How I spend my working day: chef and home economist Fiona Staunton

Fiona Staunton is a Ballymaloe trained chef and a Home Economist, who set up her service Fiona's Food for Life to educate busy workers and parents about nutrition and healthy eating. Fiona opens up her home to cooking demonstrations, tailoring sessions to encourage those watching to move from processed food to cooking from scratch. Here, she details what an average working day looks like for her


I wake at...6.00am, I know it’s early, but I find I do my most productive work early in the morning when my mind is clear, and the house is quiet — before my kids (aged 13 and 9) wake up! 

The first thing I do every morning is...some stretches for my troublesome back then it’s a cup of hot water with lemon and straight to my laptop to get some work done. I try not to check my phone for the first hour to avoid any distractions.

Breakfast is usually...a two-egg omelette with kimchi, a slice of sourdough toast and a glass of water kefir. I tend to eat around 9.00am as I aim for 14 hours fasting each night. 

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I can’t go to work without...a cup of mint green tea.

Deciding what to wear each morning is...easy, I wear sports gear to walk my daughter to school with our dog Sally and then I am ready for a gravity pilates class at the gym. 

The best investment I ever made in my work wardrobe was... My custom made aprons, in black and beige with my logo. They protect whatever I wear when teaching people to cook.

I travel to work by... going down the stairs! I work from home but if I have a cooking demonstration in a company that day, I have to drive with my many boxes of tricks.

I start my working day at...6.00am, then pause at 7.45 am until 9.00 am so I can get the kids off to school. 

I usually spend the first portion of the day... working on the laptop researching recipes and nutrition rather than prepping dishes in the kitchen. If I have a cookery demo that day, I am furiously packing up boxes and loading up my car to bring my kitchen to the office boardroom or canteen. 

I break for lunch at... around 1.30 pm. If I am at home, I like a quick but nutritious lunch like a bowl of homemade dahl or other soup. I don’t stop for long as my daughter arrives home at 2.40pm and my focus switches from work to hearing about her day and helping with her homework etc. If I am out and about and rushing between clients, I always have my homemade power bars with me for a pick me up. 

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Fiona and her family

I think meetings are...productive if they are a one to one with another like-minded businessperson. I know how lucky I am that my job revolves around my passion for food so thankfully I can mostly avoid long unproductive meetings and office politics.

The most useful business tool I use every day is...It has to be Buffer. Social media is a key part of my business. I have to admit I wasn’t always a major fan of social media as I find it can take over your life. I don’t post my every move or thought but it does allow me to share recipes, tips, interviews and other content as well as learn new things myself. Buffer allows me to schedule social media posts to go out when my audience is online which is in the evening. This allows me to spend quality time with my family instead of being glued to the laptop! 

I save time by... planning the day hour by hour — sometimes I even schedule in 20-minute blocks. As I am juggling my time between work and family, I find this is the best way to get things done and stay focused. Working for yourself can mean you never stop working so I make sure to also schedule in personal and family time to maintain a balance. 

I rarely get through my working day without...listening to a podcast and sharing it on my Instagram stories to help promote other people’s content. I am really enjoying The Doctor’s Kitchen, Chew the Fat, The Janet Murray Show and The Real Health Podcast. 

The best part of my day is...when I climb into bed with my husband at a decent time and chat through the day. I like to focus on what I have achieved and list five things I am grateful for. 

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The most challenging part of my day is...approaching dinner time. I want to finish up, so I don’t have to work after dinner as I like us to sit down and eat together around 6.00pm. It really helps if I have been testing recipes that day or I have leftover food or a dinner in the freezer. 

I know it’s been a good day if I...have inspired people to cook nourishing food from scratch and I can sit down after dinner and just relax with my husband, Keith. 

I usually end my day at...10.00pm, in bed reading a few pages of a book, so that I am up and raring to go at 6.00 am the next morning.

I switch off from work by...watching something on Netflix — currently, my favourites are Mindhunter or Homeland. 

Before I go to bed, I’ll always... check school lunches and clothes are ready for the next day and take my magnesium, as it is one of the minerals we all seem to be low on. I love my DoTerra Serenity oil rubbed on the inside of my wrist to help me sleep and an earplug in my ear that isn’t on the pillow! I then turn my phone on silent and leave it away from my bed. I found it difficult to fall asleep for many years and I find these small things work. 

I often prepare for tomorrow by...making a list and breaking the day down hour by hour so I can do my most creative work first thing in the morning but also schedule some me-time at the gym and any upcoming cookery demos.


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