Hear it from the Experts

My restaurant reviews show there are great healthy restaurants and local hidden gems for residents and tourists alike to enjoy. I sat down with Monica Albert from Sisters Restaurant to hear what they had to say about healthy alternative dining choices for family and friends.

Interview with Monica Albert

Monica Albert was in the restaurant industry for 25 years before she started her own business. After wearing multiple foodie hats, such as hostess, bartender, catering director and food styling photographer, she opened her own special catering business, Olive You Eat Well, which flourised into a fabulous restaurant she runs in Gainesville, Fla., with her mother and sister.

What significant health changes in the food industry have you witnessed during your career?

Clearly there has been a shift recently in our country's general interest of where one's food comes from, it's quality and sustainability. This movement is remarkable and has the potential to turn the problematic American diet around. I suspect it will still take an unfortunately long time. The refreshing part is that major food distributors are actually starting to respond to the call and making more locally sourced food available and part of their "normal" list of offerings. However, I still prefer using the non-major food distributors.

Have you ever faced challenges in order provide healthy food for customers?

Yes, financially - when trying to provide thoughtfully sourced, handcrafted food that is realistically priced for our guests but also make enough of a profit to stay in business. Food costs can be challenging to profit margins on conventional commodities, let alone the excellent products we strive to use. I believe if we vote in the marketplace with our dollars and keep supporting what is important to us, eventually everyone could win.

How do you provide healthy options to customers that differs from other restaurants?

Monica and her sister

We handcraft as much as possible, really make an effort to support local providers of genuinely good ingredients and always have a grateful heart while we are cooking. I honestly think the later has more effect on the quality of a dish than one might think.

What is the most rewarding experience about serving healthy food to families?

So often guests will tell me they just feel better after dining with us. Or the best comment was while in our restaurant they felt like they were in someone's home who cooked well AND loved them. That's pretty rewarding, don't you think?

What recommendations do you have for restaurant-goers looking to make healthy choices in a quick-service restaurant?

Don't eat at quick service restaurants!

What is your favorite recipe to serve customers (or family & friends?)

I love cooking low and slow. Braising a big boned piece of meat or a simmering a savory vegetable stew is lovely to me. It's not overly handled, possess all the delicious qualities of peasant food that is comforting and layered with flavors and aroma. Besides, you can enjoy a glass of wine with your guests while food like that is making magic on it's own.