Be The Best You Can Be – Cassandra Austin – Australia
After leaving school at age 15 years, I began an apprenticeship as a chef. This was significant because, at that time, I was the only girl in my class at the technical college course and it was rare to have a woman working in a restaurant kitchen. In fact, during a work experience period, with a chef, he explained to me that he didn’t employ woman to work in his kitchen. However, I had a passion for working with “food” so I persevered and waited, until he gave me my chance. Despite these common beliefs, I worked my way through all the negativity and became dogmatic, through work, to achieve my goals. In time, my “dreams” were realised and I had my own restaurant and I became successful and respected in the hospitality industry.
Even though I had proven to the world that a woman could be a respected, and successful, restaurateur I started to notice that, firstly my body was reacting to the extremely, long hours of work. As well, I became, psychologically, exhausted because of the cumulative anxiety that I experienced worrying about maintaining my success. In retrospect, it was clear that I had no balance in my life but only obsessed with working harder. Consequently, I required medical intervention meaning prescribed medication, and counselling, to combat the anxiety/depression as well as the inability to control my weight. After some six months, I felt worse because I lost the energy I needed which meant a reliance on medications I had to maintain the work and, hence, the continuing success of my business. After some time, I began to reflect on my life, work and general health when I had an epiphany that would change me forever.
Successful people in life achieve their goals through hard work or by working smarter. I began to analyse myself and realised that I had proven myself, worked ridiculous hours but at the cost of my health. Proving myself to the world may have been achieved had I not “pushed” my body to exhaustion and ill health but, simply, may have taken a longer time. It was at this time in my life that I made the decision to change, be more proactive, and take more care of my physical, and psychological self religiously, I would eat a varied, healthy diet and began exercising by walking regularly, rejecting cigarettes in favour of attending to the needs of my body and my mind. From then I noticed that weekly changes in my life such as that I became fitter, stronger and calmer, more controlled, in my mind. Also I felt happier as I completely, changed my life but still managed the restaurant, taught commercial cookery at college level and judging culinary competitions. I recall people telling me I looked 10 years younger and I felt it.
As well as continuing my increasing responsibilities, I began doing charity work with the Australian Culinary Federation which I enjoyed and felt fulfilled, then I met my husband “also a chef” who purchased my restaurant so we could spend more time together. In recent times I have finished 8 years as part of the World Association of Chef’s Societies’, doing charity work as a committee member and regional representative of the Woman’s Leadership forum. As well I have been involved in contract consulting, recipes development, testing and costing together with the production of cook books and videos for my professional Industry, working and travelling the world with work and my husband.
Throughout my journey with food and a healthy lifestyle, I believe I have found strategies in developing better health and to reverse the deleterious effects of poor diet. By studying diet and nutrition, food psychology and wellness coaching, I have developed programs online or personalised, that include some 10 workshops to empower woman to learn practical, effective and evidence based skills to enhance your lifestyle. My commitment, and focus, has been to improve people’s lives by adopting the moto “Be the best you can be”.
About The Author
Cassandra joined the food service industry as a 15 year old, Women in the commercial kitchen were an anomaly 25 years later, she is an accomplished Chef, Consultant, Recipe developer, Culinary Judge, Women in the World association of chefs Societies Committee Member and Representative for the Pacific Rim Certified Food and Wellness Coach. With qualifications as a Commercial chef, Restaurateur and Teacher, she has now branched into Diet, Nutrition and Food Psychology, her niche in the market is supporting people, mostly Woman who want more from a healthy diet, eating, physical and mental concerns in a personalised and private forum.
Success came at a cost to her mental and physical health and after years of ignoring it. Through food and a healthy lifestyle, she has found many ways to reverse the damage and have a wealth of skills to help you cook yourself to better health.
She has committed to improving peoples life styles, networking and career opportunities for females struggling with health and general wellness “To be the best that you can be”.
“Cass is living proof that you don’t have to be one of the boys in attire and attitude to succeed in the culinary world. Whatever she sets out to do, she gets done.”
Inspiring Story | Cassandra Austin | Australia
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