Interviewed By: Denise Ferreira EIC
“Everything happens in the fullness of time, so have patience” Introducing our next woman of influence with her very own quote~ Andrea Buckett
Ever meet someone for the first time and instantly say to yourself “she’s my people”? That’s exactly how I felt when I first met Andrea. I haven’t met many people who have measured their achievements by doing something they are passionate about. From sharing her love of food, teaching people that cooking shouldn’t be complicated to bringing people behind the scenes of what she does every day, Andrea’s achievements have been done because of her passion and with the decision to try!
On top of being an amazing chef, Andrea is a strong advocate in women’s health, fitness and well-being. She helps us understand that food can be enjoyed without guilt and that ‘healthy’ is not achieved by narrowing our food groups.
One of the things I love most about Andrea is that she just says things as it is- no sugar coating, not frills but every single time you spend time with Andrea you will always walk away having learnt something and this interview is no different. She shares many words of wisdom with us, words that you know have taken her lifetime to learn.
Who is Andrea Buckett?
I am a creator and connector and my medium is food. I run a food communication business in which I develop content (recipes, articles, videos, television segments, radio) for myself and brands. Some of my clients have included Loblaws, LCBO, Canada Beef, Kitchen Aid, McCain, McCormick’s, Canola growers to name a few. My work has been featured on television across Canada, in print and on the web. I’m also a chef for one of Canada’s largest food companies’ executive teams, George Weston Ltd. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook or on my website.
You always say “if you love to eat, you can cook”- what makes you say that?
Cooking doesn’t have to involve a full out traditional one protein, two veg and a starch. Meals are so much more fluid these days. Ingredients are accessible and many of them can be found pre-prepped (what a time to be alive!) If you love to eat, and I mean who doesn’t, it’s easy to find solutions to cook for yourself and your family. As with anything it may take a little planning and thought but if you love to eat chances are you will find a delicious way to feed yourself.
What is your favorite food to cook and why?
This is like asking a painter what their favourite colour is. It’s a hard choice. What I can tell you is that growing up in Toronto with its rich multi-cultural fabric had a real influence on me. The flavours of different cultures always enticed me. From Greek, Indian, Italian, Jamaican Ethiopian I was always enamoured by the common threads of cooking and the flavours that set them apart. For that reason, I’m a big fan of introducing multiple flavours into my cooking. In fact, the first party I ever catered (I was 18 and my best friend was having a party) I cooked from scratch sushi, dolmades and spanakopita, Thai chicken satays with peanut sauce and baba ganoush. For me it’s not about “what” my favourite food is but my approach. I always lead with flavour but do so in a fun and approachable way.
You have a educational background in Health Sciences, tell us more about that and how that plays a role in your current career?
I have always been a bit of a science geek and I loved learning about the human body. Food is inextricably linked to the body and you can’t talk about one without the other. My degree in health sciences really laid the foundation for my deep knowledge about food. As a person who background gives me the ability to answer much broader questions about food and adds a depth to my food expertise.
As a women’s advocate for health, fitness and body positivity what is one message that you would like to share with the women who are reading this right now?
Love your body right now. We all look at pictures and think “wow I wasn’t as (chubby, skinny, short…..) as I thought I was back then. You’ll look back on pictures of you today, in 5 years and say the same thing. Stop the craziness and guilt around food, enjoy a meal without having to explain to everyone around you how “you’re going to work it off” “it’s a treat day” Stop using your food choices, whether its veganism, keto, clean eating to look down on other people.
Move your body because it feels good and because you want to have more energy and age gracefully. It’s okay to want to feel better, so figure out what that means for you and commit to yourself.
We love that Yoga is such a big part of your life and have taught it for 4 years, tell us what you love most about Yoga? And what advice would you give to someone who wants to try it but never has?
There are so many lessons in a yoga practice that can be translated into everyday living. One of my favourites is that it’s really just you and your mat. You shouldn’t worry about what the person beside you is doing, focus on yourself. Yoga is a balance between strength and flexibility and it’s okay to be better at one than the other but always work to get better at the one that’s more difficult for you. During difficult poses you really have to hone in on your breath, breath, this is helpful when life throws me stressful situations. If you are just starting out remember this “It’s called yoga practice, not perfect.” It’s okay to be a beginner. If you tell me you’re not flexible, I say “that’s why you are doing this.” Encourage and have patience with yourself like you would a child. If you are worried about other people, trust me, they are way to focused on themselves to worry about you.
You are an executive chef, recipe developer, TV personality, content creator and more- how do you manage it all?
I’m basically a goddess and have all my shit together lol – NOT. Listen, there is a trade off for everything in life. There have been years where I have worked so hard on growing my business that I let my exercising and self-care take a nose dive. I’ve been so stressed out that I yelled, screamed and cried. Creating content and sharing yourself is so rewarding but can be equally as exhausting. At this juncture in my career this is how I manage.
- I buckle down and work consistently on projects that I love. I have learned to stand up for myself.
- I don’t do housework (except dishes I do so many dishes) my kids are older and they have chores they have to do (read “I am telling them every day what to do). I also have a service that comes in twice a month to clean my house – life changing. I have never done my husband’s laundry because we both work and do your own damn laundry.
- My husband and I are true partners in every sense of the word and he does the lion share of hockey and football runs. I am so in love with my husband and we spend our weekends hanging out (teenagers sleep all day anyway) exploring the city and brunching. He is my favourite human (other than my kids.) and making time for us has always been a priority.
- I don’t do everything for my kids, I am raising them to be self-sufficient humans so… I make them responsible for their own selves and they are part of the household team. I’m the manager and they are active players.
- I find time to exercise and currently those exercises are lane swimming, weights, dance classes, walking my dogs and yoga.
- I only spend time with people who give as much as they take. Friendship is a two-way street and my time is precious. I hate small talk so if we can’t have a real conversation I’m out. I’m also more of an introvert than people think.
What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your career?
Everything happens in the fullness of time so have some patience. 20 years ago I wanted the career I have now but it took time. Time to learn my craft, grow my confidence, learn to ask for direction, learn who I was – so many things. Loving what you do and the process because the more successful you get the harder you work. Don’t take yourself so seriously and be your authentic self. It’s ok not to know exactly what you’re doing and who your authentic self is, this is a journey not a destination so be open.
What advice would you give to an aspiring food blogger/content creator?
Don’t overthink everything, just start somewhere and carve out time to work. It can be 2 hours a day or a week, just start. Put your head down and do the work, consistency is key. Sometimes that consistency can take years, it often does. It’s ok to look at what your competition is doing but don’t get bogged down in that, learn what you need to and move on. Don’t partner with brands just because of the money, its transparent and your audience can see right through you. If you want something ask.
I have so many so I have to give you two!
“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them”
“One of the oldest and most generous tricks that the universe plays on human beings is to bury strange jewels within us all, and then stand back to see if we can find them”
Both from author Elizabeth Gilbert – BIG MAGIC
Facebook: Andrea Buckett Cooks
For some of her amazing recipes- checkout her website: Andrea Buckett Cooks