Courtney recently visited the Pa Enua of Mangaia along with chef and businesswoman Rangi Mitaera-Johnson to run a cooking demonstration aimed at expanding the healthy eating habits of the islands community.
Supported by the community-based health team of the Mangaia Red Cross branch members and led by chef Rangi, sit-down lectures and hands-on practical cooking lessons to inspire the mama’s in their own home kitchens.
Over the three-day course, up to 14 community members took part in preparing and cooking colourful and flavour bursting meals as well as learning to make sauces, dressings and even pickles.
The fertile farming lands on Mangaia are currently enjoying a boom in fresh produce, and workshop participants created a vegetarian menu on day one of the cooking demonstrations where they stir-fried fresh vegetables and noodles and created healthy salads and roasted vegetables.
On day two meat dishes were the order of the day, with stir-fried pork and pan-fried schnitzel with satay sauce on the menu.
Participants learned to make their own schnitzels to show how much healthier and economical making your own can be as an alternative to store-bought goods.
“We wanted to show that it can be easy making your own home-made food like schnitzel and expanding your cooking skills to best use their own locally sourced produces,” says Courtney.
Curried fish, vegetable dishes and quiche were on the menu on day three.
During lectures, participants learned basic hygiene techniques when handling food and how to create more nutritious lunch box ideas for children.
Participants learned the impacts of excess sugar consumption on the body, the impacts of not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and the positive effects of taking part in regular physical activity.
“One focus was to design and demonstrate simple, healthy dishes made from locally sourced fresh produce and long-life products,” says Courtney.
She says the cooking demonstration received positive feedback from those who attended with an evaluation conducted at the end of the programme.
“It’s great to know how to cook nice and colourful food with our very own veges,” commented one participant.
Courtney says it was good to learn how the community-based health programme can improve future workshops to aid the delivery of an important message – that people should eat healthy local produce and be more physically active to combat non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.
Courtney is grateful for support from the Mangaia Red Cross branch officer and executive members who helped make the programme. She is also pleased to have received constructive feedback to help improve future workshops on Mangaia. - Mana Media