Feature: Iron Chef Nutrition

Iron Chef Nutrition is a Fitness Meal Prep Company specialising in fitness and healthy food with a culinary chefs spin on it’s dishes. These are not only well presented but delicious! Eating healthy, nutritious meals have never been easier. Since they have grown over the past year, they offer online custom personal training through app based technology as well as custom meal plans, thus making it convenient for clients with busy lifestyles.


We got together with Preneshan Shanmugam, the driving force behind Iron Chef Nutrition to ask him some questions:

1. You’re doing something very cool and have developed a niche which is very different from most chefs, how would you describe Iron Chef?

I have always had an obsession with fitness and with food. Starting Iron Chef was the perfect culmination of my two passions and given my discerning palette, I decided to create chef quality food in a healthy way that was convenient, fresh and busting with colour and flavour. We chefs like to say “We eat with our eyes” so why not have the best of both worlds?

2. You were previously in the IT field, what made you change career paths and was it difficult to make that transition?

Even though I started out my career in IT, my passion for food stemmed from my school days and grew with every rave review from my friends and family when they tasted my cooking. Being the ‘jock’ in the family, the fitness aspect came naturally and that made the transition easier… It’s the 12 hour shifts you never quite get used to.

3. There are many people who dread ‘clean eating’ because of the misconception that healthy food is bland and boring, what is the secret to making healthy food taste amazing?

We are so lucky to have a lot of companies developing natural, organic products. Some include marinades with almost no calories . The key is to use fresh ingredients like free range meat and organic produce , garlic , fresh herbs etc. There is also a misconception that food has to be boiled in order to be considered healthy, this is not true because as soon as you boil food you lose a great deal of nutrients in the cooking liquid. My tip to you is to get yourself a Grill Pan or a Braai Grill and consider that your new best friend! Your food will be flavourful and still packed with nutrients.

4. What is the biggest mistake your clients make when if comes to their diet?

Well the number one mistake is skipping meals , especially before and after your workout when you actually use your muscles for a workout. Eating post workout is crucial to replace any nutrients lost during your workout and to jump start your recovery phase. The other common mistake is over eating. Your meals need to be measured & spaced out so you feed your body the entire day to prevent any Catabolism.

5. You offer various meal plans, can you tell us about them?

Yes we do. We custom design each meal plan according to our clients individual needs and goals, whether it’s fat loss, bulking, lean muscle development or competition preparation. We do an in depth workout out plan, meal time table and give supplement advice at no cost to you. We are currently doing a app based service for clients who are not in the Durban region.

6. What’s the culture/ethos of Iron Chef?

It’s simple, I want you the client, to enjoy your food and enjoy your training while reaping the benefits of an aesthetic physique and not wake up every day sore and ask yourself ‘do i really have to eat this bland, boiled stuff again?’

7. A part of a healthy diet is choosing quality ingredients, do you have any tips on this?

The best part of my day is going shopping for Ingredients! i look for organic food options, that way i know there are minimal chemicals if not none at all in the produce. It’s also great to form a good relationship with your butcher. Meat and poultry needs to be perfectly trimmed of all fat and portioned correctly, this will save you time when you are doing your meal prep.

8. What’s the best and worst part of being Mr. Iron Chef?

The best part is knowing my clients are happy and well fed at the end of my day and receiving many compliments and positive feedback from my clients. The worst part is that I have to hide when eating a cheat meal at a restaurant!

9. What was your biggest business blunder in starting Iron Chef and what advice would you give aspiring chefs?

I started Iron Chef alone and with no capital.  I was basically a one man army which was my biggest blunder. My suggestion to upcoming chefs is to work for a large professional kitchen and take in as much advice and criticism as possible. If you can, work overseas as you will learn a great deal and your culinary arsenal with be much more fortified.

10. You’ve recently launched with an app called Trainerize, tell us a bit about that

So this is the other aspect of my business, we are now on the Trainerize App where we offer online coaching and tracking to our current clients. With this app, we will organise a training schedule for you, upload your meal plan time table, track your goals, upload progress pictures and keep you on the right track. It’s like having a personal trainer with you at all times, all in one easy to use app.

Download Trainerize App for iOS

11. What would your last meal be?

Peri peri glazed Grilled Chicken breasts – Sliced in strips, brown basmati or white basmati rice tossed in Brunoise. Diced carrots and spring onion, roasted sweet potato with garlic and herbs.

12. Where do you see Iron Chef in the future?

Since our launch, we have come a long way from our Prepped meals , Online coaching and One on One training to Fitness Apparel.

Hopefully we can build into a nationwide company and then an international brand. We have a lot hard work ahead of us, a lot of late nights and early mornings will be the order of the day for the next few years and we look forward to every moment!


Preneshan Shanmugam • Founder of Iron Chef Nutrition