Q&A with HelloFresh’s Victoria Robertson

23 October 2017 by
First published: 1 May 2017

Q&A with HelloFresh’s Victoria Robertson

Certified nutritional chef and head of culinary at HelloFresh, Victoria Robertson knows her way around a healthy dish. WHL caught five to talk convenient cooking, raw food and 2017 food predictions.

Have you always been interested in healthy eating? How did it all start for you?

No, not at all! I was always very active and never used to pay much attention to what I ate, I just thought it about calories in versus calories out and nothing else. How wrong I was! I came down with ME in my early twenties when I was on the trading floor at an oil company, working long crazy hours and eating anything I could find that would fill me up in three minutes – normally on the Tube or running to see a client.

I had a year off work (I could barely get out of bed) and did not get much better despite days and weeks spent visiting various hospitals and specialists – night sweats, extreme exhaustion, double vision and headaches. Not one to give up, I eventually decided to try to fix myself through self-taught Jivamukti yoga, meditation and overhauling my diet completely, going gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and plant-based (most of the time!) for six months. I don’t eat in such an extreme way now but I do truly believe that we are what we eat and try to eat a 100 per cent wholefood pescetarian diet these days.

How did the opportunity to become head of culinary at HelloFresh come up?

I left trading oil and moved to NYC to train as a chef. At this time I also trained as an integrated health practitioner, culinary nutritionist and yoga teacher. Studying at a school called Natural Gourmet Institute was incredible. I met some amazing people from all walks of life who truly believed in changing the world by learning to make healthy food delicious and sharing this knowledge.

Then I moved to LA and Japan, where I worked as a health chef before moving back to London (for love!) where I did a lot of restaurant consultancy for foodie brands and restaurants keen to get involved in the booming health-food market. I was contacted by a recruiter one day for the role of head of culinary at HelloFresh, popped in for a chat and the rest is history. I love my job.

Why is something like HelloFresh a good idea for those looking to start eating well?

HelloFresh teaches you to take wholefoods with maximum nutrition (e.g. onions, pulses, fresh fish) and create a delicious meal from scratch. We try to teach you the skills so you have the confidence to cook for yourself and your family at home. We want to show you that cooking can be fun, easy and delicious. Not to mention healthy.

What’s your favourite easy healthy dish?

In winter – wild mushroom pie with a crunchy parsnip rosti topping. It has 13 portions of veggies in it and is super-cosy, filling and the perfect comfort food for this time of year.

What’s your favourite treat food?

I am obsessed with my mum’s homemade apple crumble, which has a secret topping recipe that I die for every time.

You’re a raw food chef too. What are some health benefits about eating raw that people might not know about?

When it comes to raw food cooking, the golden rule is that nothing exceeds the critical 40-49°C temperature, hence all vitamins, minerals and enzymes remain intact. Raw foods essentially means maximum nutrition. When you consume nutrient-dense foods, you eat less in total because your body reaches its nutrient-band quicker. In this way, raw food actually promotes weight-loss.

Do you have any advice for people looking to try a raw food diet?

Start slowly and build up. Swap your breakfast for a raw smoothie packed with nuts and good fats. Then slowly add in lunch, which can be a big hearty salad, raw soup and raw bread, courgetti etc. Finally transition to all three meals per day (there are some great raw cookbooks out there). Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage it 100 per cent though. Britain is a cold country so I actually believe that a bit of hot food is good for you in winter – broths etc. Listen to your body. Seasonal winter British veggies such as sweet potato and parsnips are best cooked too. Eating seasonally is also very important for your body – food has the most nutrients at its freshest.

Do you have any food trend predictions for this year?

Technology. Everyone is talking about the impact technology is having in disrupting the food market – from delivery box companies, to genetic blood testing for optimal diet plans and waste apps such as Olio. With all of these technological advances, it’s definitely going to be an exciting year for food!

Victoria Roberts is a certified nutritional chef, certified raw food chef, certified integrated nutritionist and head of culinary at HelloFresh.

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