About Ana Catarina, founder of ZenCook®

Catarina has a diverse training and work history: she holds a BA in Health Sciences from the Lisbon University and a BA in Nutrition Science from the Instituto Superior de Ciências da Saúde Egas Moniz (Portugal). She also attended the Masters Degree in Plant Based Medicines in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Lisbon University.

She did a nutritionist internship in the well know super foods company Iswari in Portugal, where she developed new products, wrote articles and worked as a nutritional marketeer. This internship reinforced her passion for creating new, delicious and nourishing dishes.

Since 2008 she has participated in various vegetarian and vegan cuisine courses held by different chefs. She has a wide international (Portugal, Spain, France and Italy) background and training in vegetarian, vegan and macrobiotic cuisine, as well as in Chinese dietetics.

Catarina also studied in macrobiotics at Instituto Macrobiotico de Portugal (IMP), where she attended the Macrobiotic International Course. She undertook internships in the IMP’s restaurant and in its various macrobiotic cooking workshops and courses, as assistant chef. Furthermore, she visited several macrobiotic centres in Spain, France and Italy, where she gained relevant skills and experience.

She joined the ESMTC (College of Traditional Chinese Medicine), in Lisbon, where she attended the ‘Dietetic and Food According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine’ course, as a way to deepen and extend her knowledge in this field.

Catarina also worked as an assistant chef in two vegetarian restaurants in Lisbon, Miss Saigon and O Nome da Rosa, and in the IMP’s restaurant. In addition, she worked as an assistant chef in various vegetarian cuisine courses and workshops, namely:

  • macrobiotic cooking courses at IMP (from 2010 to 2014);
  • summer workshop for children, with chef Joana Byscaia (2014);
  • vegetarian cuisine workshop at Celeiro, Lisbon (2015);
  • in different occasions as assistant chef with chef Isaura Faria (2015).

She worked as a private macrobiotic chef at the Instituto de Reflexologia Integrada de Lisboa (Integrated Reflexology Institute of Lisbon), as well as in several retreats, both in Portugal and in Spain, first as an assistant chef and, later, as a Healthy Vegan Chef.

Amongst the countless workshops she organized, the workshop held by invitation of the Portuguese political party PAN (represented in the national Parliament) stands out. The workshop was part of a pedagogical intervention project and was intended for the Lisbon Town Hall female workers, imparted in the kitchen of the Lisbon Town Hall.

It is also worth mentioning the workshop organised by ZenCook® at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, by invitation of the Students’ Association of the Faculty of Economics, attended by about 300 students, who also participated in the respective tasting session.

ZenCook® has been present and participated in many events, being GreenFest, Dia Verde (‘Green Day’), Lisbon Alternative Fair, CakeFest, Zen Festival and Sintra Meeting of Alternatives the most significant ones.

Currently, Catarina works as a Healthy Vegan Chef in retreats in Portugal and abroad, teaches in healthy vegetarian cuisine workshops – in one-to-one or in a group sessions – , organizes events in which she combines activities such as yoga and Chi kung with food, mainly in the form of healthy brunches.

In addition to the above, she practises Asthanga Yoga and Biodanza.