Gardener | Farm to Table Chef Recipe Developer
Culinary Nutrition Expert
Wife | Mother| Lifetime Foodie
Raised in Jamaica, trained in Toronto, inspired by the world, Michelle Marshall's passion is creating delicious, health-supportive meals with love.
With 25+ years of restaurant and catering experience, Michelle is committed to helping create great food memories with locally-sourced, 'clean' food.
Michelle Marshall was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and moved to Canada at a young age. Her first mentor in the kitchen was her maternal grandmother, Kethlena Hutchinson, from whom she learned to be creative and resourcesful.
Michelle recalls that while her, "Mother and grandmother taught me how to flavour food," the island of her birth also had much to do with her kitchen instincts.
"It was not uncommon for us to experience shortages of food essentials (meat, sugar, imported foods, etc.) This scarcity required creativity on the part of home cooks," Michelle remembers. "It also fostered genuine community as neighbours supported each other and shared from their abundance."
Her grandmother's skill at using what was available and reinventing leftovers, is where Michelle's kitchen creativity and spontaneity come from.
"As a little girl, I watched my mother and grandmother making everything from scratch: sauces, coconut oil, cakes and desserts. We consumed very little convenience food."
The rich soil of 'MoBay' itself also contributed to Michelle's early food education.
She recalls that, "Everyone had a real connection to the land and grew and used things from the garden. My family grew herbs, fresh greens and other foods in our kitchen garden."
Emigrating to mutli-cultural Toronto at ten years old, brought Michelle into contact with the global flavours of the world.
"Growing up in Canada and cooking with friends from Greece, China, Nigeria, Guyana and other places taught me much about different flavour combinations. Good food is not limited by time or place."
Michelle excelled at Culinary Management at Toronto's George Brown College, and worked as banquet cook at the Atlantis Pavilion, and at the Pasta Bar at Joe Badali's Cucina.
"I can't count how many times over the years people have asked me to start a restaurant of my own, but I knew in my heart that the fast-paced, demanding restaurant life was not for me."
Leaving the restaurant world to raise her five children, Michelle continued to hone her craft by catering large and small events and teaching cooking classes.
She recognizes motherhood as a transformative force in her culinary journey: "As a mother I feel responsible to do my best to help my family be as healthy as possible."
Experiencing personal dietary restrictions lead Michelle down a path to becoming a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert and Instructor. "Among other things, I have learned that convenience foods are not really convenient; we all pay eventually with health issues that result from food made in factories."
With Food Solutions by Michelle Marshall, a wider range of the public will be able to benefit from Michelle's decades of food wisdom. Whether that is through sustainable gardening, organic food products, or through a private catered event, people with a variety of needs stand to benefit.
In many ways, Michelle's food journey has brought her right back to her roots: cooking locally-grown food from scratch.
She asserts, "I want to help others to eat and grow sustainable food that is made with love, and is loving to our bodies."
"Being raised with a kitchen garden meant that we had the luxury of being able to pick fresh fruit right off the trees.
Processed food was a rarity - not the staple it is now. Now everything is reversed: processed food is the staple and whole, fresh local foods are expensive and harder to come by."
Michelle sums up her objective by stating, " I want to get back to the traditional way that families used to eat:
• Eating food that we plant ourselves
• Eating food that does not require a nutrition label
• Eating food that has not been developed in a lab, or altered by science
• Eating food that does not cause disease or digestive issues, and ultimately,
• Eating food that is fresh and full of nutrition that fuels our bodies."
Words to live by indeed.