This past week our grades 9 and 10 students had the opportunity to meet with Executive Chef Jinu Abraham in his kitchen at Hectors Restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand. Chef Jinu has earned renown across New Zealand for his commitment to the Good Food Project, which centers around promoting sustainable food that is locally sourced and healthy dining. It was an informative and interactive couple of hours, and Chef Jinu did an excellent job explaining nutrition basics; what constitutes clean, whole foods; and how ingredients impact our body. We also learned how to prepare various options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a total of 12 dishes being demonstrated from start to finish. Chef Jinu also shared tips on making homemade muesli, the trick to preparing perfectly poached eggs, and creating vegetarian options such as mushroom tofu wraps and freshly prepared mince and beet burgers!
Chef Jinu welcomed us into Hectors by offering a variety of snacks for our initial discussion on nutrients, including a berry puree and coconut yogurt birch muesli and fresh fruit and sandwiches.
He then demonstrated the perfect technique for making poached eggs:
Finally, he showed us how to prepare fresh birch muesli and berry yogurt smoothies, which much to our students’ delight were available for taste testing! The smoothies were a favorite to many of our students, and one in particular, Victor, worked to take recipe notes throughout the session.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to Chef Jinu and his staff for teaching us about the essentials of nutrition as well as preparing some delicious, healthy meals for us! The event was clearly a success, as I noticed that when our students completed their weekly food orders in the days following the visit, many of them had been inspired by Chef Jinu’s recipes.
Here is what some of our students had to say about their experience:
“I really enjoyed this seminar! I thought it was fun and interactive as well as very informative! I learned a lot about cooking style in such a short amount of time. I’m definitely going to try to make some of the vegetarian dishes; Mayoya and I actually tried to make the fried rice the same night we came back and it turned out pretty well!” -Ayesha
“Oskar and I have used some of the recipes Jinu showed us, especially making smoothies. It was really good to learn some other healthy ways to cook and eat. Jinu was a great guy as well, and the Thai beef salad wrap was amazing. It was a great and worthwhile experience and everyone loves free food!” -Elliot
“My experience with Chef Jinu was a very enriching one. I learnt so many recipes, and the best thing is that they are all healthy and easy to make. My favorite recipe was the mushroom and tofu wrap, as it was easy to make, healthy, and delicious. I could make it for lunch and it could even be a great dinner too! Chef Jinu was really experienced and helpful, and it was fun learning new stuff from him. I hope I meet him again in the future to learn more things and use all the recipes he told us about.” -Utkarsha