Teresa Cutter grew up spending time with a happy and healthy influence, her great aunt and uncle who had their own vegie garden and cooked everything from scratch. “I remember helping my aunt prepare food and cook in the kitchen from when I was very young: making cakes, peeling potatoes, picking strawberries from her garden and collecting the wonderful organic eggs from her chickens. They were fit and healthy, very liberating and supported everything I wanted to do.”
Inspired to be healthy and encouraged to have fun, the lessons she learned years ago are still with her now. These days, Teresa still plays with food creatively, regularly updating her Healthy Chef website and tirelessly inspiring others to take up a healthy lifestyle.
Your aunt and uncle sound like great mentors. What was the best advice they ever gave you?
To be myself and to be happy in whatever I wanted to do. My aunt was a strong, determined and rebellious woman; I think a lot of that rubbed off on me growing up.
It sounds like you had a great childhood watching the seasons evolve in the garden. Why is it important to eat seasonally?
Eating seasonally is the best way of getting great-tasting produce. Foods that are grown and picked naturally have just the right balance of flavours and nutrients. I love knowing where my food comes from and how it’s grown.
What are you cooking today? Anything new?
I’m baking my homemade apple pie this afternoon in the test kitchen. It has gorgeous new season apples and quality wholemeal organic spelt flour and rolled oats in place of refined white flour.
Sounds divine! Actually, sounds just as healthy and fresh as all the other recipes on Healthy Chef. How do you hope to inspire others this way?
By posting recipes every week, I want to teach people how to cook purely delicious food that is good for you. As a chef, it’s also a great vehicle to teach people basic cooking skills, such as poaching an egg or making pastry from scratch instead of buying it. Cooking is wonderfully therapeutic; it brings people together and creates fun and laughter. Think of how your grandparents used to cook and try and recreate a little of that experience.
What do you always have on hand in the kitchen?
I always keep green vegetables, organic eggs, almonds, lemons and a cold pressed olive oil. You can create lots of meals with just a few basic ingredients.
Tell me about your delicious book The 80/20 Diet and the philosophy behind it.
In a nutshell, it’s about eating well 80% of the time and 20% of the time enjoying a little indulgence. It’s a sustainable way of eating that won’t blow your health regimen and you can still delight your tastebuds by indulging in chocolate cake every now and again.
Chocolate cake! What a relief…
Of course! Having balance in your diet is key to supporting your body. I was a pastry chef in my twenties surrounded by the best chocolate and pastries. I tasted everything and still managed a healthy lifestyle. Eating good food is a pleasure and it’s not about denial; it’s about portion control and being in tune with your body.
Check out www.thehealthychef.com to find Teresa's recipes, as well as links to her books and supplements to pep up your next green smoothie.
Kitchen Farmacy Editor Kris Franken