Molly Hanchuruck ’12

Chef and Registered Dietician

Molly has always loved food. When her 7th grade peers were watching MTV, she was glued to the Food Network. During her sophomore year at Sacred Heart, Molly was intrigued when chemistry teacher, Frances Saukas, said early in the year that making waffles could be considered chemistry because of the chemical reactions during the cooking process. "During every class until spring, I asked if we could make waffles," she remembers. The teacher finally gave in and scheduled a waffle-making day — and Molly experienced firsthand the connection between food and science.  

Now, with degrees in both culinary arts and culinary nutrition, and with experience as a line cook, bartender, and catering chef, Molly is a registered dietician in the cardiac intensive care unit of a hospital in Pensacola, Florida.  Describing her work, she says, "When I see my cardiac patients, I ask how they have been eating and if they’ve lost any weight. Often, when people are sick they eat very little and lose weight quickly. Quick weight loss can be dangerous because the body needs energy to battle the illness. If someone isn’t eating well, we'll discuss strategies to help them eat better. Additionally, I calculate how much tube feeding a person will need to meet caloric goals if they are unable to eat.”

Molly also works with people who want to eat healthier or lose weight. She notes that her experience as a chef is useful to her as a dietician, making her better able to help clients understand what eating healthy means. "Recently," she says, "my supervisor had me see a family who had questions about healthier cooking. They were very upfront and said, 'We eat out almost every meal because we don’t know how to cook.' So I talked to them about how to prepare some simple meals and ways to be healthy while eating out. Eating healthy can be as simple as a few small changes in shopping for and preparing food."

Molly has a short list of guiding principles about food: "Everything in moderation." "Simple is usually better." "Eating is social." She says, "I don’t like when I see people eating out together, and, instead of talking, they are staring at their phones. I love sitting down for a meal with friends or family and talking about the day. If you want to take a quick picture of the food, go ahead, but then go back to being grateful for the food and enjoy your time together."