Chef Alejandra
PTFI Ambassador

Chef Alejandra Schrader

Chef Alejandra Schrader is an award-winning author, plant-based nutrition certified chef, activist, and food TV personality based in Los Angeles, CA. She shares her passion for delicious and sustainable food through her colorful and healthy dishes. Chef Schrader encourages us to celebrate the biodiversity of food systems by diversifying what is on our plates, especially edible plants.

Core to Chef Schrader’ sustainability and climate mitigation efforts is empowering others to minimize their food waste. Her first book highlights the difficulties and pleasures of eating sustainably: The Low-Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan: Reduce Food Waste and Combat Climate Change with 140 Sustainable Plant-Based Recipes. This recipe book won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the Food Waste category for the United States.

The PTFI has partnered with Chef Schrader on the creation of a series of planetary health recipes. We are examining the food quality of these dishes through our advanced analytical approaches to better understand the biomolecular basis of a healthy and sustainable diet.

Interview with Chef Alejandra

Question 1. What does food quality mean to you?
Answer Alejandra: For me, the quality of food is determined not merely by its flavor and nutrition-density but also by its impact on the environment, biological diversity traits, seasonality, accessibility, and affordability, as well as by the cultural traditions that it carries and the memories it evokes.

Question 2. What inspired your journey of preparing food that is nourishing for people and the planet?
Answer Alejandra: My personal journey with food, combined with my professional point-of-view, is what inspired my interest in high-quality foods that are good for human and planetary health.

Growing up in a third world country with minimal resources limited my access to nourishing and fresh food. I experienced, first-hand, the life-long effects of food insecurity and malnutrition.

Sustainability has been the focus of my academic formation and career development. I am extremely conscious about how anthropogenic actions impact Mother Earth: with food accounting for over one-third of greenhouse gas generation, we ought to carefully consider our individual food choices.

Evidence-based studies suggest that the same food that is good for human health is also good for the health of the planet. My goal is to empower people to consume more plant-based foods of different colors to nourish their own bodies and help our planet thrive.

Question 3. You are serving as an Ambassador for the PTFI. What inspires you to connect your recipes to evidence on food quality and composition?
Answer Alejandra: I am committed to helping deliver better and more equitable food systems where everyone has access to nutrient-dense foods that are delicious and colorful. As an Ambassador for the PTFI, I aim to use my platform to help bridge the nutrition gap and to get everyone excited to eat sustainable foods, especially edible plants.

Being able to connect my recipes to scientific data that highlights the quality and biomolecular composition of its ingredients allows me to promote humble and more accessible foods such as legumes, forgotten foods, heirloom crops, and food waste ingredients. The data helps me convey that there is no sacrifice in switching gourmet foods for these culinary gems!

As a chef, I am inspired to finetune a creative culinary process that considers the nutrition-density and diversity of micronutrients in food to create truly remarkable dishes.

Question 4. You refer to yourself as a steward of the planet. How can each of us be a steward to the planet, regardless of our socio-cultural backgrounds and where we live?
Answer Alejandra: Everybody can be a steward of the planet! No matter how small, our individual actions can be very impactful as part of a collective effort.