Tricia Williams is an accomplished Chef, mother, triathlete, and entrepreneur on a mission to make healthy and delicious food options available to everyone. With two successful meal delivery services, grab-and-go products in top-tier fitness studios and markets, and a client list that’s just as likely to include Jimmy Fallon, A-list actors and athletes as your health-conscious neighbor or co-worker, we’d say she’s well on her way! Here, Tricia shares her personal journey from sugar addict to viewing food as pharmacy, her best career advice, and the surprising stress reliever she swears by … Spoiler alert, it may involve a sledgehammer.
Q. Your story is so interesting! You have a degree in filmmaking from NYU, but you ended up working as an Executive Chef. How did you go about finding a job as a chef without having a culinary background, and what advice would you give to someone who may have gotten their education in one industry but realize they want to go in a totally different direction?
While the skill set is different, for me, writing and cooking have the same type of creative energy, so it’s not as big of a leap as it may seem. I apprenticed at City Bakery the first year they opened and was like, “This is it!” I just loved it. Rather than going back to school, I chose to work around various restaurants in NYC. That’s how I learned my craft, or at least that’s how I got started.
As far as my best piece of career advice, I’d say to take a leap and find your true passion. Putting in the hard work to learn your craft may seem daunting, but having the ability to do what you love each day is well worth it!
Q. Before starting Food Matters in 2008 you were the Executive Pastry Chef at City Bakery. What made you shift your focus from sugar and sweets to launching a business focused around creating personalized, organic, and locally-sourced meals?
A. After working as a pastry chef around Manhattan, I just got tired of it, not to mention I was addicted to sugar and felt super unhealthy! I was given the opportunity to work as a chef at a small 50-seat restaurant in the West Village and never looked back at pastry again. That was probably the beginning of the shift. Then, when I was pregnant with my first child, I realized the restaurant couldn’t be my life anymore. I was working six nights a week and loving it, but it wasn’t going to be realistic with a baby. Around that time, I also read The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan, and it changed my life. It got me thinking about where food comes from, how it’s used, what I’m putting in my body, what I’m putting in my child’s body, the bigger picture. It’s like a switch flipped. I went on to complete the Institute for Integrated Nutrition Program when it was live, then did a year-long food therapy certification study with Annemarie Colbin. It taught me how to use the kitchen as a pharmacy and kind of changed my whole mindset and lifestyle.
That’s when I concepted the idea for Food Matters. http://foodmattersnyc.com We launched in 2008 with a personalized meal delivery service that takes into account an individual’s health history, health goals, lifestyle, food preferences, and even goes so far as to on-board their doctors or anyone on their wellness team. Sometimes it takes a village! I was lucky enough to have Jimmy Fallon as my first client and things grew from there. Now we work with a lot of celebrities, professional athletes, and people dealing with specific health issues, from a woman going through IVF to someone dealing with Pancreatic Cancer. 10 years later, I realized there are general rules of health that work for anyone. I wanted to apply that toward something that would make healthy options more affordable and accessible, so I created Daily Dose. It’s a subscription-based meal service that offers Paleo, Keto, Vegan, and an Athlete Program to meet different dietary preferences. And we just launched a 5-day Protein Fast that has some great health benefits too! We also have grab-and-go products in Clean Market, E by Equinox, Brooklyn Roasting Company, Energi, a new fitness and co-working studio, and it looks like we’re going into markets in Boston soon, so it’s a really exciting time! The goal is to make Daily Dose a national brand and for healthy and delicious grab-and-go food options to be easily accessible to everyone.
Q. From a personal standpoint, outside of what you eat, what else do you do to stay healthy, active, and bring some balance to your busy life?
A. Honestly, I do a lot of different things. For starters, I mediate at 5:30 AM every morning. Getting a good sweat in is also really important to me. I work out 6 days a week. I love boxing, competing in triathlons, and when I’m feeling really stressed, I take it out on the tractor tire in my backyard with one of my two sledgehammers! Don’t judge, it works. Obviously, I like pretty intense workouts, but I partner with Anna Kaiser on her Intensive Programs, making the meals to go along with her workouts, so I’ve started going to her classes too. I have to say, even the dance classes where I’m usually 3-steps behind are pure joy! It’s so much fun, and I think laughing and letting your guard down is something really important that not enough of us do. Outside of that, I also infrared sauna at least three days a week, do an ice bath one a week in the summer, and when I’m feeling depleted, I always go for a vitamin drip.
Q. You consider yourself a Culinary Nutritionist, have several nutrition certifications, and believe food truly has the ability to cure nearly any condition from acne to more serious health concerns. Can you share a few of your most rewarding or inspiring stories of how food has helped transform your clients?
A. Overall, I think it’s just really cool that I get to work with people and figure out how I can help them – with food – and they’re receptive to it! We had one client who went through several rounds of IVF and ended up having twins. We cleaned up her diet from eating mostly packaged and processed foods to clean eating, and swapped out her self-care and cleaning products to non-toxic options too. She was able to conceive naturally after that, which was amazing. The coolest thing we’ve had in the last few months was helping a post-menopausal woman, 58, with Parkinson’s Disease and symptoms. We put her on a super high-fat diet, like a Ketogenic Diet, and her symptom are going away. She’s back to working out, the tremors are stopping, and for now it’s working really well for her. Those are always really rewarding stories and so encouraging to see.
Q. As a wife, mother of two, accomplished Chef, Founder and CEO of Food Matters and Daily Dose, a culinary nutritionist and consultant, tell us - what is in your bag?
Bamboo portable cutlery, because I’m always eating lunch on the go.
Japanese Chef’s Knives. Mine are sharpened specifically for being a lefty.
Daily Dose promo cards
A Daily Dose Chocolate Bar
DUCALM Shower Wipes
Raw Honey Sticks from a local farm
For more details on Tricia’s Transience bag, see our Swing Bag in Pink Velvet