Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I am a culturally Episcopalian, yogi-Buddhist, professional baker, chef and registered dietitian. I was raised by an Episcopalian priest and an artist (my dad actually has a masters in sculpture as well). They gave me a foundation of creativity, independence and something profoundly spiritual and compassionate that I couldn't fully articulate until my 30's. I have spent my life saying yes to experiences and being grateful that every moment is a gem that should be savored. I teach people about nutrition, health, food and food politics through cooking, baking, counseling and eating together.
What are your passions?
My passions are vast! I love food, physiology, bicycling, yoga, rock-gym bouldering, eating and hanging out with friends (which sounds like a "throw-away" answer, but truly, my friends, their children and my community are paramount).
Tell us about your journey as a baker and dietitian.
I have thought about food (eating it and making it) since Kindergarten. I still remember making yeast rolls by myself for the first time when I was probably eight or so. I have notes from as far back as elementary school listing random details that I wanted to include in my restaurant one day. I realized that I truly identified as a baker when I was applying to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for college. Before that moment, I guess I hadn't fully recognized the difference between being a chef and a baker. While I was at the CIA, I discovered a love for nutrition and kept going to school for the necessary science degree to become a registered dietitian. I have been kneading and molding the two career paths together ever since.
I moved to Austin in 2008 because it spoke to my value system and sensibilities. Here, I have found and cultivated the most caring, creative, thoughtful food community. The cornucopia of jobs I've had fall under a broad umbrella of food and nutrition – a short-lived stint as a direct care staff at an eating disorder treatment center, five years as a corporate chef for a tech company, food stylist for commercials and photo shoots, personal chef, and freelance nutrition counselor. But, my true passion and trajectory has been to open a bakery. I can thankfully say that I will launch a bakery trailer in 2018! I'm looking forward to having a place to blend my passions and philosophies.
What is your philosophy about the way people relate to food and diet?
Daily interaction with food is arguably the most universal, visceral, and personal relationship that every human being experiences. Some people get to choose what they eat from among nearly all the options on the planet. And some people, unfortunately, (and unnecessarily, from a political standpoint...but I'll leave that soap box for another blog entry), struggle just to secure their next meal. But, at the end of the day, every human in the whole world spends at least some time every day thinking about, or trying not to think about food. Given that fact, it is my hope for every individual to find mindfulness, joy and stability, combined with education and balance relating to food and health.
My food philosophy is: satisfaction through balance. By incorporating as many vegetables, legumes and whole grains into my recipes and limiting the use of animal products, I'm able to maintain a food variety and nutritional balance that all bodies love and crave. My creativity with cooking and baking comes from asking myself, "What do I want to eat? And how can I be emotionally satiated by food while packing as many micronutrients into the meal as possible?" You may be surprised to find that once you lower sugar and fat in everything, your tastebuds adapt to, and love, the natural balance of macronutrients that already exists in the unadulterated ingredients. Cooking and baking should be fun and experimental. I like to teach people how to accomplish eating healthfully without the stress many people experience.
What’s been your favorite part so far about working in your field?
The instant gratification of food is my favorite. Someone enjoying food what I've made is one of my greatest joys. Hospitality and caretaking is innately satisfying to me. And cooking or baking something that is made mindfully, with ingredients that are healthy and responsibly sourced, is next level satiating.
What services do you offer?
I provide a range of food education services, from basic nutrition education and nutrition counseling to hands-on learning with cooking and baking classes. I appreciate and help at all stages of different learning curves, from shopping at the grocery store to basic knife skills. I enjoy providing the literal and metaphorical tools to help people enjoy every aspect of food.
How can people connect with you?
Because it's 2017... "social media"! I'm on Instagram as HannahBakery, as well as Facebook. My website is www.HannahBakery.com.