Michelle

CHEF

I'm curious about the space where art and functionality collide. I studied design at Central Saint Martins in London, however, my interests always gravitated towards health and wellness. During that time I experimented with many different 'diets' and was very aware of how different foods could affect me beyond the the realm of just gaining or losing weight. I later went to culinary school in Dubai and found that cooking bridges the space between wellness and creativity; you create to nourish! This has always been exciting for me. After culinary school I apprenticed for a summer at Benu; a three Michelin star fine dining restaurant in San Francisco. Working there taught me discipline, however, I craved something more grounding. I moved to Argentina to work at a horse and cattle ranch that was also a boutique hotel. The focus for this year was on how our food comes into being. Everything we ate and created was sourced from our farm or local farmers, many of whom we had personal relationships with. Through working in a commercial kitchen and having to eat foods I didn't usually eat, I pinpointed my gluten intolerance and could trace many previous ailments to my ignorance of this. This made me more determined to turn my focus to allergy free cooking and baking. I returned to my home town (Dubai) and worked as a pastry chef in two health food cafes, one of them being Dubai's oldest alternative wellness centre. I believe that people shouldn't feel they are sacrificing taste to be healthy. I went for years believing I had to deprive myself of cake, pancakes and other desserts in order to be healthy. Learning to make these things using whole food ingredients was a revelation that I feel quite passionate about sharing.

My Wellness Tips

  • 1 A good rule of thumb for water consumption is: Body weight in kg = number of fluid ounces of water to drink per day.
  • 2 Read labels and watch out for words that really just mean 'sugar'. Some examples of this are: corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, evaporated cane juice, malt syrup, barley malt, rice syrup and barley malt. 
  • 3 Despite some controversy, ghee is a very healthy fat! Good quality fats have many roles in our body: they provide sustainable energy, they form lipid bilayers that are the membranes of our cells, they create hormones, they aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K), they serve as protection for our organs, they increase satiety, they allow for the proper use of proteins and most importantly, they make food taste good!
  • 4 Lectins are carb-binding proteins that present themselves in varying amounts in different food groups. They are considered anti-nutrients and may be partly to blame for the rise in food intolerances. Millet is one of the few grains that is extremely low in lectins, making it a very gut friendly alternative to grains like wheat, rye, oats and corn. 
  • 5 The Glycemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrates in terms of how drastically they affect your blood glucose levels. Choosing lower glycemic options such as honey and maple syrup are better than using white or brown sugar because they affect your blood glucose levels less.
  • 6 Free range or pastured eggs have a much higher quantity of vitamin A and vitamin E. They also have a favourable ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids - a skewed ratio of these fats can cause unnecessary inflammation. 
 
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