head into their crotches and say, “While you’re there…” You have to be tough and resilient and I put up with a lot,’ she told Woman’s Day.

Celebrity chef Bridget Davis was just 14 when she dropped out of school to work as a waitress and start a culinary course – which she graduated at the top of her class

She also had colleagues light the peak of her chef’s hat on fire before stubbing it out moments after it singed her hair.

In one particularly ‘scarring’ incident someone put Tabasco sauce in her straw so when she took a sip of water in the kitchen she was met with a searingly hot taste.

‘I don’t use straws to this day because I have such bad memories of lying on the ground, choking in the middle of service and they’re laughing,’ she said.

She was 19 when she graduated at the top of her class

She also had colleagues light the peak of her chef's hat on fire before stubbing it out moments after it singed her hair (pictured at her graduation in 1994)

She also had colleagues light the peak of her chef’s hat on fire before stubbing it out moments after it singed her hair (pictured at her graduation in 1994 right)

Since that time Ms Davis has gone on to become a mother to three children, cook for Oprah and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, as well as secure multiple awards for her best-selling cookbooks.

But she’ll never forget how ‘bad’ the industry was for a young woman just starting out.

Previously, Ms Davis spoke about her journey with food and how her fears of appearing on Australia’s Studio 10 program to promote her first book carrying ‘excess weight’ was all the encouragement she needed to lose some inches.  

But she'll never forget how 'bad' the industry was for a young woman just starting out

But she’ll never forget how ‘bad’ the industry was for a young woman just starting out

She was the heaviest she had ever been at 90kg (200lbs) and was terrified of appearing before the crowd in 2018.

‘I thought I was going to look like an elephant up there,’ she told FEMAIL, particularly as she’d already been told ‘the camera adds 10 pounds’.

She had a little over a month before she was due to appear on the popular TV show and set to work researching ways she could safely – and healthily – drop the weight.

The well known chef and mother-of-three was the heaviest she had ever been at 90 kilos and was terrified of appearing before a crowd to toast her latest recipes

'I thought I was going to look like an elephant up there,' the 44-year-old told FEMAIL, particularly as she'd already been told 'the camera adds 10 kilos'

Being told she would have to appear on Studio 10’s morning show to promote her first cookbook was all the encouragement Bridget Davis needed to lose excess weight

‘I thought about going to the gym and exercising like a crazy person but I don’t really like those kinds of workouts,’ the Sydney-based chef said.

‘So I started looking into gut health and realised this could be the way to do it. I eliminated gluten, sugar and dairy and instantly felt lighter and less bloated.

‘In just over three weeks I lost 12 kilos (26lbs) so I knew it was working.’

She limited her fruit intake to just one apple a day and stopped eating honey, maple syrup and artificial sweeteners.

She did it! Ms Davis (pictured centre) appeared on Studio 10 to launch her cookbook

She did it! Ms Davis (pictured centre) appeared on Studio 10 to launch her cookbook

'In just over three weeks I lost 12 kilos (26lbs) so I knew it was working,' she said

‘In just over three weeks I lost 12 kilos (26lbs) so I knew it was working,’ she said

Ms Davis began to notice that she picked up the natural sweetness in foods you otherwise wouldn’t think could be sweet – like cabbage.

‘I make a seaweed-based soup and leave the shredded cabbage to soak on top… and I can really taste the sweetness!’ she said. 

For breakfast she would start the day with chicken breast, turkey meatballs or prawns because the protein would sustain her until mid-morning.

‘Lunch is the heartiest meal of the day for me so I’ll have something like a cottage pie,’ she said.

‘I use a very lean beef mince, lots of spices and top it with roasted garlic cauliflower mash.’ 

In total she lost 30kg (66lbs) eating this way and has maintained her goal weight, slowly reintroducing small amounts of sugar and dairy

In total she lost 30kg (66lbs) eating this way and has maintained her goal weight, slowly reintroducing small amounts of sugar and dairy

Dinner is something ‘quick and easy’ like a stir fry that she can make in 10 minutes or less. 

In total she lost 30kg (66lbs) eating this way and has maintained her goal weight, slowly reintroducing small amounts of sugar and dairy.

But one of the best things to come out of her journey was her Facebook page Bridget’s Kitchen, which Ms Davis used to share recipes she was eating on her lifestyle.

Now, with 60,000 followers, the chef has reintroduced good quality dairy like butters and cheese, but steers clear of cow’s milk.

‘I also cook with avocado oil and coconut oil now,’ she said. ‘But I stay away from gluten because it still doesn’t agree with me.’  

For breakfast she would start the day with chicken breast, turkey meatballs or prawns because the protein would sustain her until mid-morning

For breakfast she would start the day with chicken breast, turkey meatballs or prawns because the protein would sustain her until mid-morning

What does Bridget eat in a day? 

Breakfast: Chicken breast or prawns, turkey meatballs. Protein for breakfast helps you stay fuller for longer.  

Lunch: The heartiest meal of the day for me. I have a cottage pie – use a very lean beef mince, lots of spices, almost like a gravy, top it with roasted garlic cauliflower mash.  

Dinner: Stir fry, something quick. I don’t have much time. 10-15 minutes maximum. I like doing things with fish, throwing things in the air fryer. Cook without any oil and fat.    

Ms Davis knows how important diet is when it comes to weight loss because her journey was 100 per cent based on the food she put in her mouth. 

But as Australia edges closer to the cold depth of winter – and hunger increases – the 45-year-old said there is a way to have your cake and eat it too.

‘If you’re wanting something comforting try oven-roasted meatballs. 

‘You can even put some mozzarella cheese in there to make it even tastier,’ she said.

Despite having once cooked for the King and Queen of Tonga, Ms Davis said she still feels nervous cooking for anyone.  

But one of the best things to come out of her journey was her Facebook page Bridget's Kitchen (pictured with her husband)

But one of the best things to come out of her journey was her Facebook page Bridget’s Kitchen (pictured with her husband)

Earlier this year the chef won a world Gourmand cookbook with her second cookbook Breakfast Around The World

Ms Davis' cottage pie recipe

‘Lunch is the heartiest meal of the day for me so I’ll have something like a cottage pie,’ she said (pictured right)

‘While you definitely feel there is additional pressure I get just as nervous serving for six people coming to my house for dinner,’ she said.

‘It’s always about the meal you’re creating and not just about who for.’  

Earlier this year the chef won a world Gourmand cookbook with her second cookbook Breakfast Around The World. 

That same book was also named by UNESCO as one of the most influential cookbooks of the past three years, and is currently on display at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. 

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