Chef finds perfect mix of food and science - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Chef finds perfect mix of food and science

6 Oct 2021

A Maryborough chef is combining her industry experience with knowledge gained through a USC degree to serve up science-based nutrition facts and advice to customers in their homes.

Samantha Harvey, who received a University Commendation for Academic Excellence when she graduated with a Bachelor of Nutrition last week, has launched a new mobile food and nutrition business at the Fraser Coast.

“I have always loved food and had an interest in how different foods work in our bodies. So after many years as a chef, studying Nutrition seemed like the natural choice,” she said.

“Through my degree I learned about the many different factors that contribute to a person’s health – factors that I would never have even considered before, and that there is never a one-size-fits-all nutritional solution for a given problem.

“I hope to use my skills and knowledge to help improve the health of others, particularly the most vulnerable members of our community, through my new venture, Juicy Peach Nutrition.” 

Samantha said her business offered services such as nutrition advice and in-home cooking lessons, with the aim of helping people improve their own kitchen skills, meal planning, budgeting and grocery shopping.

As well as achieving impressive grades during her studies, one of Samantha’s university assessments had real-world impact by identifying three potential interventions aimed at enhancing the health status of pregnant Indigenous women in Australia.

She gathered, analysed, and interpreted credible information regarding the nutritional status of pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and her findings were published in the Australian Association of Social Marketing journal.

Another research project involved developing a scoping review of edible school gardens in the Pacific Islands, with the results expected to be available soon for public access.

“Going to university was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” Samantha said.

“The lecturers were super-supportive, always patient and had so much knowledge to share. I especially loved the real-world examples from their experiences in many different areas of practice.” 

While the Bachelor of Nutrition is offered through USC’s Sunshine Coast campus, Samantha took advantage of USC’s flexible study options to complete some subjects at the Fraser Coast campus.

She said balancing study, work and caring for two young children had its challenges. However, support from her husband and the university community helped her achieve a  grade point average of 6.18 out of 7.

“I joined a study group in my first semester and met some really supportive friends that were there the whole way through my degree if I ever needed some advice, a study buddy, or even just a bit of encouragement.” 

Applications are open to study at USC in 2022.

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