Today The School of Artful Eating talks to Michelle Gan. Michelle is currently studying to be a dietitian in Australia. For those of you who do not know what a dietitian is, their job is to help heal people through adjusting their diet. Besides having a passion to help people improve their health, Michelle is also passionate in another area of food, that is to garnish it! So in this brief interview, Michelle tells us why she is studying dietetics, how she developed her interest in garnishing food and how you can start learning how to garnish your dishes too.
TSOAE: So you’re currently studying dietetics, what made you decide to study dietetics and what do you hope to do when you finish?
MG: I am very lucky to grow up in Malaysia, where it has often been described as heaven for food lovers both local and abroad. We are just so spoilt with the diversity of food here. It doesn’t take an adventurous traveler or food enthusiast to appreciate Malaysian food. There are just so much to choose from, whether traditional or modern cuisines, deem to satisfy the choosiest tastes buds. Restaurants open very early through wee hours in the morning. There is food for every budget. You cannot just stop eating while you are in Malaysia. As a child, I didn’t quite understand why these fatty or salty foods were so bad, or too much for that matter until the day my grandpa had a pretty severe stroke. Knowing my grandfather’s love-to-eat lifestyle and how it affected his health, my family and I realized that this wasn’t the road we want to take. Thankfully, my grandpa’s health condition got a lot better when our whole family changed to a more active and healthy lifestyle. This motivated me to become an advocate of health, telling people the importance of good nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
Studying in Australia has provided me an opportunity to expand my field of view and explore another part of myself. Through the years of volunteering and teaching in Sunday school at the church, I realized I really love working with children. There will always be new experiences and every day will bring something new. I love to see their enthusiasm when it comes to food. Therefore I would like to be a paediatric dietitian some day when I finish studying. I would think the reason is that, when giving health care to the kids, you are helping an entire family.
MG: As a child of the 90’s, I grew up watching Disney movies and I love them so much. I could watch them over and over and never get bored of them. Sadly, I was never a good drawer. I could never draw my favourite Disney characters out of my head. But after looking at the cute food created by some food artists, I felt so excited that I was able to make food into cute shapes, or even my favourite characters, Mickey and Minnie. This has been my passion for a while. It may take a longer time to make the shapes, but it is just so satisfying when I see cute food on my plate.
TSOAE: Where do you get the inspiration for your cute food from?
MG: Thanks to Instagram, I found quite a number of food artists around. The ones who inspire me are Samantha Lee and Littlemissbento. Their food art is just too cute and delicate. I love every small detail of their creation.
MG: Follow your heart and make what you are passionate for. Open up your creativity and imagination. Make every simple ingredient possible, and remember not to waste food or spend too much money in buying them.
MG: A healthy dish should include a good variety of nutritious food (a well-balanced diet). A healthy dish should make you happy and healthy from the inside out.
TSOAE: Thanks Michelle!
For those of you who would like to join Michelle on her food garnishing adventures, you can follow her on Instagram. If you know someone who might enjoy reading this article too, why not share it? Just use the share buttons below.