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Nutrition Chat…

We’ve been chatting all things food and nutrition with CNM lecturer, natural chef and nutritional therapist, Olivier Sanchez...

Nutrition Chat…

My love of food began when I was growing up in France where I used to watch and help my mother cook from scratch every day. We lived in a remote area, so grew our own produce. It was completely normal to eat seasonal, nutrient-dense food, ripe from the garden. It was a shock when I first encountered processed foods upon arrival in 1990s London. Even today, I have my own small garden in London, where I grow food free of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.

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I trained for eight years in France to become a Michelin-star chef. I have now been a chef for 25 years, working for some of the world’s most renowned chefs. I separated from Classic French cooking 12 years ago, with its emphasis on rich food, laden with butter and cream. With health increasingly in mind, I became accomplished at preparing macrobiotic, true paleo, and vegan food. I then launched my career as a private chef. I have been in demand ever since, working for high-profile clients including royalty, celebrities and politicians. I’ve worked in many different places across the world including on board an aircraft and a superyacht! My client’s demand an amazing standard of food, delicious and immaculately presented. They’re also looking at keeping their figure, so they expect nutrient-dense food, which is where having nutritional knowledge comes in.

I’m not a vegetarian but I have drastically reduced my consumption of animal produce to once or twice a week, and focus on creating healthy plant-based recipes that everyone can enjoy.

I always had an interest in good food and its impact on health, intuitively seeing food as medicine. I had always wanted to study nutrition but chef training in France is very intensive, over long hours, and there was never time. I moved to London and set up my private chef business, then out of the blue I was approached by CNM, the College of Naturopathic Medicine, to become a cooking teacher and lecturer for a new course requiring my chef’s expertise. I agreed, and having found CNM, whose holistic food-based approach was just what I was looking for, I enrolled and at last set out to fulfill my ambition to become a nutritionist. Being a student again was amazing. I learnt so many new and fascinating things about food and its effect on the body, backed by science and traditional use.

I’m currently a private chef, and since graduating as a naturopathic nutritionist in 2016, I’ve been able to offer my clients truly personalised nutrition. I’m also seeing some clients purely as a nutritionist rather than a chef, but it helps of course, that I can inspire them with real recipes and ideas about how they can make dietary changes and still enjoy food. I also offer to cook their plan for them, from meals to healthy snacks, so they have nothing to do but enjoy healthy tasty foods, and follow the plan given.

The nine-ten month, part time CNM Natural Chef Diploma Course is ideal for anyone who wants to know how to prepare delicious gourmet meals with the focus on nutritional value, whether for friends and family or to make a career in natural food. The students are taught to use whole, organic, fresh and minimally processed foods in season which is something close to my heart. They gain an understanding of how the body works and the impact of food choices, and how individualised foods can enhance health. I personally teach cooking and cooking methods, knife skills, presentation, tastes and flavours. What I love most about teaching these skills at CNM is the enthusiasm of the students and their eagerness to learn. They cannot stop asking questions. I love the fact that I am able to share my skills and passion for good food and health as a whole.

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Dahl Curry with Coconut, Sweet Potatoes and Grilled Baby Aubergines
Ready in 1 HR 45 MINS
Serves 6-8

“There’s still a chill in the air, so this wonderfully warming dish is perfect. Best made the day before, and reheated gently before serving, you can make this recipe as hot as you can handle by adding cayenne pepper or chilli flakes. The recipe is rich in protein and fibre, and although suitable for vegans, its sumptuous taste will also be appreciated by others.”

500g green or brown lentils (puy lentils are ideal)
4 medium red onions
4 sweet potatoes
4 medium carrots
4 celery sticks
2 medium courgettes
1.5L vegetable stock
1 pea-sized turmeric root, freshly grated
2 cardamom pods
6 cloves
500ml coconut milk
1 baby aubergine per person

1. Prepare the lentils by rinsing then pre-cooking them for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse them again to improve their nutrient profile and make them more digestible.
2. Cook onions gently on very low heat with lid on, until translucent and soft.
3. Dice all vegetables into small squares (en Paysanne). Keep diced courgettes aside, and add the rest of the vegetables to the onions, with curry powder and spices.
4. Increase the heat a little and warm for about five minutes.
5. Set heat on high and add prepared lentils. Carefully pour in the hot stock and coconut milk. Season.
6. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 1 ½ - 2 hours, until all the liquid has absorbed.
7. 20 minutes before serving, grill the baby aubergines on griddle and finish cooking in the oven for 15 minutes.
8. Place the aubergines on top of the veg lentil mixture. Serve with a refreshing fennel salad tossed in unsweetened fermented coconut yogurt, lemon juice, cracked black pepper, and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.

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Olivier Sanchez lectures on The CNM Natural Chef Diploma. CNM is the College of Naturopathic Medicine, training students in a wide range of natural therapies. naturopathy-uk.com

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