Numerous Culinary Nutrition Expert students begin our 14-week program with previous health and nutrition experience. Still, no matter how much is known there is always room for additional perspectives, enhancing knowledge, and more recipe inspiration! These are some of the reasons, especially the latter, that brought Yvette DuMouchel to the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program in 2018.
A solid nutrition foundation
Yvette drew inspiration from a young age watching her mother cook everything from scratch while working full-time and tending to their backyard garden. Her mom, originally from Ghana, cooked traditional Ghanaian dishes but also explored a wide variety of whole foods and recipes from cuisines around the world. There were no processed foods in Yvette’s home (she didn’t even try store-bought salad dressing until adulthood) and this planted the seed for what would eventually become a thriving career.
“Seeing my single mom cook every day for me and having that influence in my life was really amazing,” she says. “I really like cooking – it’s so ingrained in me. It’s in me to nourish people and feed people well.”
Yvette attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (CSNN) in 2008 and hit the ground running after graduation with a co-owned food business selling vegan snacks at local farmers’ markets in Vancouver. Not long after, Yvette decided to branch out on her own and become a personal chef.
She began to grow her in-home chef business, Food On The Table, which focused on cooking healthy meals and snacks for families. Based on popular demand, Yvette also added cooking and nutrition classes to her roster of services.
After nearly a decade of building a thriving business, Yvette felt she needed more formal culinary training and recipe inspiration to help her further support and nourish her clients. Her previous certification didn’t involve a culinary component, and she wanted to learn additional cooking techniques and perspectives.
Rounding out her education
Photo: Vairdy Frail
“I wanted a more well-rounded foundation for the information that I share. I like school, and I hadn’t done any education or training for a long time. I was excited about delving into food and nutrition studies. This program filled in some blanks for me.”
Yvette joined the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and dove into the content with gusto, relishing the recipe and written assignments, and learning how to cook for different dietary needs.
“I wanted a more well-rounded foundation for the information that I share,” she says. “I like school, and I hadn’t done any education or training for a long time. I was excited about delving into food and nutrition studies. This program filled in some blanks for me.”
Yvette loved the weekly cooking assignments, which inspired new recipe creations for her clients. She also enjoyed learning how to conduct thorough nutrition research, receiving support and feedback from a dedicated program coach, attending live Q & A sessions, and exchanging assignments with her Culinary Nutrition Expert Program buddy to test each other’s meal plan and recipes.
“I really loved it. As intense as the program was, it was completely manageable. With a young child, husband, full-time self-employment and general life stuff, I was still able to manage the workload,” Yvette points out. “In fact, it helped me to learn how to better manage and focus my time on important tasks.”
Yvette also enjoyed the support from and connection with fellow students online in the Culinary Nutrition Expert private community group.
“The group created a community vibe for that 3 months which made it more palatable,” she says. “When you realized there are hundreds of others doing the same as you, it made it easier and more fun.”
Culinary nutrition at home
Photo: Vairdy Frail
Like her own mother, Yvette spends a lot of time in her home kitchen passing along cooking skills and knowledge to her 7-year-old son, Bodhi. They frequently cook together; with Bodhi handling age-appropriate tasks and thoroughly enjoying the results. Yvette also shares the ‘whys’ behind their food choices, and she didn’t realize how much he’d learned until she taught a guest workshop at his summer camp in 2019 and he kept chiming in.
“I realized he absorbed so much, as he knew a lot of answers to the questions I was asking. It’s fantastic that he’s actually listening and taking it in. Kids really need this kind of foundation.”
“I realized he absorbed so much, as he knew a lot of answers to the questions I was asking,” she says. “It’s fantastic that he’s actually listening and taking it in. Kids really need this kind of foundation.”
Yvette has a passion for fermented foods, something she doesn’t get to prepare for clients due to the time (and monitoring) they require. Instead, she ferments extensively at home with Bodhi – he frequently asks for ‘gut shots’ and adores making sauerkraut (he even has his own sauerkraut nickname: Bodhi Bam Bam). Yvette has also taught a fermentation class to the children in their school pod, where they happily devoured fermented carrots.
“My son is my inspiration, and my goal is to provide the knowledge for him, so it becomes second nature for him too,” she says.
Expanding Food On The Table
Photo: Vairdy Frail
Since Yvette completed the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, Food On The Table has expanded to include another chef. Plus, she’s attracted more clients with health conditions who crave her nutrition knowledge and satisfying custom recipes that help them nourish themselves. Yvette now feels confident preparing meals for those with specific dietary needs, whether they are vegan, vegetarian, Celiac, diabetic, and more.
Ordinarily, Yvette travels to other people’s kitchens to cook using their equipment and storage containers, but the global pandemic caused a large shift in her operations, as it has for many small businesses. For months, Yvette wasn’t able to cook for others. Once certain restrictions lifted, she cooked for clients in her own home and delivered the food to them; and is now beginning to return safely to some people’s homes.
Yvette has plans to create an online course from her existing cooking classes and is teaching upcoming live online classes on culinary topics like meal planning, sauerkraut, and bone broth.
Entrepreneurship is not without challenges, but Yvette loves having her own business, helping clients, and the flexible, self-dictated hours that allow her to spend time with her son and absorb new knowledge.
“I love the freedom in it,” Yvette says. “There is a world of possibility within my business.”
Header Image: Vairdy Frail