Cooking classes combine healthy habits, gourmet cuisine

PLYMOUTH — This winter, try your hand at whipping up some proscuitto-wrapped asparagus or roasted salmon in one of Fitness Forum’s new cooking classes at the LifePlex. Held once a month beginning in January, these classes focus on creating delicious food that is also healthy. Chef Brad Hindsley, of Spire Catering and Event Planning in LaPorte, will join forces with Phyllis Wille, owner of the New Kitchen Store in Walkerton, to demonstrate easy skills that will help class participants create their own gourmet masterpieces.
Hindsley said that he will offer tips on how to recreate family favorite recipes using less sugar and fat. Many of the dishes class participants will make are recipes that Hindsley has altered to be healthier. Others are dishes that Hindsley has created during his years of experience as a chef and as a professor at the Institute of Culinary Arts at Robert Morris University in Chicago.
Using organic or natural ingredients is important to Hindsley, who believes that people should eat food from their local environment as much as possible.
“The food tastes better knowing that it’s been grown chemical-free,” said Hindsley, continuing, “One of the questions that I get is, ‘Does organic cost more?’ And my answer would be no. If you go straight to the farmer, it’s not going to cost more, and it may even cost less (than what you would buy at a grocery store).”
Hindsley added that his favorite aspect of teaching classes is showing people how easy it is to prepare exotic-sounding dishes.
“I really enjoy the question and answer time,” said Hindsley. “I love to cook, cooking is second nature to me — but I always look forward to the questions people pose. I love seeing the shock value of how easy it is to cook. We are taking seemingly complicated recipes that are actually quite easy to prepare.”
This is the second time that Hindsley has done a class at Fitness Forum — he did a cooking demonstration for the Health Fair in September.
“I’m not a registered dietician,” noted Hindsley, “although I have worked with dieticians in the past. I’m just teaching about really good food.”
Hindsley and Wille will teach four classes, January through April. The classes are $40 per person per class, and should be registered for in advance. The January menu includes White Fish en Papillotte, Braised Fennel and Tomatoes, and Oven Poached Pears with Honey, Lemon, and Nutmeg. All classes are on the third Wednesday of each month, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
The classes are limited to 20 people each. To register, call the Fitness Forum at 574-936-2333.