A Conversation with our Chef Prema V. Souza
Q.Chef Prema, I know your name means Love – which I can say, having had the privilege of indulging in your superb cuisine, carries into your work – you definitely do embody a holistic lifestyle – how does love carry into your work as a Chef and a Nutritionist?
A. My love of food stems back to when I was a child. My father was an avid gardener and wherever we lived he would always plant a beautiful thriving garden of varied fruits, vegetables, and fresh herbs. The opportunity to truly appreciate the time, care, and effort it takes to grow ones own food highlighted the difference flavor-fresh organic produce makes in preparing a meal, as well as the nutritional and medicinal value provided in those ingredients.
With every meal created I truly consider the person the meal is being prepared for. I have come to understand food is the building block to our physical body; and thriving relationships and nature feeding our soul; it only makes sense that the overflow of love translates to my food. Every dish I create is made with intention and love towards the person I am nourishing.
Q. In the short time I have known you it is clear you are indeed whole-heartedly passionate about nutrition & food as fuel. What ignited your passion for nutrition?
A. Although I remained a vegetarian as a teenager, I allowed myself to indulge in sugary processed “foods” for a season. This gave me a chance to see the other side of the “food” spectrum. Exposure to fresh ingredients and health conscious individuals made me very aware of natural foods from a young age. The way my body felt being fueled by nutritionally dense foods as opposed to processed “foods” reinforced the need to continue to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Q.There is a lot of talk and information out there about nutrition, but not all that much about food as fuel specifically. Can you tell us more about this?
A. There is so much confusion these days regarding diet, nutrition, calories, fats and proteins that people don’t know what to believe. From my personal experience and through my studies and research, what I have found to be the most effective, is a diet based upon bio-individuality.
What works for one person, may not have the same affect on another. Some individuals do well on a diet that incorporates dairy, while another may not. Similarly one individual may function best on a high protein diet, while another may not need quite as much.
Food as fuel can be multi-factorial, evolving and ever changing i.e. male, female, age, blood type, ethnicity, latitude, longitude, dietary requirements and restrictions…. the list goes on.
Important Note from Chef Prema: By sticking to just a few simple rules, optimal vitality can be reached. A consistent lifestyle high in vitamins and minerals, such as seaweeds, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, are just a few of the abundant variety of pure and natural foods that truly fuel and rejuvenate. Stay clear of highly processed food, trans fats, white flower and sugar. Avoiding these from your diet are the key components to a healthier and more efficiently fueled body
Q. Can you explain the importance of color in foods we prepare & serve at our tables?
A. Well, they say that you first eat with your eyes…. I couldn’t agree more. When a dish is prepared with intention, and is plated nicely with a variety of colors, ones mind becomes excited, and feels invited.
Q. When asked for your choice of a, “perfectly balanced & excellent body fuel” course, you chose these two dishes below. Take us through your creating process.
A. First and for most, when I prepare a meal, I love to highlight all the natural beauty and nutritional value that comes with the vibrant color of foods.
When I see color, I think anti-oxidants, polyphenols and photochemical.
Next, I think of a healthy balance of vegetables, whole grains and protein.
So, with all of that in mind, I am excited to chose for you:
Sesame Encrusted Baked Organic Tofu Drizzled with a Thai Style Almond Sauce Accompanied by Citrus Splashed Purple Cabbage Soup…
Shopping Tip from Chef Prema: Whether you know the nutritional value of specific ingredients or not, you can follow this rule of thumb – when it comes to vegetables, color equals vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Q: It has been such a pleasure spending time and learning from you Chef Prema. Any closing pearls of wisdom to our readers?
A. Yes! You don’t have to be a nutritionist to be healthy, just try and eat an array of colorful vegetables daily, and you will be on your way to a healthier, more beautiful you!
Brava Prema! Remember whenfood is bought, prepared and served with conscience consideration for your entire body and overall well being – food will become your body’s fuel – and you, dear reader, will feel recharged & alive with sustained energy and enjoy an improved complexion as a result!
What’s On Our Vanity ?
“My JK7® routine is to first wash my face and neck with JK7® Face Wash, then I use a wonderful Facial Scrub, also by JK7® with Vanilla Bean & Bamboo Powder – my favorite. Depending on the weather and how my skin is feeling, I moisturize accordingly. The JK7® Rejuvenating Serum is a treat! ”Chef [email protected]
Until next time, from all of us here at JK7® Luxurious Natural Skin Care – A Hui Hou & Aloha.
Prema Souza is currently a personal chef at The Sullivan Estate and JK7® Spa Retreat, since 2012. Her specialties consist of vegan, vegetarian, and farm to table meals with a focus on nutrition and holistic healing. The framework of her cuisine stems from the mindset of conscious eating. Passionate about food as medicine and fuel Chef Prema focuses the components of her dishes on their healing properties while incorporating the rich colors, textures, and flavors of seasonal local ingredients. Certified in Holistic Nutrition and a Health Coach from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, wellness and health have weaved the fabric of her philosophy translating into each of her creations.