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As folks are rediscovering cooking and eating meals at home to save money and enhance wellness, grocers are stepping up efforts to educate them on the proper tools and techniques.
The latest is Iowa-based Hy-Vee, whose Louise Avenue supermarket in Sioux Falls, S.D. has hired a full-time chef to oversee food displays, conduct food preparation demonstrations, hold classes and be an overall resource to shoppers.
“To have a chef is a great asset for the store and the customers,” Jenn Colgan, registered dietitian, told the Sioux Falls, S.D., Argus Leader, noting that it’s a valuable service to make “that culinary expert available to give people ideas on how to incorporate new things in their meals and recipes.”
On the job since last month, chef Scott Teal – a cook for 25 years who has worked in restaurants and long-term care facilities – plans to demonstrate new items and highlight food trends, and expects to start holding classes in August. “Making your own food is enjoyable and economical,” Teal told the Argus Leader. “The goal is to push that forward.”
Teal said he plans to incorporate new ingredients to inspire novice and experienced cooks – the chocolate grape tomato, for example. “It has a more brownish color and is new to the market,” he explained. “We’re able to bring that in and expose the item to Sioux Falls cooks.”
Teal also plans to use locally grown food and fresh herbs when possible. “I want to be known as someone who can help people who are interested in cooking for themselves and others and to make it an enjoyable experience for them,” he said.
This past spring, Hy-Vee hired celebrity chef Curtis Stone to create easy, family-friendly meals. Stone, a celebrity chef from Australia, is the host of “Top Chef Masters” on the Bravo channel and appears as an investor/mentor on NBC’s “America's Next Great Restaurant.”