Pregnant & Surrounded by Food: Dream or Nightmare?

chef brookBeing pregnant is tough ... being a pregnant chef has got to be tougher. Food aversions coupled with tons of time on your feet in a hot, busy kitchen does not a blissful pregnancy experience make. But plenty of professional chefs not only do it, they rock it. 

Brooke Peterson, one of the chefs featured on the Food Network's Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, was pregnant with her first child during the taping of the first season of the show (its second season is airing right now). She took time out of a trip to London to give us the skinny on what it's like to work in such a demanding job while growing a person.


Did you have food aversions during your pregnancy?

I had pretty wicked morning sickness, but funny enough my biggest food aversion came not in the kitchen but out in public! I went to brunch with a few girlfriends and someone ordered poached eggs ... as soon as the eggs arrived a little wave of nausea rippled through me. But when my friend popped the yolk, I went tearing from the table and ran to the ladies room where I proceeded to pray to the porcelain gods for the next 20 minutes. For the rest of my pregnancy, eggs and I were mortal enemies.

Was it difficult to work with certain foods? How did you deal with that?

I did not cook a single poached egg for a client or my family for the rest of my pregnancy, but had someone asked specifically for it, I would have attempted it. Like so many women, I had an intense job that had to get done while I was pregnant, and the great thing about women is we all find a way to work through all of the side effects of pregnancy, continue to do our jobs, and take care of our families. There is a reason women are the ones who get pregnant ... we are just tougher!

Did your palate change?

My palate changed quite a bit while I was pregnant with Rome. I wanted (needed) chocolate milkshakes like most people want (need) water and for a while couldn't even fathom that there were any foods other than cheeseburgers. It came out a lot in my work! I must have made 50 different kinds of cheeseburgers for clients during that time. Honestly, I don't think anyone has more ways to incorporate a cheeseburger into a menu than me after that craving (none of which included a poached egg)!

Anything else about your job that was difficult? And how did you deal with it?

I would say the toughest thing about being pregnant wasn't the morning sickness, it was the long hours on my feet in a hot kitchen. It got to point in the end where the actual logistics of working became comical. I shot the last show of the season for Food Network when I was 8 months pregnant and it was an 18-hour day. At the end all the guys on set were like: "I'm so tired, it is so hot, whine whine whine ..." and I was like Listen: My body temperature is 100 degrees hotter than yours, I am carrying a person, and might puke at any moment ... oh, yeah, and my feet and Shaq's feet our the same size right now. So shut it.

Can you relate? Do you find it hard to cook during pregnancy?

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