About The Modern Mess

Who Am I?

Kia ora, I’m Jen! Welcome to my kitchen.

I created the Modern Mess with one main goal in mind – to help Kiwis get confident in the kitchen and encourage them to start cooking seasonally using fresh produce.

In my 12 years working as a professional chef, I learnt a secret – good food does not come from having the fanciest ingredients or the flashiest techniques. Exceptional meals come from the freshest, seasonal produce, and can be easily made at home using simple techniques.

As a child, I was always interested in cooking. Some of my best memories are of pulling carrots and picking beans with Neddy before enjoying a Sunday roast and my grandfather trying to steal my crackling!

I now use my cooking knowledge to empower others to create fantastic meals in their own homes. The Modern Mess is a recipe and meal inspiration hub I have curated to help people like you cook delicious meals from scratch that will feed a family well each week.

Each week I chat about my meal inspiration, produce, and any foodie information in a weekly email, and I share 3 seasonal recipes (sometimes more!) via the members’ login on this website.

I feel that food is a way to connect people and create memories. Whether it be a hot cup of coffee and a warm pastry at the local market or a delicious meal around the table with your family on a Sunday night (or any night!), these are memories to treasure. Not to forget the weeknight chaos of tired kids and food flung left, right, and centre! Well, that’s what it’s like at our house anyway – a Modern Mess!

meal prep recipes

Discover My Delicious Dinner Ideas


By signing up to The Modern Mess, you will be able to impress your friends and family with your cooking skills and save money by reducing waste and using seasonal produce. To make your life easier, I share my tips and techniques of the trade as well as the occasional video demonstration so you can see exactly how I make my recipes.

To stay within budget, you will be able to adapt my dinner ideas to suit what’s in your fridge and pantry. With a bit of organisation, you can have dinner ready in no time; most of the recipes can be achieved in less than an hour or less, with many much quicker than that. I also like meal prep recipes such as slow braises that take more time but can be made in advance for a speedy meal.

If you take a bit of time to plan and pre-prepare some aspects, this can make getting a meal done far more manageable so that you can actually relax and enjoy cooking.

Personally, I like to eat meat around 3 – 4 times each week, so my recipes also include numerous vegetarian dinner ideas and options for switching out the protein.

My preferences lean towards high-quality free-range or organic meat and eggs with a focus on high welfare. Sustainable fish and seafood feature, too – although not as much. I find eating this way is more affordable, as we buy less meat to be able to purchase better quality options. Another way I save money in the kitchen is to mix meat with other plant-based proteins and pack my meals with seasonal vegetables. It’s all real food, folks!

If you need some extra cooking inspiration, vegetarian dinner ideas, and delicious new meal prep recipes to slot into your weekly meal planning, join The Modern Mess today.

I can’t wait to see you there!

vegetarian dinner ideas
vegetarian dinner

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