In this latest installment of our Eat Well Connect Voices Q&A, Tessa Nguyen, RD, LDN, of Taste Nutrition Consulting shared her thoughts on what sustainability means to her as a registered dietitian, the inspiration behind her passion for culturally inclusive nutrition and the exciting opportunities available to health professionals today in order to further their cultural competency.

And next month Tessa will join us for the third and final installment of EWC’s Fireside Chat series, so stay tuned to your inbox for the interview’s release. And if you’re not yet a member, join our global health professional network!


Given that this month’s Eat Well Connect newsletter theme is focused on Sustainable Diets, can you share what sustainability means to you and your practice as a registered dietitian?

Sustainability in my area of work includes not only the physical ingredients we use (how they’re grown, where they’re sourced, etc.), but how they fit into native eating patterns from around the world. Sustainability means supporting and sharing the cooking methods, techniques and ingredients that are common in varying culture’s cuisine. If we don’t pass on these recipes to our friends, families and clients – we run the risk of them going extinct. In order to sustain these cultural traditions, we need to celebrate the diversity in our communities.


Not only are you a registered dietitian, but you’re also a professionally trained chef with a focus on culturally inclusive foods and accessible cooking practices. Who or what inspired this specific focus in culinary nutrition care?

Throughout my journey to become a chef and registered dietitian, I never had a role model that looked like me or even worked in the same spaces I wanted to. All the cooking and nutrition information from cuisines outside of the Eurocentric norm were deemed as “other” and needed to be whitewashed and “healthified” in order for them to be accepted. I’ve stepped into the space celebrating culturally inclusive foods and accessible cooking practices out of the sheer need to have representation of us (BIPOC practitioners) and because I hope to inspire future chef RDs of color to see that it’s possible to represent your authentic self in your work.


What do you think are some of the greatest opportunities today for the nutrition and dietetics profession with respect to increasing our cultural competency, at both an organization and individual level?

The level of access we have with the internet, our cell phones and now through more virtual events (conferences, webinars) affords us the opportunity to connect with people from across the globe. If we choose to, we can take advantage of this by learning from other food and nutrition professionals who live, work and are from different cultures. This allows us to continue learning and growing in our individual practice while increasing our cultural competency. It’s also important to note cultural competency is an active, involved process. It’s not just attending a presentation or reading a book and then you’re done. Crafting, incorporating and enacting these changes on both an organizational and individual level are necessary in order to support our BIPOC RD colleagues, dietetic students and communities of color.


Tessa Nguyen, RD, LDN, is the founder and principal of Taste Nutrition Consulting. She is an internationally acclaimed chef and registered dietitian. Tessa’s work promotes accessible cooking, cultural inclusion and diversity advocacy within the food and nutrition industries. She champions these efforts in her consulting business as well as on the Board of Directors for Diversify Dietetics. Tessa is based in South Korea. Follow along for her culturally diverse recipes on her blog or her YouTube channel, Tessa’s Table. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter