img_1092I’m a (mostly) healthy chef and Integrative Nutrition health coach. Kale salads are my best friend and if I could sleep at my yoga studio, I would. But balance is what makes the world go ’round, and sometimes there is nothing better than digging into a steaming bowl of spaghetti carbonara, or turning juicy peaches into a bubbling cobbler (and eating it with plenty of freshly whipped cream, of course!) I have lived, cooked, and eaten my way around the world, including Italy, Portugal, The Philippines, and Singapore. The amazingly vibrant flavors – while vastly different – share a common denominator: the ingredients are locally sourced, humanely raised, harvested at their peak, and enhanced by the terroir of the place. Thus my cooking philosophy is this:

Start with the best ingredients possible…

This means that I buy local, seasonal ingredients whenever possible, and I avoid GMO, chemically laden ingredients as much as I possibly can. I put a healthy spin on mostly everything, but I also know when you just have to go all in.

I got my feet wet in the kitchens of my mother, grandmother, and aunts – wonderful cooks who saw to it that all family gatherings were amply supplied with delicious homemade food for our large, rowdy, and hungry family. I went on to cook professionally in kitchens from NYC to Italy. The bulk of my experience has been in catering, and I spent many years executing farm-to-table catered events in the greater Boston area. I’ve now planted roots in Saint Petersburg, FL and am excited to be joining it’s burgeoning culinary scene. You can find me cooking for private events, teaching in-home cooking classes, and helping my clients learn to eat empowered – be it for dietary restrictions, freedom from yoyo dieting, or for better health and vitality.

There is power in food. But cooking can be exhausting! On your feet for hours on end, bending over a hot flame or cutting board, trying to remember every last component that goes into a dish. When catering during wedding season, I’d often finish out an 80-hour week with an 18-hour day, setting up mobile kitchens, hauling coolers through rocky fields, putting out fires (figuratively and literally), and leading a team of chefs working tirelessly to cook the perfect meal on the perfect day that the bride had dreamed of ever since she was wearing a tutu in the womb. Exhausting? Yes. But worth it when you see the smile on the groom’s face as he watches his bride savoring each bite? When the happy parents give you a hug and tell you it was the best meal they’ve ever had? When the guests don’t have to go to the McDonalds drive-thru as soon as the wedding’s over? A big, OH YES! As chefs – whether you cook professionally or are a busy mom trying to get dinner on the table, we know how much work cooking can be. But we also know how rewarding it is to see family and friends  – or sometimes strangers, gathered around a meal, sharing their lives, with full bellies and smiling faces.  We set out to nourish the body. We also nourish the soul.

When I’m not cooking and coaching for my day job, you can find me reading Prevention, attempting (and usually failing) at the perfect warrior 3 pose, wandering through the produce stands at the farmer’s market, and in the kitchens of family and friends testing out new recipes. And traveling whenever possible! My best inspiration comes from traveling, as I explore a new culture through its food. Traveling allows me to experience the beauty and awesomeness of God’s creation – breathtaking vistas, spirited people, intricate creatures, and yes…indigenous bounties of fruits, vegetables, and seafood. And I can’t just keep all I see and do and eat and cook to myself…I return excited to share all I’ve learned and discovered with whomever has the appetite to try it!

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