I’ve been a huge fan of Teresa Cutter and her real food website The Healthy Chef since her early days. I remember I always looked forward to Wednesdays to see what new Healthy Chef recipe had landed in my inbox. Teresa and I are very much aligned in our food philosophies – we both firmly believe that good food should not only be balanced and good for the body, but delicious too. Chef turned health and wellness ambassador, it’s no surprise that Teresa now has more than half a million views on her website each month.
I recently had the chance to interview Teresa and learn more about her love of sharing good food. The secret to her culinary success is to keep things simple. As she explains,
There’s nothing better than a simple piece of pan roasted fish, cooked to perfection and drizzled with fresh lemon and a little cold pressed olive oil.
How would you describe your personal philosophy towards food?
I believe in honest, natural food. I eat as cleanly as I can because I believe my body deserves the best nourishment it can get. It’s important to know where your food has come from and treat it with the love and respect it deserves.
I am not a fan of extreme diets or people who push strict dietary ideologies. I find that a lot of people stress over finicky nutrition details rather than focusing on the broader picture – that is, to eat natural wholefoods, focus on fresh fruit and veg and keep it simple. Learn to know how things are made and what’s in the food you create. Keep recipes simple, keep them fresh and make it yourself – which really is the secret to successful cooking that you can make effortlessly everyday.
On my website thehealthychef.com I always go on about making food yourself and knowing what’s in the food you eat and still to this day cooking to me is about the living essence of the ingredients, being lovingly prepared either by you or by someone who loves you that will nourish your body. My Healthy Chef philosophy is a realistic and sensible approach to healthy eating that will last a lifetime.
Who has inspired you most in your cooking?
My Polish grandmother is my inspiration. She told me when it comes to cooking, keep everything simple, clean and fresh and you can’t go wrong!
Describe a typical day of eating for you. What would it look like?
My typical day is designed around foods that help me to nourish and rejuvenate my body. I make sure I drink plenty of water throughout the day. I try and prepare every meal myself and listen to my body.
On rising - I kick start my digestion with 2 x glasses of water with the juice of 1 x lemon and 1 x wheatgrass juice.
Mid Morning – I have handful of macadamia nuts or some sort of trail mix.
Lunch – I eat a large salad with some protein
Afternoon – I have a Healthy Chef Goodness Shake to get me through to dinner.
Dinner - I up the protein with my Immune-boosting Chicken Soup – I love my soups.
Evening – I sip on homemade Lemon and Gingersnap Tea, which is perfect for aiding digestion after dinner.
As a foodie, what are your favourite types of food?
I tend to focus my recipes on plant based sources of wholefoods. I also keep my recipes simple, fresh and uncomplicated. I’m inspired by simplicity and chefs who cook pure un-udulterated food and utilize fresh seasonal ingredients. I’m not into food being played with or accompanied with too many flavours – there’s nothing better than a simple piece of pan roasted fish, cooked to perfection and drizzled with fresh lemon and a little cold pressed olive oil.
As a chef, what would you say are the main challenges restaurants face in providing healthy menu items? How can these be overcome?
The main challenges are keeping the quality standards in the food you prepare as well as proper training of the chefs and staff. I’m a foodie and I love to satisfy my yen for a delicious meal. You have to look closely at a menu and see past the micro sprinkle of chia to know how your food is being prepared. It takes a lot for me to trust a catering establishment. I look in the kitchen, check out the chefs and scan the oils and ingredients they use. Normally if the chef and owners behind the business are passionate, this will follow through into the menu and you can taste the quality. Normally my body tells me as I feel great afterwards and I’m energized.
Restaurants or cafes should not skimp on ingredients…buy good quality food and prepare it properly.
Tell us about your new book ‘Perfect Digestive Health’. Why did you write it and what can readers expect?
The inspiration for this book stems from my own journey and the hundreds of emails I receive from people on their personal quest for better digestive health.
It actually began as a simple eating plan but evolved into something much greater as digestion is far from simple. There are many contributing factors that affect digestion and it’s a process of elimination to discover what works for you and what doesn’t. Factors such as diet, food intolerances, stress, adrenal burnout, hormones, lifestyle, emotional disposition, anxiety, chemicals, parasites, bacteria, medications, relationships and sleep will affect the state of your health and how your body works.
This book shares the most important facts on how to achieve perfect digestive health. It will show you how to make positive diet and lifestyle changes that will help to nourish and support your digestive system for life.
What is next for The Healthy Chef? Can you share any of your plans for the rest of 2015?
I’m excited to say we’ve just launched The Healthy Chef products in New Zealand and we are launching in the US this year too. The brand is growing nicely and I’m designing some awesome products that I’ll be bringing out this year.
The Healthy Chef has also partnered with InterContinental Hotels Group, and I’ve created a collection of sixty healthy recipes exclusively for the fourth largest full-service hotel brand in the world Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts across Asia, Middle East and Africa.
It’s a great opportunity to be able to support guests and help them to stay healthy, productive and energized while traveling and working overseas.
What’s your favourite meal to cook at home?
I’m a big fan of eggs! Poached scrambled, smashed any which way……I love my Super Charged Scrambled Eggs which is in my Digestive Health Book or Mediterranean style dishes like ratatouille or a minestrone with vegetables of the moment.
What are some of your favourite restaurants / cafes and what do you like about them?
It depends what I’m after but the local hangout for me is Kawa Café in Surry Hills. They have a lovely menu and the staff are great! If I’m in my home town of Perth I love Greenhouse or Panache in the city.
Visit her website The Healthy Chef
Purchase her book Perfect Digestive Health