Wednesday, June 26, 2024
HomeWorkHow I went from a chef to a nutritional therapist

How I went from a chef to a nutritional therapist

Eloise Schwerdt, 33, lives in Frome, Somerset. She is a chef and nutritional therapist.

I became a chef when I had just turned 20. It wasn’t until later that I became a nutritional therapist.

Having travelled around a lot I fell in love with learning about food, different cuisines, flavours and ingredients.

Gradually I began working in cafe and deli-style eateries until I was offered my first professional chef job as chef de partie at Petersham Nurseries in London, where I worked for a few years. I then when into private catering while continuing to do stints in different restaurants around London and further afield.

My career as a chef

Among those I worked with in the early days of my cooking were Skye Gyngell, Greg Malouf, Darina Allen and Rory O’Connell.

It was inspiring being around such passionate and dedicated chefs and foodies. Working in restaurants is hard but so inspiring. You learn so much on the job and from being around different people. It’s exhausting, but rewarding.

Read more: How an apprenticeship led me to become an award-winning chef

How I found being a female in a male-dominated domain

I was lucky as when I worked at Peteraham we were 50/50 male/female, which isn’t always the case.

There is a lot more respect in the workplace now. I imagine it can be tough without the balance but it depends so much on the individuals.

Becoming a nutritional therapist.

I naturally wanted to expand my knowledge and understanding of food. To educate myself about the right way to eat for my body.

Being surrounded by home-cooked, delicious-yet-indulgent food all the time was sometimes overwhelming! Also, cooking can be physically demanding, I was interested in going back into education and opening up the door to a different style of work.

As a nutritional therapist, I aim to treat each person on an individual basis, delving deep into the history of each client’s symptoms with the intention of treating the root cause of a symptom. We put together a plan based on this evaluation which includes dietary and lifestyle changes as well as any necessary supplements.

Food as celebration

I’ve always been interested in food but didn’t really know I wanted to be a chef until the opportunity arose.

Food has always been a great celebration. I have loved cooking and eating for as long as I can remember, always on the lookout for the next new or traditional flavour combinations.

My mum was a great inspiration for me as a child. It really helped to have her cooking great food throughout my childhood.

When I was 15 my parents bought a smallholding and started growing vegetables and raising livestock amongst beekeeping and producing apple juice which was really inspiring to be around.

Setting up Eloise Eats

It must be about 10 years ago now! I had a different name before but this one has stuck. It makes sense.

I love making people happy by sharing good food or helping them with a nutritional plan.

I love working for myself and having the ability to work when I want but also the option to take time off when necessary.

Building relationships with clients, variety and having the creative and scientific elements is also very necessary and rewarding for me.

My advice

Make sure you do everything to the best of your ability. When catering for an event in a private house I will aim to leave it cleaner than when I started.

Every little thing is noticed so it’s important to be cool, calm and collected. Preparation is key for a good and steady flow in service.

With nutrition, I would say it’s important to maintain a good connection with fellow practitioners, as well as continuing to educate yourself through reading current and up to date research.

Believe and you can achieve

Keep at it, there are always moments it feels overwhelming trying to grow and achieve but as I remember the hardest part was actually not knowing what I wanted to do.

Once I was offered the opportunity to work my first restaurant job, the rest just developed naturally – alongside the hard work and determination, but it does get easier!

The hardest part is the beginning. Believe in yourself and you can achieve whatever you want as long as it’s something that inspires you. This will give you the drive to carry on when times feel tough!


Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments