Tammie Tsang, Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Chef
Tammie Tsang, Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Chef
Tammie is on a mission to empower and motivate others to be more conscious in their ingredient selection and have the confidence in their at-home-cooking all the while making it delicious.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to become a certified holistic nutrition consultant as well as a professional chef?
- What are the differences between being a professional chef and a holistic nutrition consultant? What have you found out by combining the two?
- As a mother yourself, what are some of your tips for parents who want to feed their children nutritious yet delicious food?
- Being a Retykle Ambassador, you care a lot about the environment. With food packaging being such a big pain point in the industry, do you believe there is a viable solution to be found?
- What is something people forget when trying to eat better not only for themselves but the planet?
Finally, what are some of your favourite Hong Kong restaurants you and your family like to eat at and why?
She is also a mother of one and a passionate and active member of the Retykle community as one of our Ambassadors.
Tammie has dedicated her life to being kind to the planet not only when it comes to the clothing she and her family purchases but also how they eat and live.
Furthermore, Tammie has worked at restaurants such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York (2 Michelin stars), the James Beard House in New York, as well as Grassroots Pantry in Hong Kong.
We spoke with Tammie and she shared with us when she fell in love with food and how she ultimately became a holistic nutrition consultant/chef as well as an advocate for better eating not only for health purposes but for the future of the earth.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to become a certified holistic nutrition consultant as well as a professional chef?
Tammie: I unknowingly fell in love with food when I was 7 years old when I moved to my grandmother’s. Before that, I was a sickly kid, but her delicious home cooking nourished me back to a kind of healthy and vibrant living I never knew before.
Fast forward almost three decades, I was fed up with corporate politics and my body was stressed by frequent travelling. So I decided to formally re-educate myself in something I’m passionate about. There was an adamant voice inside me saying that I had to understand holistic nutrition as much as I do food. And just like that, my new life began.
Q: What are the differences between being a professional chef and a holistic nutrition consultant? What have you found out by combining the two?
Tammie: In common terms, it’s two completely different perspectives. Chefs generally look to create the best tasting and looking food, at the best costs possible, and while food is a big part of holistic nutrition, it looks at things from a more biological perspective. I used to see these two things are not exclusive but I found as time went on that it is 100% possible to connect the two, and it is necessary.
When healthy food tastes and looks great, is familiar to your culture, or even those that don’t need to be healthy, want to eat it. My goal is to help people create long-term habits. I found that if food is easy, tasty, healthy, people tend to gravitate to that.
Q: As a mother yourself, what are some of your tips for parents who want to feed their children nutritious yet delicious food?
Tammie: I would follow traditional diets as much as possible while focusing on whole clean foods. And I define that, partly, as avoiding as much as possible, factory-farmed meats, industrialised agricultural products, synthetic chemicals (colourings, flavour enhancers, etc.), and refined carbohydrates like white flour and white sugar.
The list of what can make food nutritious yet delicious is endless; we can add a lot of umami with seaweed and mushrooms. Better sugar choices are coconut and maple syrup. And don’t forget the fat! Healthy fats from coconut, avocado, and grass-fed animals are all incredibly nutrient-rich and important for growing children.
Last but not least, don’t give up! It takes time to build habits. If kids say no once, try again in a couple of weeks, or serve it in a different way.
Q: Being a Retykle Ambassador, you care a lot about the environment. With food packaging being such a big pain point in the industry, do you believe there is a viable solution to be found?
Tammie: There are a lot of passionate people working on eco-friendly packaging solutions on a commercial scale. But, we, as consumers, also have a role to play. We can choose to buy foods with minimal packagings, like choosing loose vegetables and fruits over individually packed. Some organic farmers will send vegetable orders wrapped in paper instead of plastic.
And of course, we should reduce use before we recycle. Minimizing buying processed food also means less packaging and healthier eating!
Q: What is something people forget when trying to eat better not only for themselves but the planet?
Tammie: One of the common things I’ve seen is that people tend to focus on eating more plant-based. That’s a great thing, as research shows most of the developed world has a great demand for meat, where production has increased three times in the last 50 years.
However, while we are focused on being more plant-based, many conventional agriculture products - an ironic term for something that’s only been around since World War II - are from large scale industrialised farms, monocropping, which is a major contributor to environmental degradations, through its consumption of fossil fuels, topsoil, water, creating pollution in the air and water and also stripping nutrients from our soils. Buying organic can mitigate many of these issues.
Q: Finally, what are some of your favourite Hong Kong restaurants you and your family like to eat at and why?
Tammie: This is a trick question for a nutritionist because it is so hard to eat out healthily in Hong Kong! We don’t eat out often, and when we do, we try not to stress about it.
But back to the question, I had a very enjoyable, creative, contemplative meal at Sow Vegan, a seasonal tasting menu in an industrial building in Kwun Tong. I love that Locofama serves up delicious food while paying attention to health and the environment. Some other Hong Kong classics I love are Ho Lee Fok with Chef Jow (so sad he has left), Nhau, the Chairman, and a cheeky set lunch at Kyoto Joe is always a treat!