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Cooking for a cause

Jodie Gibson was in the midst of chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer last summer when she opened her business, Adoro Olive Oils and Vinegars.
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Kyle Paden demonstrates how to make couscous salad at Adoro Olive Oils and Vinegars March 21. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.
Jodie Gibson was in the midst of chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer last summer when she opened her business, Adoro Olive Oils and Vinegars.

Now that she's in remission, Gibson has decided to give back to the Northeast Cancer Centre, where she received her treatments.

During March, which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, she's donating a percentage of her sales to the Northern Cancer Foundation, which supports the Northeast Cancer Centre's activities. She also hopes to raise awareness of the disease.

“I am very happy to do it,” Gibson said. “The people at the cancer centre are wonderful.”

She also hosted a cooking demonstration in support of the cause at her store March 21.

Kyle Paden, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and the owner of a local business called Kyle's Cakes, which produces cakes for weddings and local restaurants, showed a small audience how to prepare several healthy recipes featuring Gibson's products.

On the menu was lentil and brown rice salad, fennel and apple salad, couscous salad, tabooli, black bean salsa and strawberries with balsamic vinegar.

Paden, who also gives cooking demonstrations at Kitchen Bits, gave a running commentary as she prepared each dish, answering the audience's questions.

“The recipes featured different grains, and trying to use the ingredients as much in their natural state as possible, and using ingredients that have a lot of flavour to them,” she said.

“As I said in the beginning of the class, eating healthy doesn't mean you have to eat boring and tasteless food. It can have a lot of great flavour.”

People don't seem to want to cook these days, Paden said. Instead, they frequent the frozen-food section of the grocery store.

“I think they think they're too busy,” she said.

“I understand everybody is busy. It does take a little bit of thinking and planning ahead, but I like to show people that it doesn't always need to take a lot of time. It could be 30 to 45 minutes, and you could have a nicely-balanced meal on the table for your family.”

Paden said she loves sharing her passion for cooking with other people.

“Usually, with everyone who comes, it's like preaching to the choir, because they're interested,” she said. “It's always a good reaction.”

Rob Whipple, one of the people who attended the cooking demonstration, enthusiastically tasted everything Paden made.

“I've always wanted to try a cooking class, and I thought this would be a good start,” he said. “I love to cook. I don't do a lot of baking, but I do cook Italian, and I do quite a bit on the barbecue as well.”

When asked if he plans to make any of Paden's recipes, Whipple said “oh for sure. With salad I make Caesar salad, Greek salad and green salad. But there's just so much more out there to do.”

Adoro Olive Oils and Vinegars is located 1984 Regent St., Suite 112. For more information, phone 705-586-3404, or visit www.adorooilsandvinegars.ca or facebook.com/adorooilsandvineagars.

For more information about Kyle's Cakes, phone 705-673-3985 or visit www.kylescakes.blogspot.com.

Couscous salad

2 cups water
2 cups whole wheat couscous
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 seedless cucumber, seeded and diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup chick peas
1/2 cup raisins
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Dressing:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
dash of Tabasco sauce
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in couscous. Cover and let sit five minutes. Stir with a fork to fluff, and place in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, and toss with the dressing.

Posted by Arron Pickard

Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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