Meet our team

LYDIA AMOUZANDEH

Founder. Urban farmer. Back-to-basics foodie.

I have always been passionate about healthy eating and the integral role it plays in child development. From a very early age, I have had an understanding of the importance of wholesome food on health and wellbeing. My mother has always grown her own produce and taught me to respect and appreciate fresh food. She showed me that simple ingredients do not mean a compromise in flavour and instilled in me a passion for home-grown foods.

I first became involved in the natural food industry in the early 1980s, when I noticed a lack of awareness regarding wholesome food options and was inspired to open my own health food store. I focused on helping people learn about healthy eating and aimed to enable them to integrate it into their everyday lives. At the same time, I was raising my first child. I would spend hours reading and researching feeding tips and healthy eating patterns for my daughter, but came up short. There was very little information at the time surrounding the link between artificial ingredients and children’s behaviour. As a result, I had to trust my instincts and adopt a ‘back to basics’ approach, making all my daughter’s meals naturally at home.

From my hands on experience, I firmly believe that the first five years of life are the most critical in child brain development and wellbeing. Therefore, when we started our childcare business, Queensland Child Care Services www.qccs.com.au in 1991, it was always in my mind to incorporate healthy eating habits as part of our education programme. Hence, I explored a number of options, such as cooking within our own centres and then engaging a number of external food suppliers to provide nutritionally balanced meals; neither of which met my expectations.

Through these experiences, and then my direct involvement with children, it became clear to me, as research has confirmed, that there is an increase in childhood obesity and children with type 2 Diabetes over the last twenty years, primarily due to poor eating habits. I recognised that in order to achieve my goal, I needed to establish my own production kitchen – The Healthy Cooking Company.

SHANNON GRIFFIN

Executive Chef. Nutritionist. Champion of fresh, local produce.

Shannon’s interest in food production was ignited when he moved to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to begin his apprenticeship at the 5 Star hotel, Hyatt Regency. Having moved from the country to the beach he immediately fell in love with the surf and the abundance of fresh local produce that was being served in the region. He developed a keen interest for keeping fit and eating lots of fresh food.

Shannon’s passion is cooking the freshest local ingredients he can source and promoting healthy eating to the public. His interests in healthy eating and nutrition directed him to pursue a career in nutrition.

As well as being a qualified chef, Shannon has completed a Bachelor of Business majoring in management and a Bachelor of Science majoring in Nutrition at the University of the Sunshine Coast and University of Queensland. He also has a young family and has made numerous healthy gourmet delights for little tummies.

With 20 years of cooking experience under his belt, Shannon is well positioned as the Executive Chef of Healthy Cooking Company

Jackie.Pic

JACQUELINE NEW

Accredited Practising Dietitian. Nutritionist. Foodie.

Our dietitian Jacqueline has a passion for cooking and a wholefood balanced lifestyle. In her spare time she enjoys experimenting with new recipes, eating out at boutique cafes/restaurants and shopping at local farmers markets.

Jacqueline works alongside our Executive Chef to develop nourishing meals and menus. She also provides educational workshops and presentations at our Queensland Childcare Services and local community centres/libraries.

DEAN AUCHTERLONIE

Head Baker. Wholefood experimenter. Golfer.

It’s a tough job healthifiying baked goods such as muffins, pizzas and strudels into child-friendly foods that nourish and serve the whole body, but Dean manages to do just that! He enjoys experimenting with whole foods and substituting traditional refined ingredients, such as cane sugar and white flour, to those as nature intended, like honey and almond meal.

On the weekends Dean winds down by playing golf with his son.