Chef Michael Williams combines gourmet with nutrition

Ever wondered why food either tastes good, OR is good for you? Chef Michael Williams is on a mission to change that and bring the two together. When he met Dr. John Berardi, Chief Science Officer at Precision Nutrition Inc., it made perfect sense for him, and his fiancée Kristina, to join forces in co-authoring a cookbook Gourmet Nutrition. And, judging from the book’s success, the popularity of his cooking classes and demos, plus his recipes online, the idea seems to have taken off.


In a cooking class at Cook Culture recently, a healthy, fit looking Williams shared his passion for creating nutritious food that tastes delicious. He admits up front that he hasn’t always been healthy or fit. In fact, until he was twenty, he knew nothing about nutrition or eating healthy food. He was overweight, out of shape and lacked self-confidence. After reading The Zone, he began thinking more seriously about nutrition and started eating with purpose. He admits it wasn’t a quick fix, but a desire to make a lifestyle change. The new approach paid off. He had more energy, better mental focus and lost weight.


“It’s simple,” he says. “I like to give people the tools to cook healthy food at home from scratch. It’s about preparing everyday food.” Lindsay Van Gyn, personal trainer at GoodLife Fitness attended his class with a few of her clients. “They learned how easy it is to cook healthy food at home with a little preparation, and, by using interesting ingredients how to add delicious umph to it,” she said.

He starts the class by sharing Dr. Berardi’s seven guiding principles that shape his life:


1. Food must taste good

2. Eat complete lean protein several times a day

3. Eat a minimal amount of sugar and processed food

4. Eat healthy fats

5. Control calorie intake and density

6. Eat fresh, natural whole foods whenever possible

7. Limit high carb meals to post exercise or work out
Williams’ culinary career began as an apprentice at Hunter’s Steakhouse in Victoria. From there he went to The Boat Basin Restaurant in Ucluelet, which led him to an opportunity to work at a 5-star hotel in Switzerland. When he returned, he worked as chef de partie at the Aerie followed by a stint as executive chef at Mike Wiegele Heli Skiing Resort. After a brief period in catering, Williams now spends his time teaching, food styling and creating recipes for Country Grocer as well as leading cooking demos in the community including the MS Society, the annual Men’s Health Day event and in the future, cooking for Our Place.


How do his recipes stay fresh? “Every time I go out for dinner, I analyze the menu, look at the ingredients and then start cooking with them,” he said. “I also like to take classic recipes and change some of the ingredients to make them healthier.”


Take a cooking class from Chef Michael Williams at Cook Culture, browse his recipes online at and watch him on Shaw TV’s, The Daily.


By Marylou Wakefield


Coconut Cauliflower Mash

(From Gourmet Nutrition)

 Ideal Pairing: Sirloin Burgers


If you like mashed potatoes but worry about the high-carb content, worry no longer. Mashed cauliflower tastes like mashed potato but has far fewer calories and packs a bigger nutrient punch. In this recipe, we’ve included a crunchy twist by adding cashews.


Cauliflower (rough chopped) 3 cups

Cashews (crushed) ¼ cup

Coconut milk  ¼ cup

Salt – 1 pinch

Pepper – 1 pinch

Cinnamon – 1 pinch


Add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid.  Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add 1 TBSP of water at a time if necessary to get the mixture moving. Top with crushed cashews.


Variations and Options

For a great soup, add a cup of broth while blending. For additional flavouring, try adding your favourite herbs to the mash. Paprika, safflower or coriander are awesome spices to try in their recipe.



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