Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Growing Chefs at Quest

On June 27th, our friends from Growing Chefs hosted the first of a series of Healthy Eating workshops at Quest. Our clients were given the opportunity to attend this fun and interactive workshop, which was conducted by Growing Chef’s Executive Director, Helen Stortini, and Chef Tanya Shklanka.

About Growing Chefs:
The partnership between Growing Chefs and Quest started in 2011. Since then, this remarkable organization has teamed up with Quest in educating the greater community on healthy eating habits. In October 2011, Growing Chefs assisted Quest with our Annual Partnership event by educating our clients on ways to eat healthy. Launched in 2005, Growing chefs currently sends out over sixty five volunteer chefs to seventeen Vancouver classroom, where children learn how to grow, harvest, and cook for themselves.

From a Quest client, thoughts on the workshop:

Although I understand that eating healthy is important, as I find that it helps me to manage my weight, increase my self-esteem, and think clearly, I find it challenging to put this in to practice seeing that unhealthy foods usually cost less and are readily available.

I was amazed at how great food can taste with little or no added salt and oil; we tend to think that more salt and more butter means a better flavour. This is not always true.
I also learned that not everything has to be difficult. The quick pickle technique taught me that food prep does not always require a lot of work, and that many vegetables can easily be kept for many weeks longer; if you can boil water, then you can  make your own homemade pickle.

It was interesting to learn of all the different things that you can do with one dish.
For example, the corn and black bean salad we made can be blended up afterwards, and made in to a dip; you can also add the leftovers to your stock bag, store it in the freezer, and use it to make a tasty soup stock. One dish, many alternatives!

I would definitely jump in line in order to attend the next session, I would recommend that anyone who is interested in eating healthy to do the same.

Black Bean and Corn Salad:

- 3 ears of fresh corn or 1 cup of canned frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1 cup diced green or red pepper
- 3/4 cup diced red onion
- juice of half a lemon or lime
- 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 or 2 tomatoes, chopped

Place frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil when hot, then the red pepper, the red onion, and garlic. Saute for three minutes, then add the tomatoes. Cook for another two minutes until the tomatoes release their juices. Add beans and corn, saute for another two minutes, or until the beans are heated through. Remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper, and citrus juice. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This dish can be used as a side with meat, as a sauce for pasta, with rice, or can be wrapped in a tortilla for lunch.

Get involved:

Our next workshop will be held on Wednesday August 8th  at Quest’s 2020 Dundas Street location. If you are a Quest client, and are interested in attending, please contact our Community Relations Coordinator at (604) 602-0186 Extension: 109, or by email at

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