In this era of rampant diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure and cholesterol, many healthy eaters have sworn off comfort foods in favor of salads dressed with vinaigrette, lean fish and meats, and veggies, veggies, and more veggies. But Chef Kenny Minor, a Harlem, NY native who has appeared on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” has re-imagined healthy eating to include soul food and southern cuisine. His cooking philosophy maintains that everyone can enjoy these types of foods with an easy remix of ingredients and techniques.
I recently had the opportunity to taste Chef Kenny’s delectable dishes during the first of his “Eat For Life: Re-Imagine Healthy” events at La Maison d’Art in Harlem. The occasion brought together style geeks (I peeped Beyoncé’s stylist Ty Hunter in the mix), artists, foodies, and restaurateurs, and we dined on a variety of southern dishes with a healthy twist, including Herb Catfish with Pickled Garden Veggies, Tortilla Chicken Bites with a Smoky Basil Sauce, and Watermelon and Charred Okra Salad with Chili Lime Dressing. (Check out Chef Kenny’s website for more recipes.) It was also a pleasure to chat with La Maison d’Art owner Stephanie Calla. And when we weren’t munching, we grooved to the tunes of DJ Ness Digital, who played a mix of old school R&B and hip hop. Feeling a little buzzed from a couple of trips to the open bar, I even enjoyed a little two-step with an older gentleman who I named Grandpa OG. (See pics below.)
With so many processed “foods” on the market, I can really get behind Chef Kenny’s philosophy. Eating for life doesn’t have to mean we sacrifice taste and comfort.