Abbie Gellman, MS RD CDN
CULINARY NUTRITION CUISINE
for something nutrishus
Abbie is a chef and RD that came across the series and reached out over facebook. It's exciting when fellow dietitians support the series and are excited to share the unique things they're doing in their careers. She is a second career dietitian and has the unique perspective of the hospitality world, plus if you follow her, you'll see all the amazing dishes she creates (yum!). In my mind we're lucky when such passionate people find their way to dietetics.
Why did you become a RD?
I first became interested in nutrition when I was at Cornell University completing an undergraduate degree in the School of Hotel Administration as a finance major. I was so curious that I took the Nutrition 101 course my freshman year and was the only non-biology student in a class of more than 500 students. I had to learn anatomy just to keep up with the rest of the class, but I loved every minute of it! I stayed on track with my business degree and ended up working in hospitality/food and beverage consulting and on Wall Street, but nutrition was constantly on my mind. I kept coming back to it and wanted to figure out how to help people in a more impactful way.
In 2000 I earned a culinary degree instead of an MBA, but stayed in the consulting and financial arena. At least once a quarter I would look at nutrition graduate programs and try to get the nerve to make a change. Then, in 2007, I decided to go back to school for a master’s degree in nutrition. I was finally ready to take a huge risk and start over with a different career that would sync up with my passions: food and nutrition.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
My work is primarily “culinary nutrition.”
How would you explain what you do?
I have my own business, Culinary Nutrition Cuisine, and provide a range of services that incorporates my RD credentials and my culinary background. Typical work includes recipe development, menu development, foodservice and brand consulting, spokesperson work, private chef work (primarily for people with health-related issues), nutrition analysis, writing/blogging, and teaching.
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
This changes depending on the day, client, and what else is going on. Sometimes I feel like I have “work whiplash,” but this makes it exciting and interesting! I have to be very organized and on point. Some “typical” tasks include cooking, recipe development, daily food/recipe social media posts, and researching trends.
What has been your career path?
I touched on this earlier…hospitality and food and beverage consulting, culinary degree, equity research on Wall Street, Masters in Nutrition and dietetic internship at NY Presbyterian, Culinary Nutrition Cuisine.
What advanced education or special training do you have?
I have a culinary degree and a Masters in Nutrition
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
I would love to say people will finally understand the difference between educated Registered Dietitians and those who call themselves health coaches, nutritionists, etc. I would also love to see a more widespread health food market in the hospitality industry – specifically, restaurants and hotels. It seems to be taking hold in packaged food and retail food outlets, such as grocery stores, but restaurants and hotels seem to be lagging behind.
What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?
I love food and love to eat! There are a lot of assumptions that I must eat “healthy” all the time, be a vegetarian, be super disciplined, etc. At the end of the day I’m still human and I prefer moderation with adequate amounts of indulgence every now and then.
What are challenges you encounter as a RD?
The most frequent challenge is that people don’t necessarily know the difference between a Registered Dietitian and someone with minimal or no credentials who is a “health coach” or “nutritionist.”
What is your favourite meal?
That is such a difficult question to answer, I love so many different foods! I’m a sucker for a homemade hearty piece of bread with cheese and fruit any day of the week. Right now I’m also loving hearty stews.
More about Abbie:
Website: Culinary Nutrition Cuisine
Facebook: Culinary Nutrition Cuisine
LinkedIn: Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN