Prior to my ShopRite experiences, I was known for stating, “My ‘fatal flaw’ as a dietitian will surely be that I cannot cook well.” However, in the past 6 months, my cooking skills have improved tremendously as a result of co-instructing 3 ShopRite Culinary Workshops. For these workshops, I worked alongside the ShopRite store dietitians and the ShopRite chef to teach a group of adults how to prepare delicious and healthful meals. The first time, I felt as if I was being pushed out of my comfort zone, but my confidence grew as I successfully prepared delectable (and some unique) dishes – including lamb loin chop with mint gremolata, dark chocolate-infused chili, and homemade soft pretzels with carrot cashew queso dip – all while educating participants on the health benefits of the ingredients. Not only have I learned to successfully execute rather “complex” cooking techniques, but I have learned innumerable interesting facts (both health- and non-health-related) about all of the ingredients used – several of which I had never heard of before the day of the culinary workshop!
As far as my internship experience goes, I’d say that working in the clinical setting is my ultimate “comfort zone” (given the vast amount of time I’ve spent in the hospital). However, my experiences in retail dietetics have provided me with an entirely new set of knowledge and skills that I never thought I’d so willingly obtain. As they say: life truly does begin at the end of your comfort zone! Uncomfortable situations are the best opportunities for personal (and professional) growth.