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Eat your way to wellness at Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat & Spa

Eat your way to wellness at Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat & Spa

If we are what we eat, then those that savour the culinary delights of Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat & Spa are very wholesome indeed. The wellness haven shares some of its gastronomic insights and how you can recreate its celebrated recipes at home.

A healthy lifestyle begins with eating well, and retreats across the world are forever reinventing what we think of as spa cuisine. One of Australia’s leading lights in this pursuit, Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat & Spa, use the finest seasonal produce to create dishes vibrant with colours, flavours and textures.

Healthy eating is golden

For a full-body overhaul, book yourself in for one of Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat & Spa’s wellness programmes, encompassing exercise, informative seminars, treatments at heavenly Spa Elysia and, of course, nutritious meals. Set amid the vineyards of the NSW Hunter Valley, it perhaps seems a surprising place to dine without alcohol (or red meat, caffeine, sugar and saturated fats), but rest assured; you won’t be missing it. The retreat represents a break from a lifestyle of excess, resetting the system with meals rich in wholefoods, sensible portions and spaced-out meal times that give you time to digest. For guests going back to culinary basics, it’s time to slow down and savour every mouthful.


Poached salmon with fennel, orange, toasted almonds and chilli citrus salsa

“This recipe is fantastic as a lunch meal or dinner, with poaching the fish it makes it a light and fresh dish. Salmon has a well-earned reputation for being a superfood of the sea; with its omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B and D alone without mentioning mineral benefits it’s really no surprise. Our guests all know that fennel is one of my all-time favourite vegetables! I think all wholefoods are superfoods but this little guy is something special.” James Knight, Executive Chef, Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat and Spa.

Serves 6


  • 6 x 140g pieces skinless salmon
  • 12 pitted green olives, sliced
  • 1 orange, skin and pith sliced off, flesh diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced finely, fronds included
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • a handful of mixed basil and parsley leaves, finely chopped (reserve a few for garnish)
  • ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp coconut nectar or crystals
  • Pinch of sea salt

To serve

Seasonal vegetables
Crisp green salad


Preheat oven to 180oC and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the pieces of salmon on the lined tray, sprinkle with lemon zest and juice and a pinch of sea salt. Cover with baking paper and ‘poach’ in the oven for approximately 15 minutes until fish is just cooked through, do not overcook or the fish will be dry.

Place the olives, orange, fennel, herbs, almonds, chilli and lime zest into a bowl and combine to create a salsa. In a jug, combine the lime juice, vinegar and coconut nectar. Pour lime and vinegar mixture into the salsa and season with salt.

Once the salmon is cooked, place salsa on top of fish and serve with seasonal vegetables and salad.

Chicken and avocado salad with Smokey potato wedges

“I love spring because it is the beginning of salad season! I get really excited about making salads; it feels artistic to me for some reason. This salad ticks all the boxes; it is filling and has a wonderful contrast in textures and colours. We are so fortunate to have avocadoes available all year round in Australia due to our climatically diverse growing regions around the country.” James Knight, Executive Chef, Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat and Spa.

Serves 6


  • 600g chicken tenderloins (or chicken breast cut into 2cm-wide strips)
  • Fresh herbs, such as thyme and rosemary, chopped finely
  • 100ml Dijon mustard


  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups wholegrain gluten free bread, cut into small cubes

Smoky potato wedges:

  • 3 desiree or kipfler potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika


  • 6 poached free-range eggs
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cos lettuce, shredded


To make the croutons, preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Put garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper in a large bowl and combine until well mixed.  Add cubes of bread and toss to coat. Place croutons on lined tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Stir croutons frequently while baking.

Reduce oven temperature to 180°C. Coat chicken in mustard then sprinkle with the herbs and bake for 8-10 minutes until cooked.

To make the potatoes wedges, boil or steam potato wedges for approximately 10 minutes until just tender. Cool. Place on a lined baking tray, sprinkle with smoked paprika, and bake for 15 minutes.

Divide salad ingredients between plates and arrange chicken, potato wedges and poached egg around and sprinkle croutons over the top.

Chef’s tip

For a vegetarian option use 300g firm tofu, cut into small batons. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of tamari over tofu strips making sure to cover tofu with tamari. Place tofu on baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in hot oven, approximately 200°C for 15 minutes or until firm then sprinkle over salad.

This article appeared in volume 2 of Signature Luxury Travel Spa & Wellness.