Not just desert: Nisrine Abouchacra turning her love for cuisine into a career
A little girl with big dreams, Nisrine Abouchacra always knew she would pursue her love for cuisine and turn it into a career.
Busy creating healthy desserts that are pleasing to the eyes and lips, Nisrine invites us into her kitchen for a small taste of what’s to come. Nisrine Abouchacra’s interest in food and fascination with cooking started when she was a child, and she began experimenting in the kitchen upon hitting her teen years. “I’d always dreamed of working in the food and beverages field – whether in a hotel, kitchen or having my own little coffee shop or bakery,” she reveals. Moving to Montreal to continue her education at university, Nisrine opted for landscape architecture as a major but quickly realised her heart wasn’t in it. “I wanted to interact with people,” she says, “and what better way than to share the international language of food?” With this in mind, Nisrine traveled to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu, where she earned her diploma in pastry. After working in France for some time and meeting the owner of Kitchen Confidential - a naturally healthy restaurant in Beirut - at a rejuvenation retreat in India, she was ready to take on the role of managing and baking behind the scenes at the small, new start-up. Creating healthy, gluten-free recipes has enabled Nisrine to open people’s eyes to a new way of living – eating clean and using natural ingredients. “It’s not only a job,” she states. “It’s a lifestyle, and it’s who I've become.” When she isn't in the kitchen at work, Nisrine can be found just as occupied in her kitchen at home. She explains that to her, healthy eating is clean eating. “I try not to compromise the tastes and flavours, I’d rather enhance them with natural ingredients and substitute the bad with the good,” she says. With these clever alternatives in mind, we ask Nisrine to share some more inside information. 1. Enjoy your food! As long as you eat in a healthy way, and abide by achievable limits you set yourself, there’s no reason for you not to enjoy your meals. 2. One, two, three - stop! Don’t count your calories. It can be very misleading to check the nutritional information to measure your calorie intake – a "healthy" snack might have the same amount of calories as an apple, however the nutrients found in the apple might be much more beneficial to your health (with the snack likely filled with unnatural and artificial ingredients). 3. A little fat goes a long way. Try to introduce healthy fats into your diet if you haven’t already. Nuts and avocados are excellent sources for the good fats your body needs. 4. Swap the sugar. Try to replace sugar with unprocessed sugars and fruits, and bake gluten-free goods with non-hydrogenated, coldpressed oils. 5. Organic Vs. Processed. While higher-quality foods may require you to dig a little deeper into your wallet, the benefits of a healthy diet for the mind, body and soul make it worth every penny.