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Yum-o!’s Executive Director Attends Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives Conference in California

April 20, 2009  • 

In early April, Yum-o!’s Executive Director, Andrew Kaplan, was invited to the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives conference at the beautiful Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone, in St. Helena, CA. Presented by the Harvard Medical School Osher Institute and the CIA, the event is a semi-annual gathering of physicians, dietitians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, along with foodservice directors and executive chefs. At each conference, the team from Harvard presents information about some of the most pressing health challenges facing us today, while the team led by the CIA chef instructors shares the latest and most approachable trends in nutritious and healthy eating and cooking. With these knowledgeable and dedicated groups combining forces, "Together, this was one of the most powerful conferences I have ever attended," Andrew reflects.

Andrew attended this conference last year on behalf of Yum-o! as a guest, but was privileged to be asked back as a presenter this year to present several cooking demonstrations focusing specifically on cooking and kids. He has shared his experience with us, below.

"The first demo I did focused on fast, healthy meals. I cooked Rachael’s Rollover Turkey Bolognese Sauce that she made when President Clinton was on her show. I showed the attendees how to take one nutritious recipe of Bolognese sauce made with all-white-meat-ground turkey and transform it into three separate dishes to eat throughout the week. I’m always happy to share new and exciting cooking techniques with people and open new doors to their culinary repertoire.

"On the following day, I did a demo more focused on children’s nutrition and how to get kids (and their parents) interested in good nutrition and great food. I noticed that one of the pediatricians in the group had brought her two children with her, 6-year-old Sara and 8-year-old Nicki. They became my sous chefs! This was not planned, but wound up being very eye-opening for the participants watching the demo. They saw how kids can be included in the kitchen – how I had them smell things, touch things and taste things – much to their excitement and fascination. 

"Overall, this was not only a successful demo experience, but also a moving weekend. Being able to inspire attendees and encourage them to get in the kitchen and cook with kids is all positive for me. To hear people say, ‘Andrew, I can’t wait to go home and cook with my kids,’ and to have a parent tell me that participating in my demo ‘sparked something in [the girls’] imagination and cooking is suddenly much more magical and fascinating’ is a big part of why I was there, and is what Yum-o!’s mission is all about."

In addition to the Rollover Turkey Bolognese with Whole Wheat Spaghetti (and the Rollover Turkey Tomato Soup and Turkey Vegetable Chili that go with it), Andrew cooked Buffalo Chicken Chili, BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joes (he incorporated the ground turkey option), French Toast Cups with Fresh Fruit, Peeler Salad and Banana Sushi.