About Jenny | Holistic Chef, Educator & Health Coach
Growing up in Southern California, I was always active—surfing, volleyball, softball, sailing, summer camp, cooking—you name it. I was a born and bred "DO-er", and rest was most certainly for the weary in my family. I am grateful that all of the activity kept me out of trouble, but into my late teens I had already begun to see the tremendous negative effects of stress on my body—chronic fatigue, transient thyroid imbalances, and a total inability to relax. Honestly, at 17 I was in tears from stomach pain and was skipping class to sleep in my car.
I had been a vibrant teenager who ate well, whose mother lovingly and naturally birthed her, admiringly breastfed her, and refused gratuitous antibiotics. No doctor had answers to my symptoms, so they set me on an endless dose of Prilosec, and sent me on my way. This is an all-too-common tale.
Into college, it only got worse. Stress from school and my parent's divorce led to silent battles with disordered eating and a pretty deep depression that I kept hidden from everyone. *That was a lonely and hopeless place.*
At 20 years old, something started to change with my first restaurant job at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. I was mystified by what Alice Waters had created—a full-blown mecca for impassioned eating. I was truly humbled and honored to be part of that family, and decided that if I wanted to surround myself with that beautiful food, grown by dedicated farmers, cooked by the most talented chefs, that my relationship with food and my health needed to shift. Even though cooking had been a part of my life long before my first restaurant job as a busser at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, it was working under Alice Waters and her incredible staff that inspired my obsession with quality ingredients, whole foods, slow-cooking and eating to heal.
While working at the restaurant, I began cooking part-time with former Chez Panisse cook, Emily Su. She was cooking for clients who were on a variety of highly restrictive therapeutic diets, and I quickly got on board. As a teacher and mentor, she taught me the importance of having fun and being flexible in the kitchen, and how truly delicious healthy, nutrient-dense foods can be. It's not about always following a recipe, but rather using your intuition, thinking on your feet, and using the best ingredients you can find to make food that's incredibly flavorful and healing.
I became certified as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach in 2016, and am enrolled in the Functional Nutrition Alliance's Full Body Systems program. I believe that Functional and Integrative Nutrition are helping to reshape our relationship to our bodies and the healthcare system, and am honored to be an advocate of these growing movements.
Contigo Kitchen in a Nutshell
I hope that this website and business serves you as a source of support and inspiration in your own wellness journey. My goal is not to "help" people, but rather to run a business doing what I love. In the process, I hope that you'll be empowered by our work together, by way of your own experiences, by your own journey, to make lasting changes. Whether I'm cooking for you, teaching a class or coaching, I'm with you.
What is a Holistic Chef?
Taking into consideration one's diagnosis and symptoms as well as environmental, emotional, and physiological factors, I look at the bigger picture of an individual's relationship to food. From there, we work together to see how food & improving digestion may play a role in one's healing process. Organic, local and sustainable ingredients are used to create recipes and meals to meet clients' specific needs. I'm totally, 100% into empowering clients to eat and create home-cooked dishes that are not only delicious, but healing.
We believe that sourcing food as thoughtfully and locally as possible this is paramount to cooking the most delicious, nutrient-dense foods. Check out Alprilla and Iron Ox Farms for more information on their CSA's and farmer's market appearances.
Hi! I'm Jenny Byrne, holistic private chef and health coach living in New England. I'm obsessed with cooking delicious, healthful foods for clients and my lovely family. When I'm not cooking, you can find me reading cookbooks, snuggled up with my partner Alexis, our pup Sergent Scraps and Remi the cat.
I look forward to hearing from you. You can always reach me here, or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .