Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietician, food writer, blogger and video content producer for her blog and YouTube channel Abbey's Kitchen, where she shares her healthy recipes and nutrition information. I'm very passionate about cooking, nutrition, and all things related to food so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with this fellow foodie and get to know Abbey better. I'm happy to introduce her and share her story with you.
Abbey speaks so passionately and authoritatively on the subjects of food and nutrition that you can tell she's working in the right profession and loving it, but it wasn't always obvious to her that this is where she would end up. Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Abbey was heavily involved in theatre and television, and travelled all across North America working as a professional singer and songwriter. So when it came time to enroll in university, Abbey went into a musical theatre program with intentions of later going into teaching. It was an anatomy course that she took and loved that changed her educational path and she switched over to a kinesiology program, but in order to do so she need to go back and complete the high school science credits that she was lacking from having previously focussed heavily on arts courses. Taking these science courses helped define for her that it was the nutrition aspect of anatomy that she loved the most, and so she finished her studies with a degree in nutrition at Ryerson University.
At the same time as she was working towards her university degree, she picked up night courses in culinary arts at George Brown college to expand her culinary knowledge. She also did a year dietetic internship before getting her license to practice. When not studying and working, she loved going out to eat and experiencing Toronto's hot new restaurants. Her passion for eating made her the resource among her friends and she was often asked for recommendations on where to go out to eat, and it was her friends who eventually suggested that she start a blog for this purpose, hence Abbey's Kitchen was created and became a fun side project while she studied. It was a post-university graduate program in sociology at the University of Toronto where her study focused on a gendered approach to eating when all of the pieces fell into place for Abbey, and she knew she wanted to direct her energy on food, nutrition, and, most importantly, on encouraging a positive approach to people's relationship with food, so she left the sociology program to make a career in blogging and media. I'm happy to share that Abbey is celebrating her fourth year being full-time with Abbey's Kitchen! 🎉
I appreciate Abbey's healthy, positive approach when it comes to what we choose to put in our bodies – she doesn't demonize certain ingredients and doesn't believe that there are bad foods out there but that everything should be taken in moderation. For example, if you love poutine, a dish that most people would categorize as generally unhealthy, Abbey is not going to say you should deprive yourself of it, because the benefits you derive from the pleasure of food far outweighs any downside to what you're eating (just don't forget – moderation!). She believes that the best diet is a well-rounded, varied and balanced one.
In addition to the delicious recipes found on her blog, Abbey shares extremely valuable information on nutritional topics, such as debunking food myths, exploring what she calls “health halos” (this cookie is gluten-free, so it must be better for me!), and more. Ultimately, she advocates that “having a healthy and pleasurable relationship with food is the most important thing for your health.” She presents these topics in a fun, approachable manner, especially on her YouTube channel – her theatrical background certainly shines through in her videos, Abbey has a big personality that will make you laugh out loud while teaching you something at the same time.
Abbey is an avid recipe writer so I was curious to know what her favourite ingredients to cook with are. I look forward to experimenting with them myself: Za'atar (a Mediterranean ingredient) and pomegranate molasses. Most of all, I want to try adding cinnamon to more of the meals I prepare – Abbey puts it in everything, whether the dish is sweet or savoury! I would never have thought to put cinnamon into a savoury dish, but experimenting really is the key word here, because, as Abbey says, she learns the most about food simply by eating.
Abbey has some exciting projects in the works! She has a cookbook in development with Penguin Random House scheduled for publication around Christmas of 2018 (so far away but highly anticipated!) as well as a line of fun aprons, which is a perfect extension of her brand since it's become her signature style, she's often sporting a different apron in her blog photos and videos.
When Abbey isn't creating her own food-related content, she's consuming it – she's inspired by other chefs and food bloggers, like Toronto chef Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro's, and the food blogs The Healthy Maven and Fit Foodie Finds, to name a few. Check out Abbey's Kitchen blog and her YouTube channel so you never miss any of her amazing content!
Want more? Here's what #WeWantToKnow about Abbey:
I can't start my morning without...a workout! I’m one of those strange people who actually like working out, especially in the morning (honestly, ask me to lift even a 5-lb dumbbell after 5 PM and I’ll collapse). I get up early and run over to my gym for some heavy lifting.
I have a weakness for...caramel. Honestly, you could put caramel or toffee or dulce de leche or butterscotch on literally anything and I would be excited about it.
Most people don't know that I...used to be a professional singer! My first paid job was to record tacky jingles for the radio.
Currently reading…contracts. HA! No, but seriously, I wish I had time to read. I own a business, so any free time I have (which is practically non-existent), goes into self-care (like the gym), or watching Netflix with my hubby.I want... a vacation where I don’t think about work. I know, that’s crazy talk and will probably never happen ever, but an entrepreneur can dream!
Thanks so much, Abbey, for participating in #WeWantToKnow!