Some people, when they face a serious illness, become more cautious or take a step back. Gina Paterno Villalobos took what she learned about eating healthy and started Gina's Organic Kitchen, a new restaurant-catering business that lets her cook the healthy foods that helped her on her personal health journey.
"I had high-risk breast cancer and studied natural healing techniques to help me build up my immune system and detoxify," she says. She studied up on the role of food and diet in good health, trained as a microbiotic chef, and became inspired to start a business preparing healthy and organic foods.
Gina's Organic Kitchen will be available in a trio of venues:
- Delivery, focused on the Park Cities and Preston Hollow
- A commissary kitchen at10870 Plano Rd., where you can pick up food to-go or dine in the small seating area
- A food truck fashioned out of a former ambulance
Paterno Villalobos, who moved to Dallas from Connecticut last year with her husband, earned her certification as a macrobiotic instructor at the Kushi Institute Center for Natural Healing in Massachusetts. She's certified in food therapy from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health and in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University.
"For me, healthy food is organic, free of any pesticides and nutrient-dense," she says. "Plant-based foods have the most disease-fighting properties. That means whole grains, beans, legumes, no dairy, no sugar."
That said, she's not putting out strictly vegetarian food. She's pragmatic: Her menu includes salmon, shrimp and chicken.
"People have families who might want the food," she says. "It's important to make what people are used to. The whole point is inclusion, to encourage as many people as possible. If they want to come and get foods with friends, at least they know it's pure quality. It's hard to get organic, whole prepared foods. It's hard to get wild shrimp. Most people use farmed."
Villalobos is a former marketing vice president for Unilever, and she's using her skills to launch the business.
"Coupled with fact that I was into holistic nutrition, I think I can help teach people and raise their awareness," she says. "I have to eat all these foods."