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Going green one meal at a time

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

Going green one meal at a time

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Living a green life isn’t easy. It takes patience and a mindset that many do not possess.

Shelly Gellineau has been running Green Gourmet for the past two years but has been living green for the past 20 years.

“I became a vegetarian over 20 years ago. I do eat meat and other stuff, but clean,” she told EASY magazine last week after dropping off lunches.

Shelly is from Trinidad, but moved here 33 years ago with her husband from Canada.

The starting of Green Gourmet came in a roundabout way through Shelly’s other two loves – being a masseuse and a yoga instructor.

“I am a certified and trained massage therapist for 13 years . . . . I like to help people,” she said. “My massages are therapeutic and I am also a good listener. Sometimes you help people by just listening.

“Out of that actually, I became a yoga instructor (four years now), and because I talk to my clients a lot about nutrition and I enjoy cooking and entertaining, from that came Green Gourmet.”

Shelly is a home-based entrepreneur, living in Christ Church. Her kitchen is equipped with appliances to make her job easier since she has to meet lunchtime reservations.

Green Gourmet does salads, soups, sandwiches, gluten-free breads and more.

“I couldn’t find good food to eat when I became a vegetarian. When I say good I mean not only clean but it has to look good . . . . It has to be appealing,” she said, while picking apart lettuce leaves to make a salad.

Shelly said she noticed she also became allergic to stuff that had in gluten.

She decided to start eliminating gluten when cooking and one day she took a gluten-free bread to a client.

The client loved it and the idea to start selling them came after the client quizzed Shelly on why she wasn’t mass-producing them.

And Green Gourmet was born.

“I chose the name because it has to be clean – no chemicals, no pesticides, no hormones and then I present it in a gourmet fashion in a biodegradable container.”

Her special touch is a green grape leaf in the bottom of the container.

Her supplies are from local markets and vendors islandwide and while she cannot guarantee every vendor has organic produce, she counters that by washing all her vegetables in a “little bit of bleach and soap water and use a brush to scrub the skins.”

Green Gourmet is all about the grains – a lot of quinoa, a lot of bulgar, brown rice and a lot of peas and beans (“not from a can and I flavour everything with herbs”).

“I use a lot of ground provisions. My clients seem to love that.”

Green Gourmet delivers three times a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Even though Shelly’s client list is small, she is grateful for the interest and the regulars.

“I also do some catering for dinner and lunches so sometimes I have a full day.”

That day consists of yoga sessions in the mornings outside of the home (“it is always a mad rush”) and then back home to deliver the tasty meals.

Her earliest delivery time is 10:30 a.m. and the rest by lunchtime (“sometimes it is pressure”).

“It is important that it is fresh, all-natural, presented properly and delivered on time.”

Shelly then returns home to massage clients.

“Yes, it does get a bit hectic,” she said, while setting up the dishes for display.

But to enable a better flow, she starts her prep for meals the evening before and a fresh menu is sent out every week.

Shelly is big on presentation so while lunches are half and full, salads are moulded.

“All lunches come with a salad (greens or beans). I also do soups, hot and cold, hummus, spreads and dips. I also do gluten-free bread but only on order.”

   Shelly, 61, is just like any entrepreneur and businesswoman – business is always on her mind.

   “The most strenuous thing is wondering if the orders will come in,” she said solemnly. “You can take nothing for granted. Sometimes you have your regulars and then things change and you lose a client or two.”

The most difficult thing to manage is time: “Balancing all three can take a toll,” she admitted.

Shelly isn’t all work and no play. She goes to the gym two to three times a week. She likes to listen to music and go to art shows.

“I am a very spiritual person. I read a lot. It’s a means of relaxing,” she said. That is very rewarding for me.”

Shelly said she is trying to convince her youngest daughter to adapt to eating green.

“She is very against it,” she said, laughing. “It is a constant back and forth with me giving her the positives and her saying, ‘Give me Chefette’,” she said, jovially.

Shelly says to anyone who wants to eat healthy: “Start with little things. If you are not eating that way you have to start slowly. You can’t come from east to west with one shot. Get a taste for it.”