Dietetic Career Spotlight on Abbie Gellman, Chef, Culinary Nutrition Cuisine
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on MAY 29, 2017
Meet Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN, who has combined both her expertise as a chef and her passion for food and nutrition to cook for people while also coaching clients towards their nutritional health and wellness. Read on to learn more about her exciting job as a culinary nutritionist and how you can create this life, too. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I’ve always been interested in food and cooking, which started when I was in high school when I worked at a restaurant and a hotel. I went to Cornell University studying primarily business (specifically the hospitality business as a “hotelie” in the School of Hotel Administration), but took the Introduction to Nutrition course my freshman year on a whim. I was curious about nutrition and the human body. I loved it, but stayed where I was and went on to work in Hospitality and Food and Beverage Consulting and Equity Research on Wall Street for ~10 years.
During that time, I went to culinary school instead of business school and continued to think about nutrition and how to make a move. I knew that there must be some way to integrate my business background with culinary skills and nutrition, so I ended up taking the plunge 10 years ago and went back to school. It took four years to earn the DPD undergraduate credits, a graduate degree, and complete the dietetic internship, but I am thankful every day that I changed my career.
Your Job Title?
Registered Dietitian, Culinary Nutritionist, Owner/Founder
Company you are with now?
My own, Culinary Nutrition Cuisine
– Instagram: @CNC_Abbie
– Twitter: @CNC_Abbie
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
There isn’t really a typical day for me. I often do work for at least two different clients daily, plus my own projects for marketing, business development, recipe development, etc. – but that’s why I love it! I try to keep some things scheduled regularly, such as private chef clients, so that I can plan my other work around that. I also tend to work every day, at least for a few hours. On occasion I’ll take an entire day off, but will likely still post something on Instagram and Facebook.
The following list gives an idea about my work and some typical tasks, mix and match as needed:
- Private chef work (in clients’ homes and delivery)
- Recipe Development
- Nutrition Analysis
- Nutrition Consulting (a variety of client types)
- Teaching: primarily cooking classes and nutrition-based classes/workshops
- Speaking/Food Judging
- Counseling clients
- Social media upkeep and other media work
- Blogging, articles, photography
- Email/client outreach/business development
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Finding a place where I am able to use my diverse skill set and background was difficult, so I took the risk and created my own job/company.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I have always had a strong work ethic, an innate drive to succeed, and an entrepreneurial mindset. I tend to be more logical and analytical, which is why I feel right at home with nutrition science and finance, but cooking has always been a natural creative outlet for me.
I’ve had to learn photography, which is a constantly evolving skill, along with social media. Networking and putting myself out there is also something I constantly work on. Joining different groups and talking with RD’s and entrepreneurs regularly has helped tremendously.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Growing a business takes time, hard work, and motivation. Sometimes I have “work whiplash” and feel overwhelmed, but I am always 100% sure it’s worthwhile. I’m able to do what I love and am passionate about. Plus, I get the bonus of knowing I’m helping people, rarely get bored, and have some control over my schedule!
Having my own business means failures and successes, and learning from that is vital. It is important to be able to stay organized and juggle many different hats. I don’t ever fully “check out” –email, social media, jotting down ideas, contacting clients, etc. is constant. I often carry around a notebook to jot down ideas or email myself just to get things out of my head but written somewhere so I don’t forget.
One last thing that I’ve found helpful with the entrepreneur route is finding colleagues and practice groups. There are so many wonderful RD’s and professionals out there! It can be scary to network, but there truly are many people willing to help and they are all amazing resources!
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
I would love to be paid with pampering and peaceful quiet time. I love massages, acupuncture, and time for meditation and yoga and am constantly searching for time to relax, restore, and refocus. As a mom and entrepreneur, it can be difficult to find that. For something a bit more grand, add in travel (aka “mama-cation”) and I would be happy as a clam.