About Guaya Gourmet:
Like the goddess, Jubchas Guaya, Guaya Gourmet is about love and rebellion in the kitchen. With these qualities, the gourmet in all of us is born. Cooking with the finest ingredients as Mother Nature intended foods to be; unadulterated, whole, natural, beautiful and full of integrity, yields delicious and nutritious meals. Eating well is essential for our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being. Guaya Gourmet is about bringing joy into the kitchen and to the table through the food that heals and satiates us.
Food heals. Food sustains. Food is love! Follow your adventurous heart into the kitchen, cook fearlessly and become a Guaya Gourmet!
In a nutshell: Mom, wife, health-supportive chef, dedicated yogi, teacher; passionate about family, food and health, cooking, baking, traveling, writing, reading, learning!
A bit more in depth: Before becoming a mom, I decided to change careers from teaching English as a Foreign Language overseas and in New York, to cooking as a health-supportive chef. I love teaching. It is a calling for me and though languages, communication and bridging cultural gaps fascinate me, it was time for me to follow my other passion: food.
A series of events landed me in the Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute. The curriculum is primarily plant-based which, as a vegetarian for nearly a decade, was very appealing. (I fell off the vegetarian wagon while in school…it was bound to happen!) It is the ONLY culinary school which equips you with the skills you need to be a professional chef, but also places great emphasis on whole, organic foods and their effect on health and healing. I needed healing and I knew that food and changes in my diet would be the gateway to that healing.
After culinary school, I interned at Il Buco in NewYork City under the incredible Chef Ignacio Mattos and the wonderful Pastry Chef Ella Schmidt. I learned that despite being in an urban environment, serving high quality food from local sources was not just possible, but that it encouraged creativity in the kitchen. I later volunteered as a chef/educator at several events such as, Food Solutions at Urban Zen. From there I finally made my way into the private chef world where I would consult and cook for clients with various cancers. It was very fulfilling work and seeing the effects food had on my clients was nothing short of amazing.
First trimester nausea forced me out of the full-time kitchen. To be honest, it immobilized me! I couldn’t even practice yoga (my asana practice anyway), which has been my spiritual discipline for over a decade. Everything changed quickly and dramatically to accommodate the little bean that was now growing. When 2nd trimester bliss began, I took clients who had an interest in learning about food and cooking and how they could change their diets to be healthier and happier. As a teacher, this suited me fantastically. The kitchen became the classroom and I tailored classes for my clients based on their conditions ranging from cancer to weight loss. I also gave workshops on various topics to groups of people.
My bump and I worked hard and throughout my pregnancy I also spent a lot of time on foods and fertility, prenatal and post-partum nutrition and now foods for babies and toddlers. I was blessed with inspiration and creativity!
Since Claire Berlin was born, I have become a mom before anything else. Spending time and energy learning about my daughter has been the most challenging, rewarding and fascinating experience. We’re learning how to navigate the kitchen together, whether I’m wearing her or spontaneously dancing for her, we’re there cooking together. This blog is how I’ll teach my daughter about food, where it comes from, how to cook it and how to share it. It’s also how I’ll keep up with work for now, until I’m back in the teaching kitchen!
In addition to the posts I get up, hopefully at least once a week, I’ll be working on pages where you can go for basic information on grains, beans, knife skills, etc. I hope to grow the pages as I develop and post recipes, but I ask you to be patient with their development. In exchange for your patience, I’d love to know what else you’d love to read about. Whether you’re about to give birth (or already have a house full of kiddies), training for a marathon, new to a specific dietary plan (vegan? paleo? GF?), looking for wellness and healing or looking to shed a few pounds, get in touch and let me know what and how Guaya Gourmet can help.
Also, I love and value feedback because I’m constantly looking to improve what I do and how I do it. Please comment on my recipes and posts and let me know what foods and recipes you’d like to see posted, too. Thanks!
And, thanks for reading!
If you’d like to contact me, please feel free to leave a comment on the Guaya Gourmet Facebook page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on twitter @guayagourmet and on pinterest.