Chef Joel Basumatari on Thursday emphasized on the importance of incorporating nuts and seeds in green salad menus to enhance the nutritional value of the food consumed during the last capacity building workshop at Umdiengpoh (East Khasi Hills).
He also held a cooking demonstration on the same day where he taught several Mid Day Meal (MDM) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) cooks how to enhance their menu. The programme was held under the theme ‘Enhancing nutritional diversity as a means of supplementing the mid-day meals (MDM) of primary school children using local resources’ as part of the ongoing GIZ project.
It may be mentioned here that Chef Basumatari is a member of the Slow Foods Chefs’ Alliance, holds a degree in Hospitality Management from Thames Valley University and also from the International Institute of Hotel Management (Kolkata). He has worked at the Crown Plaza London, Washington Mayfair and at the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai. He has been felicitating capacity-building workshops and holding cooking demonstration at three other partner communities of NESFAS this week.
Chef Basumatari said, “Using roasted pumpkin seeds in green salads is a great way to boost the nutritive value. However, when we ask community members, they say that they would use just a handful of pumpkin seeds to eat and store the rest and would even throw the remaining seeds.” According to a research done by NESFAS, pumpkin seeds are a rich source of omega 3, calcium and protein.
Badarishisha Nongkynrih, a nutritionist and an associate at NESFAS, who has been assisting Chef Basumatari in the cooking demonstrations, said the importance of adding lemon juice or other forms of citrus/Vitamin C rich foods in raw dark green leafy vegetables would usually enhance the absorption or iron content from the plant.
Chef Joel shared the importance of how incorporating nuts and seeds in green salads can enhance the nutritional value of the food consumed. He added that adding honey, salt and lemon juice creates a perfect taste when added to wild edibles that are mostly bitter in taste. He also stressed on the importance of presentation of food and how mothers should try it out at home to make their children eat more food
“I feel personally that people in the Northeast are not fond of desserts after food,” he said, while preparing a local vegetable desert for the community members during the community feast that was held in the evening.