I fell in love with cooking as soon as I was tall enough to reach the stove. On any given evening, I could be found at my father’s side, eagerly watching his every move.
My early days of eating were not always the healthiest. Like most busy families with two working parents, there wasn’t always time for made from scratch meals. We were often eating convenience foods like Rice-a-Roni, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, American Singles, bologna and hot dogs.
In 1996, as a sophomore in high school, I borrowed a vegetarian cookbook to learn to prepare more vegetable dishes and got more than I had bargained for. The introduction of the cookbook talked about factory farming, hormone injections, and the effects of all this on the human body. I finished reading through the book, picked out some recipes I wanted to prepare and declared to my family that from this day forward I was vegetarian.
However, vegetarian still did not mean healthy and I carried my poor eating habits over into college. My meals often consisted of creamy pasta dishes, processed veggie burgers, French fries, pizza and Doritos. Also, I had another vice freshman year: vodka, and sometimes Bacardi. I hadn’t just gained the infamous “Freshman 15”, but probably closer to 30 pounds that stayed with me the next three years.
As I became more familiar with being vegetarian, and started living outside the dorms, my experimentation and creativity in the kitchen blossomed and I was relying less on pre-packaged foods and more on vegetables and grains made from scratch.
In 2009, I decided to finally follow my passion for cooking to Bauman College in Berkeley, CA. My education at Bauman College changed my eating habits for good. Not only did the program teach me the practical and technical skills required by professional chefs, but also focused on the idea of eating for health by teaching the foundations of holistic nutrition. Through the program, I learned not just how to make a meal taste good and look nice, but also learned health benefits of the ingredients we were using.
I now fully understood and embraced the importance of whole food, plant strong meals. In addition, I also learned how to cook for people with dietary restrictions and food allergies (gluten free, soy free, sugar free, etc.).
All of this knowledge is incorporated in my own way of eating, and in the way I prepare food for clients, as well as teach in my cooking classes.
When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2011, I became even more focused on nutrition, and the importance of food for health. Not wanting to rely on medications to treat my condition, I sought out natural remedies for controlling my illness. This eventually led me to seek certification as a health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to help other busy professionals improve their eating habits and manage stress, fatigue and/or digestive disorders, by making small dietary and lifestyle changes that will yield big results for their over all health and wellness.
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“With Christine’s guidance, I have learned that becoming a truly healthy person takes life balance (which as a working mom with a one-year-old is not always easy to accomplish!), and now, my entire family is eating cleaner, getting more exercise and just taking time to breathe. I’d highly recommend working with her!”
– Ashley Owens
“Thank you for the time and detail your put into our class. On behalf of all of us, we really had a lot of fun and I think graduated leaps and bounds with this lesson. Opening up a world of new kinds of cooking for us. Thank you again. Looking forward to the next session.”
– Tracy O’Connor
“I cannot recommend lessons from Chef Christine enough (and I’ve taken several in town) She is far and away the best Vegan cooking instructor I’ve ever seen and I would not hesitate to send anyone I know interested in healthier cooking her way!”
– Taylor Clearman
“Thank you, Chef Christine, for everything. Your skill with food is commendable, and your professionalism took all the stress out of
planning a dinner party. We look forward to working with you again!”
– Jacqueline Jones
“Oh my word. Everything was SO good. Even the non vegans were raving about her food. She is really innovative and brings in so many surprising flavors. They couldn’t believe it was vegan! The cashew cheese was my favorite, closely followed by the quiches.”
– Susan Varizi
Located in Santa Monica, CA 90405 and serving the Greater Los Angeles area.
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