We had the good fortune of connecting with Mackenzie Burgess and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mackenzie, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science. This past summer of 2020, I completed my required dietetic internship and passed the RD exam so I am now a credentialed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)! On this journey to becoming a RDN, I started getting more into the culinary space and loved the challenge of using up ingredients I had and making healthy food taste delicious. I would always be the person bringing over tons of energy bites or extra vegetable curry I tested the night before for my friends to try. From here, I was inspired to create an online food blog with my original recipes called Cheerful Choices. On my blog, I focus on healthy recipes with customizable ingredients “of your choice”. This allows recipes to fit to different dietary preferences and use up ingredients already on hand.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
It was extremely difficult first starting my blog, Cheerful Choices. I really had to self-teach myself everything there was to know about food photography, website creation, graphic design, and SEO– but it has been so worth it. I have built up my website to reach over 20,000 people every month from all over the world. It’s so rewarding to see people trying and loving my recipes. I think the combination of being a registered dietitian and food blogger makes me pretty unique. Along with my free recipes, I have combined my expertise to create my own private practice. Here, I provide a service called “Coaching + Cooking”. This service allows individuals to learn personalized recipes made specifically for them and their nutrition goals. These sessions are all virtual and one-on-one with myself, the nutrition expert. My goal is to support people along their health journey and give them more kitchen confidence during this pandemic and beyond. Sometimes simple tips like the importance of colorful produce or the best way to cut a bell pepper seems like second nature to me. However, it may be something brand new to a client. I find it so rewarding to share these small learning opportunities and really have a positive impact on peoples’ health and cooking abilities. You can learn more about this service at: https://cheerfulchoices.com/coaching-and-cooking/
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Obviously, I am a huge foodie so the first thing I would plan out would be reservations to the best local restaurants. Trying out new restaurants is where I gain a lot of inspiration for my own recipes as well. Some of my favorites throughout Denver are Safta, Cru Food and Wine Bar, and Rioja. In Fort Collins, I love The Emporium, Austin’s American Grill, and Cafe Vino. Of course, in between the food I love to stay active too. Hiking in the beautiful Colorado sunshine is one of my favorite forms of movement. This would definitely be on the to-do list as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am extremely grateful for my mom, dad, and closest loved ones in my life. They have always been my #1 supporters along my journey to becoming a dietitian and starting my own business. On days when I am discouraged, they remind me of my goals and the positive impact I am making. They have also been my ultimate recipe taste testers!
Other: Coaching + Cooking service: https://cheerfulchoices.com/coaching-and-cooking/