The teaching kitchen teaches healthy habits

August 6th – HIGH POINT – Kitchenology sells lunch, but what it’s really trying to sell is one idea: Eat healthy food.

Once things are in full swing this fall, Kitchenology will begin offering free community cooking classes, with an emphasis on fresh, locally grown ingredients, executive chef Ross Bolen said. The idea that fresh ingredients lead to longer and healthier lives will underlie all of Kitchenology’s activities.

“We’re trying to get people to understand the need to move away from preservatives,” he said.

Kitchenology was originally just a program of Hometown Heroes, a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating food insecurity by creating neighborhood food systems and programs through schools and community centers, leveraging the YWCA’s teaching kitchen.

But a $100,000 grant from the Earl and Kitty Congdon Family Foundation enabled the organization to lease the former Cozy Cannoli bakery site at 2107 Kirkwood St. (behind The Biscuit Factory on Eastchester Drive) and purchase all the equipment, which is required to equip a kitchen and small restaurant area.

In April, Kitchenology had a “soft opening,” where things started with little publicity, first teaching basic cooking skills to just a few UNC Greensboro students in the fields of nutrition and dietetics, and then expanding to include a simple menu of lunch items — mostly Offering soup and sandwiches to the public a few days a week, Bolen said.

On Friday, Hometown Heroes had a small ribbon-cutting ceremony, and today is the grand opening of Kitchenology. From 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., visitors can browse what’s on offer, talk to the staff about their mission, try some samples, and buy some things to take home.

Starting next week, Kitchenology will be open for lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Eventually, the kitchen will offer cooking classes, cookery and culinary medicine training for nutrition and medical students, and grocery boxes for food-insecure families enrolled in their nutrition literacy programs.

Bolen started out as a chef, graduating from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in 1997 and working in the field for 16 years. Then he changed careers and became a registered nurse for nine years. He said he saw many patients suffering from chronic diseases made worse by poor dietary habits.

Because of Bolen’s background, Hometown Heroes Executive Director Jonathan Seelig spoke to him about helping out at Kitchenology.

“When Jon approached me about what he wanted to do with it, I saw an opportunity to combine those two knowledge bases,” Bolen said.

Everyone in High Point that he and Seelig have spoken to about Kitchenology’s mission has been extremely supportive, Bolen said.

“So far it’s amazing,” he said. “There’s a real awakening in this community of people who want to go in the same direction.”

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