Doc & the Chef – hosted by Matt Haley and Dr. Uday Jani

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Was I surprised to see a full-house for a cooking class on a Monday night in Lewes!

More than 130 people turned out for the first Doc & the Chef class hosted by Matt Haley and Dr. Uday Jani.

Matt, the owner and executive chef at SoDel Concepts, was recently honored with the prestigious James Beard Humanitarian Award. His restaurants include Fish On! in Lewes where the event was held, and six other fine dining restaurants in coastal Delaware.

Matt has developed a solid relationship with Chef Tim Hunter, Chef Instructor for the Food Bank of Delaware’s Culinary School in Milford. For us, the relationship is valuable in that our students, depending on where they live, may work their two-week internship in one of those fine restaurants.

Dr. Jani, named as one of Delaware Today magazine’s Top Doctors for 2013, is a Lewes-area internists, specializing in integrative care.

So when I saw an announcement for this free class, I immediately called and signed up, and I was not disappointed, nor was anyone else, I’d say.

OK, so how much is covered in an hour? I came home with ideas for healthy and delicious food preparation. . . ways to cook beets, brussel sprouts, and also how to use them in salads. Matt suggested adding roasted pecans and walnuts or raw lentils to salads as well. He cooked while he spoke, and in his own relaxed and laid-back style offered hints on everything from olive oil to turmeric and black pepper.

The chef suggested ways to economize, minimize waste and make creative pairings, such as the green beans, mushroom, garlic and curry combination.

Although they had a mission, the pair took a relaxed tag-team approach, with Dr. Jani and his wife, who was on the sidelines, contributing interesting, practical ways to incorporate lentils, quinoa, flax and hemp seed in our meals.

Here’s one reason why Matt was honored with the Beard award:  at the door, those attending were asked to make a $10 contribution to The Global Delaware Fund, a not-for-profit managed by the Delaware Community Foundation.

Global Delaware provides financial support for essential needs, for counseling and scholarships. Beneficiaries have included the Food Bank of Delaware, La Esperanza, Delaware’s foster children and Pranjal Children’s Academy in Nepal.

No date or location has been announced for the next in this series.

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