The Park Slope Food Coop and Natural Gourmet Institute for Health & Culinary Arts have joined forces to spread the message of health to our Brooklyn community. With a popular and entertaining cooking demonstration on the first Thursday evening of every month, talented chefs affiliated with the school teach a variety of global cooking styles with one common theme: cooking can be fun, easy, and healthy.
Founded on the principle that what we eat significantly affects our physical and mental well-being, the Natural Gourmet Institute of New York City trains students to use food as a tool for healing through the use of traditional cooking techniques with healthy and sustainable fruits, vegetables, grains, seafood, and meats.
Focusing on the quality of food and balance of nutrients, students learn to cook healthful cuisine based on the individual needs of their clients with fresh, unprocessed, and whole foods. The school offers an intensive chef’s training program as well as public recreational classes for those interested in learning health-supportive cooking techniques to use at home.
In line with the Coop’s mission to provide affordable and healthy food to our community, Susan Baldassano, Director of Chef’s Training and Student Affairs at Natural Gourmet, recognized the opportunity to unite the two organizations with the common goal to spread health awareness to the public. As the class grew in popularity, she began to bring in other chefs associated with the school.
“For the first 5 years I taught all of the classes. After that I used my connections from working at Natural Gourmet to find other chefs to teach the demonstrations,” says Sue, a Park Slope resident. “The common theme is health-supportive, and most of the classes are vegetarian.”
Presenters have included well-seasoned chefs like Myra Kornfeld, Peter Berley, Jill Gusman, Sandor Katz, Judith Friedman, and Louisa Shafia. Students of the Natural Gourmet assist with all of the demonstrations as part of their training.
Ginger Jung, Membership Coordinator of the Park Slope Coop, strongly supports the blossoming partnership.
“Natural Gourmet trained chefs lead Coop classes that have a fun and healthful bent. The classes are well attended by members and non-members alike.”
Classes run on the first Thursday of every month from 7:30-9pm (September-June), and are open to the public for a minimal fee of $4. All of the demonstrations close with a lively interactive Q&A session while attendees enjoy tasty samples from the menu.
Coming up on Thursday, April 4th: Cherry-Blossom Inspired Dishes with local Park Slope chef, Hideyo Yamada. Completely vegan and gluten-free, the menu includes: Pink Terrine with Red Cabbage & Grapefruit, Cherry Blossom Potato Salad (shown above), Asparagus Buckwheat Risotto, and Rhubarb Sorbet.
Come early as the class fills up quickly!
Image via Chef Hideyo Yamada