Healthy chef cafe
Happy days: Teresa Cutter from The Healthy Chef Cafe in Avalon.
This cafe is fuelled by a healthy attitude, writes Grant Jones.
Life is a bit of a juggle for chef, fitness fanatic, keen cyclist, cookbook author and muesli maker Teresa Cutter. She bought into an Avalon cafe four years ago and has turned it into such a buzzing business on the northern beaches that she is now looking to open in the eastern suburbs.
Her Healthy Chef is a hangout for the likes of everyone from models Elle Macpherson and Megan Gale to surfers Kelly Slater and Layne Beachley. And it is as popular for its beautiful fresh and nutritious food as it is for the caffeine fix supplied via the 75kg of Campos' organic Fairtrade blend coffee it uses each week.
Blends such as apple, spirulina, mint, parsley and lemon juice go with a "Hubby special" of Sonoma grain toast, roasted tomatoes, avocado and poached eggs, her partner Paul's favourite breakfast.
A vegie burger is stacked high with a pattie of brown rice, tofu, pumpkin seed, carrot, sesame parsley, mint spring onion, tahini.
Even the egg omelet is impressive: rising in a heavy cast iron dish to keep it warm, it hides roast mushroom and tomato, topped with sliced avocado and melted cheese.
"Because you have to have flavour," explains the 43-year-old whose favourite pastime is road cycling with her mates on her Italian racer, a gift from her husband, a cinematographer when he is not taking still images for her cookbooks.
Soon after she bought the cafe, despite the healthy menu, the 18-hour days, seven-day weeks and no holidays started taking its toll.
"You want to do a good job and you want everything to be perfect but there comes a time when you realise you are not a machine and you go, 'If I don't do something I'm going to get really ill', so I had to hand over a bit of control."
And she has struggled with her own weight issues.
"Little pickers wear big knickers is my saying. You tend to put on weight because I was standing and eating. I was trained the French classical way. My fingers were being dipped into hollandaise, bernaise and veloutes and all these rich creamy sauces."
So she started a running club while she was still chefing.
"When people were going to drinks or parties or going out to nightclubs, we'd be putting our training gear on at midnight and going for a 10km run. That was the only way we could keep sane and keep fit."
Four years later she is approaching a September deadline for her new book, Healthy Chef 2: Food For Health And Wellbeing, a practical and appealing book of recipes.
She is also planning a line of health food products, after a toasted crunchy muesli won an RAS Sydney Royal Food Show Silver medal.
Magazine : The Healthy Chef – Teresa Cutter
The Healthy Chef, Teresa Cutter is one of Australia's leading authorities on
healthy cooking. Checkout the healthy recipes for people who love food.
"It's going to be pacey but it's going to be fun," she says of the next 12 months.
TERESA'S TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING
- Instead of butter and margarine, use fats that won't clog the arteries, such as olive oil, macadamia, rice bran or grape seed.
- Replace refined white sugar in recipes with natural sugars, such as grated fresh or dried fruit. "We reduce fat and sugar in muffins by adding a heap of grated apple to add moisture and sweetness."
- Use only cold-pressed flaxseed oil and olive oils for salads and dressings.
- Use wholemeal spelt flour instead of wheat flour in baking because it has a higher amino acid profile and is better for the digestive system. "It may cost twice as much, but what's your health worth?"
- Replace white refined carbohydrates (white bread, sugar, pasta, etc.) with low-GI high-fibre carbs such as fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains (oats, quinoa, wholegrain spelt, rye, soy and linseed) that contain more nutrition, keep blood sugars stable, keep you regular and fill you up.
- Use almond meal instead of traditional white refined, processed gluten-free flours.
- Ensure you add quality protein to a dish when designing a meal. It will keep you full and maintain a positive nitrogen balance to help preserve lean muscle, keeping your metabolic rate elevated.
Taste.com.au - The Daily Telegraph - July 2011 , Page 3