The Vegan and The Kitchen Newbee AKA My Interns


Monday night I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve, both excited and nervous, like I was anxiously anticipating what Santa would bring me. Would my expectations be met? Would I get those super, awesome, limited edition rollerblades and be mindblown?! I was meeting my interns for the first time the next morning…this is the first time I have ever taken on interns and I honestly did not know what to expect!

Guess what? Santa (or should I say Dr. Sarah Woodruff, my Kinect-Ed partner from the University of Windsor) gave me some super, awesome, limited edition interns and I was mindblown. Sara Santarossa and Trish Dubé are young superstars in the food and nutrition industry…we need more people like them!! I could feel their passion as we talked about the importance of working with youth, family dinners, and the importance of positive body image.

WOW I thought, this is sooooooo cool! I couldn’t contain my excitement! After gushing about them to Ron, I had to call Sarah and tell her how wonderful I think the girls are!!

Quickly I learned that the girls were both very different in terms of their life experience! Making this such an awesome learning environment for the three of us!


Sara comes from a family with a vegan lifestyle…and get this, they are Italian! OK, I am intrigued. This gives us a wonderful challenge of modifying all of my recipes so that they can be enjoyed by vegans too! Sara really enjoys being in the kitchen and typically does not use a recipe. For lunch on our first day, she made African Thai Stew, following the recipe in Dinner Survival. Afterwards, I asked what she thought about our cookbook – I was happy to hear that even though she had never used one of our cookbooks, she picked up on how we lay out our instructions/ingredients (reading left to right!), and she thought this was sooooo much simpler than other formats she had seen!

TrishShoppingTrish comes from a large family, dominated by meat and potatoes! At home she hasn’t really been given the opportunity to get involved in any of the family meal preparation. This is her first time away from home, her first time really cooking her own meals (she made the common mistake of forgetting to boil the water for her pasta LOL), and the first time she has had to buy groceries. When it was Trish’s turn to cook lunch, I could sense that she was feeling a little overwhelmed and I reminded her that cooking isn’t a competition. How happy was I to see that by the time the meal was done she was beaming with confidence and proud to present us with a delicious dish!!!

Ever heard the one about the vegan and grocery store virgin going to shop for roasted chicken???? Let me tell you about it!!! The recipe called for 3lbs of deli roasted chicken…what do the girls come back with? 3lbs of deli roasted chicken LUNCH MEAT. Now, some may see this as a mistake BUT not me!!! I thought WOW, that’s…interesting. I am always fascinated with how our recipes are interpreted…and guess what??? The (Lunch Meat) Chicken in Crunchy Bread Cups with Cranberries was AWESOME!


Trish isn’t the only one experiencing firsts. Sara had her first experience cooking beef today…thank goodness for Ziplock bags, and cooking Together/Apart™, as Trish was able to pre-cut the meat ahead of time and store it in the ziplocks! Meaning, Sara did not have to touch it…she simply needed to dump the bag of beef into the frying pan!!!

As you can see, over these past couple days I have really been able incorporate our belief system, and I think the girls truly understand our mission. Our recipes are created assuming that the cook has never been in the kitchen (or that they are just too tired/mentally exhausted at the end of a long day and FEEL like they have never been in a kitchen!!!). I am looking forward to seeing what I can learn from the girls and what they can take away from their experience with me.

Here’s to many more firsts!!

One thought on “The Vegan and The Kitchen Newbee AKA My Interns

  1. You are so lucky to have the best interns!
    I’ll tell you right now, that Italian Vegan is my best friend. I’m a steak and potatoes girl who can barely spell ‘vegetable’.. This girl knows how to cook a meal that even the pickiest of people will LOVE. Perfect for those kids(and adults) who need a little more persuasion and maybe even a little deception to get them the healthy foods they need!
    Have fun with her! Put some Disney songs on while she cooks… It’s hilarious.

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