While many students are still trying to figure out their goals in life, Estelle Chappert knows what she wants.
As a U3 Management student working towards a major in general management and a triple concentration in marketing, international business, and social business and enterprise, Chappert’s goal is to learn how profitable businesses operate. Her primary hope is to help nonprofit organizations and NGOs succeed. Yet despite her business acumen, her primary passion lies in food education. Chappert has an incredible knowledge of food; she researches the benefits of each ingredient she uses so that she can keep track of her eating habits.
An issue she feels strongly about is the sustainability of food production. Chappert does not agree with the norm of food consumption in developed countries, especially compared to the disparities in food allocation around the world.
“The way we eat today is unsustainable,” Chappert said. “Instead of eating for necessity, our society eats luxuriously.”
One of Chappert’s goals is to discover the alternatives to the consumption habits we see as normal. This realization was inspired by the documentary Food Inc., which also influenced her decision to become a vegetarian. The film further encouraged her to invest time in becoming more aware of how our food system operates.
“It taught me to be more aware of the hidden flaws of our food system that can definitely be improved, if only we knew more about it,” she said.
Living a “no-nonsense approach to life,” as Chappert calls it, is a crucial element when transiting from an environmentally unsustainable lifestyle to one that encourages minimalism. One of her recent inspirations is Mark Burch, the author of Stepping Lightly.
“[The novel] promotes the idea of pursuing non-material aspirations, while providing for material needs as simply and directly as possible,” she said.
With a desire to contribute to the McGill community through her passion and knowledge of food, Chappert spends many hours volunteering at Midnight Kitchen, a nonprofit organization on campus that serves pay-what-you-can vegan meals as an alternative to the present market-based food system. She also enjoys the creative and social side of cooking and serving at Midnight Kitchen.
“This is a useful way to use food surplus that would otherwise go to waste,” Chappert said.
In an attempt to resolve issues with overconsumption in society, she is committed to raising awareness about educating individuals on society’s food production, as well as personal nutrition.
“[I want to identify] what our body needs, versus what culture has taught us we should eat,” Chappert said. “I hope that we will become more aware about the way we live and translate that knowledge into a way of life that is sustainable for us and other living beings.”
McGill Tribune: What is the best place on earth?
Estelle Chappert: The Alps, or anywhere with mountains.
MT: What is your favourite food?
EC: Indian food; everything is so delicious, and most of it is vegetarian.
MT: Which celebrity or historical figure would you like to meet?
EC: Henry David Thoreau for his incredibly accurate and poetic thoughts on our behaviour towards each
other and nature.
MT: What TV series would you like to star in?