People ask me all of the time – What does it mean on your card – Chef & Environmental Consciousness…. I answer quickly with I’m a Chef that focuses on Healthy Organic Whole Food and I care about what happens in the environment – I use Local Products and I care about my impact on the environment. That’s the quick answer and for some people it is enough to answer their question for others they sit and we discuss philosophy more and some it stresses them out.
The quick answer is not complete or the full answer as to my “Why”. Why do I care about Nutritious Food? Why do I care about Local? Why do I care about my impact on the environment?
Here is the longer answer (if you want the complete story ask me when we are together and I’ll tell you everything). I hope to get to the point before you lose interest and stop reading.
I come from a large family – large in many ways – Large in Numbers and Large in Size. I’ve had high cholesterol since the first time it was measured at 18. I spent most of my life avoiding anything yummy to eat and any wine – exercising 2-3 hours a day and keeping my weight down. In 90 I had cancer and survived (caught early during normal annual check up – no matter how much you hate the doctor – do your annual physicals), in 92 my mother died of cancer, in 98 my brother died of a drug overdose and lost my grandfather later that year, I had received a huge promotion also in 98 – so things were picking up. I had endometriosis for many years but in 2000 I ripped my rotator cuff and finally when in therapy any time I did anything strenuous, I would hemorrhage. Time for a hysterectomy. In late 2001 I received another promotion – more global position so travel kicked in. Business Class Flights, Business Dinners, Hotels, etc etc – I gained over 150 lbs. WOW….
Around 2009 – I started to realized that – whatever this had become it was not healthy – the job stress was more and more – I started to think it was time to leave – then I received a bit more of an Influential job within our business and I was rejuvenated. in 2012 I again started to think maybe it was time to do something different. But I loved what I did, my customers and my team. I started to think back to my roots – I had been a Chef for 20 years. I always knew Organic Foods were better. I exercised more – lost 40 lbs in a year. Lost 40 more at one of those medical weight loss centers. I soon determined that rapid weight loss was not good and went back to basics. I gained 20 of those 40 lbs back and continued down the past of healthy eating and lifestyle.
Last year became the time – corporate and I parted ways. Finally I had time to think about what I wanted to do – After all I had survived Domestic Violence and went back to school when I was living paycheck to paycheck not always knowing where the rent was coming from and got 3 degrees. Raised my kids, put them through college and survived/overachieved anything life had tossed at me. I’ve always thought – what could I do to help others? What impact can I have on being better with our carbon footprint?
Chef Jennifer Chapter 3….. My kids picked the name Witnessing Nature – after all I had always cooked organic food when they were at home and they reminded me that when I took them hiking etc that I had always made them pack out our trash and any that we had found along the trail and we always recycled even if we had to drive it before we had city containers. Witnessing Nature In Everything was born and became the overall Brand and my Personal Chef, Meal Plan & Catering became Witnessing Nature In Food. Hence the Birth of my future self. Chef Jennifer Chapter 3 (or if you hear my friends – it is also Chef JJ or Jen J)
Have a conscious approach to our community through food and what we put in and on our bodies. Creating a more healthy and happy life while being better to the environment through our approach of organic / biologic food, cleaning, and personal products that we use in our every day lives.
Teach how to have fun cooking with clean organic food
Create and Maintain relationships with family, friends and the community through providing clean organic food
Provide clean organic food through Personal Chef and Catering Services
Educate on environmental consciousness for local sourcing, food, personal and cleaning products
Why Composting and Compostable products? I want to ensure I provide a smaller carbon footprint in environment. Any food that is provided by Witnessing Nature In Food is Locally Sources as much as Possible and provided in Compostable (made of sugar cane or palm leaf) or Recyclable Products. Any cup, plate, silverware, napkin, etc etc. I compost through RecycleCity here in Phoenix. This way I can ensure that I am supporting local businesses and having a minimal impact on the environment and whatever I leave with you if you do not compost, products are going to the landfill will breakdown easier. If you think that compostable products are tons more expensive than sturdy heavy duty disposable ware you get at the market – I can assure you the impact on cost is minimal but the impact on the environment is great. My question is why not compostable?
Why Locally Sourced and Organic? I travel the world and while I do bring some things back – it is things I cannot get locally here (chocolate especially – no one makes chocolate like Europe) – Most of our produce is brought to us by truck and more than 500 miles away – Transportation companies hold product in warehouses until they have a full truck to bring to our markets. Many times it is 10 days from pick to being in the supermarket. Organic products would show up at the market already spoiled – so you have to know the chemicals used in order to keep them fresh – fresh in the market on Tuesday (sales start then) and also fresh when you buy them on Friday, Saturday, Sunday (typical shopping days) and also then a week in your fridge. When I lived in Europe and every time I visit I buy my produce, meat, cheese etc every 2-3 days because that is how long it will last. When in the US – I shop at the farmers markets around town, what I cannot find there I get at Sprouts, Whole Foods, or Natural Grocers – although Fry’s Market Places (the large ones) are starting to have quite a bit of organic produce and sustainable fish. Costco is doing a good job with organic products as well Organic Chicken is generally 2-3$ less a pound than other stores. But I ramble now. Why Locally Sourced & Organic – #1 – Fresher products without chemicals making us in control of what we put inside of our bodies & #2 – Supporting Local Farmer and sources so we can have a wonderful Sustainable Community. Pay attention to the EWG – Environmental Working Group – Buy Organic especially for the Dirty Dozen. Also are organic products more expensive – many times yes but now not as much as 2-3 years ago. As long as consumers keep leveraging the weight of their spending power in organic, sustainable methods and companies – these prices will keep coming down.
While I cannot control everything in the world – I CAN Control What I put in and on my body. This means also replacing all personal products so they are free from harmful chemicals – I buy from Companies that register with the Environmental Working Group and have a ranking of 1-3 – maybe 4-5 if the only issue is fragrance. I especially love my Beauty Counter products – they are always working with the Government to improve listing of ingredients and banning of substances that all other 1st world countries have banned for over 10 years. I figure if Nicotine and Birth Control Patches can be absorbed into my skin so can other chemicals so why would I do that? There have even been ECO Friendly Nail Polishes created and Hair Salons (you don’t want to see my white/red/brown patches) – plus I still like being a Girly Girl – but a healthy one. Do you want to know where you can really save money by removing chemicals from your life? Household products!!!!!!!!!! You can create drain cleaner with baking soda and vinegar! You can disinfect all of your surfaces with Vinegar without having to worry that your rinsed off the chemical so you do not ingest it (I spent $3.47 the other day at CostCo on 2 Gallons of Vinegar) (side note make sure your surface can survive it – I wouldn’t clean my Travertine Tile Floor with it – simple water and dish soap works for this). You can remove all of the dryer sheets from your life by including 1 Tablespoon (more if a large load) of Vinegar directly in with your detergent (put in the bleach dispenser) – you won’t have static cling nor the odor. Use olive oil to clean your stainless. Anyway save all of that money here and instead visit your Local Farmers Market and spend it on Locally Sourced Organic Foods. You won’t regret it one minute and you will have fun hanging out with the food trucks enjoying time with the family and selecting fresh product. Hopefully I have not bored you – but instead inspired you to treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated and inspired you to get rid of those chemicals from your life. After all as I said – I cannot control everything in the world BUT I CAN control what I put in and on my body. Same goes for you.
By the Way – 87 Lbs Lighter and a Shit Ton Happier!
It’s What’s in the Food that Matters – Eat Organic!
Have a Wonderful Day!
Chef Jen J
Witnessing Nature In Everything
Witnessing Nature In Food