Sitting at the helm of The Healthy Chef is Teresa Cutter. A skilled chef, nutritionist and qualified PT, the wellness mogul has built a successful business out of a longstanding passion for functional foods and a healthy lifestyle.
Not only is The Healthy Chef the first company to bring organic pea protein, wild-caught marine collagen and low lactose grass-fed biodynamic whey protein isolate (from France) into the Australian market, it is also a boutique publishing and media company that produces highly sought-after cookbooks (eight to be exact, with a new one coming in September). With everything done in-house, from creating recipes, photography, food styling, editing and design, to say that Teresa has mastered the art of entrepreneurship is an understatement. Here, she shares some insights into her career journey, the biggest lessons she’s learnt and what advice she has for others—including that of the 3 Ps; Passion, Patience and Persistence.
For those wanting to start their own business, what is your best advice to them?
Do something you are PASSIONATE about and follow that passion! Pick where you want to be and work hard to get there. And find a point of difference. Find your authentic brand voice, unique to you! I created The Healthy Chef brand out of pure passion. My love of good food and my search for better health were the driving forces. I wanted to offer the market the purest nutritional products… the best you could find in the world.
What has been one of the most challenging aspects of running a business?
Being patient! When I decide I want to do something I pretty much want it to happen immediately. Now I recognise that this is not always reasonable, and specific goals take longer to achieve than others. I have also come to realise that you can make patience work for you. Watch – listen – learn! And trust your gut instincts!
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt?
To be PERSISTENT, and to never give up. There have been many times I thought partnering up with a big publisher, or a company deal would eventuate and bring huge exposure and sales to The Healthy Chef. That hasn’t always been the case. My approach for these setbacks can be summed up with a very wise saying, “If at first, you don’t succeed; try and try again.” When someone tells me NO, it makes me even more determined to succeed! If the doors are closed, I bang a hole in the wall and build a new one, one where I HAVE THE KEY!
How do you maintain balance as a business owner and in what ways do you practice self-care?
I have to admit that I am a consummate workaholic! I genuinely don’t know when to stop. I have often run myself into the ground, which has had detrimental effects on my health and my partner’s. I have always worked hard, aimed high and committed myself to produce quality in all that I create. However, over time, I have come to appreciate that being kind to myself, and looking after myself with kindness improves my health, and elevates my productivity. My morning ritual now is a 1-hour walk around Centennial Park, before heading into Healthy Chef HQ. It’s my meditation and exercise rolled into one, and it honestly does wonders for my wellbeing. I also make sure to get 8 hours of sleep most nights. A good night’s sleep helps to boost energy and stabilises my hormones.
The functional food products I’ve created for The Healthy Chef wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for my small network of experts. They have advised me and been there to help me on this journey. It’s so important to learn from people that you admire and respect… there is always more to learn. I have four mentors: a medical professor, my accountant, my lawyer and my husband and best friend, Paul. Combined, they keep me balanced simultaneously inspiring and motivating me.
You’re still very hands-on with your recipes. What would you say your top 5 all-time favourite recipes are and why?
How would you describe your experience going from a chef to starting The Healthy Chef?
I got into health and fitness in a big way in my twenties while working for 5-star hotels in Perth. The hours were long, and I needed to find a balance to maintain my energy and focus. I started by going to the gym and getting into fitness figure, I placed second in Australia for the nationals in 1998. I went on to study fitness, becoming a personal trainer and followed this up with my nutrition studies at Deakin University, all while working part-time at the local gym. Ultimately combining my three passions: food, nutrition and fitness. After moving to Sydney, I built a beautiful café in Avalon Sydney, frequented by health-conscious individuals, supermodels and athletes including Megan Gale, Elle Macpherson and Kelly Slater. After 6 years, I sold the café and began working on my range of proteins and functional foods, which I was so passionate about at the time. I started with my range of Protein powders, I wanted a pure, clean protein that tasted delicious and supported my health. Ultimately, I created and designed The Heathy Chef to be a wellness hub. Food is the most potent preventative medicine we have to treat chronic disease and what we eat forms the foundations to our health. We have big plans for The Healthy Chef and aim to grow organically in the functional food sector as well as in the healthy cooking areas. Maintaining creative control is an essential part of this, as it’s important to know how and where your ingredients are produced: much like a chef picking vegetables from their organic garden. I’m always creating products that are unique, individual and the first of their kind. Recently I have worked on another project, The Healthy Chef eClinic, Australia’s first online Natural Health clinic, offering consultations with leading dietitians, nutritionists and naturopaths. I am also extremely excited about my new plant-based cookbook, which is set for release late September, early October. And as always, I am busy with new product development… so stay tuned for more! Teresa’s new book, Earth To Table is available for pre-sale in September. Visit thehealthychef.com to enjoy 10% off* all products. Enter SPORTELUXE10 at checkout. *Excludes all wellness packs. Offer ends September 1st, 2019.