I'm Jess, I am a Chef, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach and a Food Educator focusing on Food Security and Food Justice.
My goal with Whole Health Kitchen is to help clients to achieve their version of optimal health. Nutrient dense delicious meals are my specialty but I use a holistic, sustainable approach to my health and wellness practice to increase wellbeing for the longterm.
I would love to work with you.
Check out Whole Health Kitchens services page or reach out to learn more.
I have always loved food and cooking and as a former athlete nutrition, has always played a role in that interest. I began cooking like many others, with my mom in the kitchen. Food is a love language in our family and I remember how her food always made me feel. Now, my mom is no Michlen chef (no offence mom) but it was the love she put into her meals - her curry chicken so warm with just a touch of spice which made our house smell so good, these taco roll-ups things she invented for a quick meal - so basic, not even a bit authentic, but so perfect! Or my grandmas mac and cheese she would make - which I promise you is like no mac and cheese you have ever heard of (tomato juice is used...) but its absolutely perfect, exudes happiness and brings our family together. I knew from a pretty young age I wanted to cook. I wanted to make people to the eye-closed, smile, complete euphoria face when they ate my food. However, at the time I had another passion, basketball. So I went to Colgate University and played NCAA Division 1 basketball. While I was there I cooked for my roommates and being a top-tier athlete I started to understand more how the nutrition (or lack there of... it was college!) in my food affected me. Fun fact: In high school my pregame meal was chicken fingers and fries with a mango snapple from Hungry Harry's. I also incorporated food into my Sociology and Anthropology degree writing my Thesis on the addictive nature of fast food and the case in which someone sued McDonalds for their experience of obesity (I wish I could find that paper!).
After the birth of my daughter in 2016 I decided to leave banking and pursue nutrition full-time but something was missing. I knew inequity in access to food both globally and locally made "healthy" eating not such an easy idea for most. I knew when I was pushing "superfoods" for their nutrient density that it was increasing the price of those foods for cultures who have been relying on them as staples before we even knew they existed. Furthermore, some people in my field were even shaming people for eating foods essential to their heritage (ie. no breads, rice or even vegans attacking Indigenous Peoples for their hunting practices). It was clear my food education was not done. In late 2018 I began volunteering at The Stop Community Food Center. Being there I was finally able understand and connect my passion for food, interest in nutrition and desire for equity and justice. Shortly after I began the Food Security Certificate Program at Toronto Metropolitan University (Ryerson at the time) as it was clear my food education was not done. I was able to develop a deep understanding of the problems within our current food system, the intersections between gender, race and food access and the deep importance of the right of food for all.
After college I worked in Investment Banking (curve ball right?) I hadn't studied finance or been particularly interested in it but from 2008 to 2016 I was a banker. I met co-workers who became lifelong friends and some even more like family but the job was stressful (another fun fact: my first day in October of 2008 was one of the worst days for the stock market ever). In addition to the added stress of work, there was more socializing (aka drinking) and lots food, not so much nutrition. While working in banking I also decided to pursue my dream of going to Culinary School so I started at George Brown in their Culinary Arts Program. Although I loved every minute of chef school (I had been waiting to go all my life!) I was pretty stunned by the complete lack nutrition in the food we make. I wanted to cook food that was delicious, that brought pleasure but I knew I could do that in a more nutrient dense way then was taught at culinary school (and how its cooked in most restuants. Spoiler alert your food tastes good because the main ingredient is just butter haha). So still working at the bank, I started a certificate in Natural Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. There I was able to learn how our body systems are interconnected, and fully understand how the food we eat has a direct effect on how we feel. How we can use food as medicines to optimize our body function. And partnered with my cooking knowledge can consume these foods in ways that taste great!
In 2021 I helped re-write a course on Gender and Food Security (CFNY409) for TMU with my sections primarily focusing on the intersections of race and food insecurity. In, March 2022 I became a member of the Board of Directors at The Stop Community Food Center the place where my passion for food began to make sense.
Today, I am still providing Nutritional Consultations and Coaching to clients with a focus on fuelling their body, healing imbalances and managing disease with a holistic health approach. Using nutrient dense foods, that are first delicious, culturally appropriate and accessible longterm. Working as a team with clients to help them achieve their version of optimal health.
To learn more about me or see how we can work together reach out at anytime, I would be happy to chat!