Emery Chapman’s life work has been to use her role as an organic chef to spread greater awareness on the impact that sustainable food has on our own health and the planet. Emery is the owner and primary chef of The Harborage Inn located in Maine. She shares her journey with us plus her tips on eating well as a busy Beyond Mom. Emery encourages us to embrace cooking wholesome meals in the kitchen where deep connections and family traditions are born. And don’t miss a special bonus below, her delicious healthy magic bar recipe!
How did cooking become a big part of your life?
I grew up in a professional kitchen from the time I was a young girl. My father at one point worked as a chef and our family occasionally catered out of the home. Cooking was an important way our family connected. The daily sensory experience of touching, shopping, smelling and connecting with real food was a defining factor in shaping who I have become today. My dad showed me how to tell if fish was fresh or which cuts of meat would be the most flavorful. As a young child, this connection with food was my first real glimmer of a deep connection with myself and nature.
Self trained and fast forwarding after graduating college, I planned to go to cooking school in Italy. A well known chef in my region recommended I apprentice with him rather than spending my savings at cooking school. I spent my days working at the inn that my husband and I had just purchased and nights in the kitchen apprenticing. This experience played a pivotal role in shaping my relationship with cooking and food.
Since then, I have been the primary chef at our business The Harborage Inn with a focus on the importance of purchasing local foods and organic whenever possible. We seasonally serve a breakfast on average to 22-26 guests a day. As a business owner and organic chef, I believe we vote with our dollars. It is important to me to purchase and support sustainable foods. This is the heart of my life’s work especially as a mother. I feel a strong responsibility to spread awareness about the importance of eating well, the connection food has to our own health as well as the impact sustainable food has on the earth’s environment.
Why is it important to make sure we are eating well on a physical level and mental level?
The reality is we are what we eat. Neuroscientists are proving that there is a powerful link between our gut health and our human brain. Healthy bacteria are needed and required to keep the body in good health both physically and mentally. When we eat processed foods, this directly effects our gut health and can lead to a myriad of health issues. Hippocrates said, “Let the food be thy medicine and the medicine be thy food.” I truly believe this and am living proof that food can be a powerful tool in helping heal our body and maintain optimum health. I personally have recovered from a serious head injury which was an 18 year long journey to recovery. Food did and continues to play a crucial role in my healing. When we eat well and make an effort to source foods properly, we just feel better mind, body, and spirit.
How do we instill the love of cooking and good foods to our kids?
We teach our kids through our own actions how to connect with real food and cooking. If we are cooking and eating whole foods, we will teach our kids to do the same. I do not make special meals for my kids as they eat what we eat. I think the more we get cooking and say no to processed foods, the more our kids form a deep appreciation and connection to real food. I know this exposure highly impacted my own childhood.
The daily ritual of cooking, tasting and smelling healthful food cooked at home has lasting effects that they will then carry into their future. This is so important in a time where child obesity is the highest it has ever been. We need to be making these changes as the future of our society’s health depends on it. We impact change one by one. When we source our food sustainable, locally and eat real food, we truly empower our children and impact their health in a deep way.
What are the most important foods that a busy mom should eat?
I think a balanced diet is really important. Variation and eating seasonal foods keep the body balanced and aligned with nature. We do not want to be eating the same thing every day or repeating foods frequently. The body likes and flourishes with variation. We are also a quick fix society where meals are often rushed or consumed on the go. As a busy mom, I understand this so well. I would recommend trying to commit to at least one meal a day where you can sit down, slow down and enjoy a balanced meal.
I also think protein is really important for busy moms as it leaves you feeling full longer and can be a quick choice on the go. Raw nuts, hard boiled eggs, smoothies are just a few examples. Salads with grilled chicken or fish are great ideas. I believe eating wild caught fish once a week that has lower mercury levels such as haddock, salmon, flounder are very beneficial to brain function and optimizing health. My kids really love it as well and there are so many delicious ways to cook it. Recently, I have been really into taking organic collard greens or local nori and using them as a lunch wrap. You can fill them with hummus, veggies, avocado, sliced deli meat, tuna fish, smoked salmon, the options are endless. It is quick easy way to eat well and they taste delicious too.
What’s one myth about cooking you would like to demystify?
I think it would be the myth that cooking has to be complicated to taste good. Many people often feel overwhelmed and view cooking as a daunting task. All we need is a little organization, meal prep and the recognition that real food does not need a lot to taste delicious. My biggest suggestions for busy moms would be to take a day to grocery shop, make a rough meal plan for the week and then just commit to it. You do not need to be a professional chef to learn how to cook simple, gratifying healthy meals. In the time it takes to make some processed store bought meal, we can honestly make a completely nourishing meal from scratch. I teach free cooking classes on periscope and I show viewers regularly how this can be done. We absolutely need to get back into the kitchen and start cooking again because this is truly where deep connections and traditions are born for families.
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients” – Julia Child
Can you share your favorite recipe for Beyond Moms?
Healthy Magic Bars
These magic bars are so delicious and a quick source of healthy fats and protein. Perfect after a workout or when you need something on the go.
- 1 cup organic unsweetened cashew butter or nut butter of your choice
- 2 tbs organic coconut oil
- 1 tbs raw honey
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 2 packages of gluten free qia organic oatmeal coconut flavor
- 1 bar 85% organic dark chocolate melted
You will need a 8 by 8 square pan. Line the pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, add cashew butter, coconut oil, honey, pumpkin seeds, almonds, oatmeal and salt. Mix till fully combined. Then press the ingredients into the bottom of the square pan till evenly distributed. Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate ( chef’s note – you can also use two small pots of the same size by adding water into the bottom pot then placing the other pot directly on top. Place chocolate in the top pot and place heat on medium. Remove once chocolate is melted). Once melted, pour chocolate over the top of the mixture. Place in fridge for one hour. Once firm cut into squares and store in airtight container in your fridge. Enjoy!
My ebook can be purchased at : http://www.chefemery.com/ChefEmery-Ebook/1
I include my favorite go to products that I shop for regularly, my general grocery store weekly list, a schedule to organize exercise, life, meal planning, and cooking, plus more!!!
My Heartfelt cookbook can be ordered directly through me. Simply submit a form and I will send it right to you! http://www.chefemery.com/Contact/1