Andrea has shared her love for food starting at a very young age where she would often enter baking competitions in her hometown of Brighton, Ontario and she has not slowed down since. Andrea attended the University of Guelph where she graduated with a degree in Applied Human Nutrition and later attended Liaison College to obtain a diploma in Culinary Arts. Andrea learned more about becoming a Professional Home Economist as she worked with Ontario Pork as their Nutritionist in Consumer Marketing and Communications. From working at Ontario Pork, Andrea moved on to create her own company, Lime and Lemon Media. Lime & Lemon Media is based out of the GTA and focuses on creating original marketing content for food and beverage companies. This includes recipe development, food photography, nutrition analysis, videos and event representation.
What led you to become a PHEc?
My background is nutrition from University of Guelph, I didn’t know a lot about Home Ec until I started working for Ontario Pork right out of university. Once I started, I found out there had been a long line of Professional Home Economists who had been hired by Ontario Pork before, and I started working with some. This led me to get more involved and I began to really see what Home Ec was all about. I realized I did not want to stay strictly on the nutrition side of things and that I wanted to also work with food, and really encourage people to eat and think more about whole foods.
How long have you been a PHEc?
I have been a PHEc ever since 2011, when I started at Ontario Pork, which was the same year I graduated from the University of Guelph.
Can you describe a work-related benefit of being a PHEc?
As a recipe developer, it actually says in the Heart and Stroke Foundation guidelines that you are required to be a PHEc or a Registered Dietitian to develop recipes for them. I don’t work directly for Heart & Stroke, but for example if a commodity group is going to be making recipes, that will be what they are looking for, so being a PHEc has definitely opened up more doors for me as I am sure it has for others. If you’re a PHEc and the company or association you want to work with knows the designation, they always feel better hiring a PHEc in both recipe development and food styling jobs.
What is one skill that you have improved upon or developed from being a member of OHEA and a PHEc?
I have been working on perfecting my food styling skills, there are always more tips and tricks to learn depending on the food you are shooting. Recipe development as well is something that I have learned a lot about over the years, since becoming a PHEc. Things like proper formatting for writing up recipes, and how to test recipes effectively and efficiently. I have had the opportunity to learn from some amazing PHEcs who have had years of experience in the field, and I would not have had these opportunities had I not become an OHEA member and PHEc.
Do you have any suggestions for students or people trying to get more involved in Home Ec?
I would encourage them to reach out to the community because there are a lot of people looking to share their knowledge. I would say that’s the first thing. Volunteering as well is important. With the OHEA Homegrown cookbook for example, I was fortunate enough to get experience food styling and to see what a food photoshoot looks like. I went and learned so much from Mairlyn Smith and Joan Ttooulias. Building your skill set and gaining more experience by getting involved is something to think about. As an OHEA member, what you get out of it really depends on what you put in, so don’t be nervous about approaching more experienced members to ask questions about their career path. You would be amazed at how much you can learn over just a cup of coffee.
In general, for new students, don’t be too worried, especially if you’re from the nutrition field. I know that a lot of my friends have found a career that’s not necessarily directly linked to their field, but still something that they enjoy. You never know what kind of opportunities are going to come up in life. So be as prepared as you can for potential opportunities.
Another thing worth mentioning is don’t be afraid to jump in and teach yourself a new skill, that’s what I did with photography and videography. I got the equipment and learned myself through forums and the camera manual. I now have the capacity to do my own videos and editing. I taught myself the technology side so that I will be more versatile for future clients. Keep learning and pursue your interests to see where they take you.
Click the links below to see some of Andrea's recent work:
The Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulating body of professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.