Student's Virtual Cooking Class Innovation during Lockdown
Inspired by the powerful changes that she had witnessed in friends that had shifted to a more plant based diet, Bex Shindler enrolled in the Healing Diets Nutritional Consultant diploma course in 2016, and committed to work on her own self healing. Although her professional career was in the arts, Bex developed a plant-based catering business for retreats alongside her work and studies, and later attended the Healing Diets Immersion Training in 2019.
The Mindful Kitchen, where she offered exquisite, gourmet plant-based meals, began to grow until, nearing the completion of her studies, Bex let go of her 'day job' and began to run her catering business full time.
Not long after making this decision (and embracing self-employment)...the lockdown came, and suddenly Bex was no longer able to cater retreats. She also fell into the 'newly self-employed' limbo where furlough during lockdown wasn't an option.
At that moment, Bex embraced her inner hero and became an inspiring example of bravery and innovation. Not only did she turn lemons into lemonade (at virtually the speed of light) but she has come out of these challenging times with a new sense of purpose and strength, and a career direction that is so completely in alignment with her tremendous skills and talents.
Here is her story...
In February I left my employment in the arts to commit to my journey as a plant-based chef, with plans in place to spend the spring months in Ibiza catering at a yoga retreat centre. When the world changed overnight, I went through a period of grief and fear, but also understood that like so many others, I had also been gifted an opportunity. Time, space, and a chance to creatively adapt to what was being brought to the surface. I recognised that many people were now finding themselves in a situation where they were being prompted to look at their food choices and prioritise their health, and to do a lot more home cooking. How could I best support them on this journey, with my unique knowledge and experience?
After some reflection (and battling with my inner critic!) I challenged myself to start delivering online cooking classes, focusing on accessible and adaptable plant-based recipes designed to boost health and vibration. With up to 20 people at each class and some fabulous feedback, the classes became a weekly occurrence throughout the lockdown period. It was beautiful to connect with so many people during a time when our connection with others felt threatened, and to see the delicious creations and new-found confidence coming out of everyone’s kitchens.
“I normally lack confidence in the kitchen, but you put me so at ease and I felt like I came out of the session with so much more knowledge than I went in. I loved every minute!” ~ class participant
There has been so much growth during this time, both for me personally and for my business, The Mindful Kitchen. Not only has it been a great chance for me to curate new recipes and ideas, but I discovered that I truly love teaching and empowering people in the kitchen, and that I am actually quite good at it. I discovered that teaching people to cook in the comfort of their own kitchen, rather than in a public venue, actually had its own unique value. I suspect I would never have made these discoveries had I not been forced to re-evaluate… There is so much beauty and growth in riding the waves of change!
As a result, the priorities of my work have also changed. I will still cater for retreats, which I truly love, but I am also focusing on sharing more of my knowledge through teaching and building cooking programmes to support and empower people in their home kitchens. The experience has taught me to remain open and flexible, and that every situation, no matter how hopeless it may seem, offers an opportunity to learn and grow.