Whistler's Community Kitchens program is coming to an end.
The interactive cooking classes, designed to teach people how to prepare healthy and yummy foods on a budget, will wrap up at the end of this month.
The move to cancel the program comes after a thorough review and update of Whistler Community Services Society's programming.
"It wasn't fitting our mandate," said Sara Jennings, of the program that was designed for lower income individuals.
"We just found that it wasn't really attracting those types of people... It was rare for us to have somebody attend that was financially restricted."
So, the program morphed organically — classes including traditional Slovakian potato pancakes, Japanese pork gyoza, and baking with gluten-free grains.
That's not to say WCSS is abandoning the cooking concept entirely.
"We are exploring ways that we can still provide education around healthy eating and food for people who are low income and/or socially isolated," hinted Jennings.
In the meantime there are two classes left in March before Community Kitchens closes shop.
Chef Sarah Uy, who works at the wellness centre at Nesters, will lead the last two classes.
On Monday, March 9, Uy will teach the class how to make cauliflower tabouleh and falafels following a Raw Food Diet. On Monday, March 30 it's vegetable noodles with two different sauces, again following the Raw Food Diet.
Uy was a vegetarian for years before she decided to move towards raw food.
"I just felt I wanted to take it to another level," said Uy, who moved to Whistler from Alberta for the bike park 14 years ago.
She was already eating a plant-based diet but she wanted to take it further.
"The benefits of raw food is the preservation of the digestive enzymes innately found in food, which leads to better digestion, more energy, stable emotions and a more positive outlook," she said.
This was about six years ago, before raw food was really on the map.
She attended the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in California to learn how to prepare raw food.
The experience taught her the fundamentals of the raw food diet.
"Just like learning how to make a great brown sauce when you go to a French culinary school," she said.
When she returned to Whistler, she wanted to share what she had learned with the community.
She's had to be creative.
She has, for example, been involved in four pop-up raw food dinners that have sold out.
"People were interested and people got to experience gourmet raw food," said Uy.
Community Kitchens was another great venue for sharing her knowledge and passion for raw food. And to top it off, it was affordable for community.
"It is sad that it is coming to a close because I enjoyed meeting the community, but I will continue to be a catalyst for people to move towards plant-based eating, especially raw. Whether it's through classes, pop-up raw food dinners or whatever else I can dream."
Uy said she likes to keep it loose, like an artist would their project, or a musician their songs.
"I don't want have to do something because I have to, I want to do it because I feel creative and I feel motivated and I have an idea and I want to put it out there," she said. "I just want to keep it in that realm of creativity."
To book a spot in the last two classes contact Sara at 604-935-7717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each class is $10.
Almond Feta Cheese (from Living Light)
Yield:1 1/2 cup cups (6 servings)
1 1/2 cup almonds, hot soaked for five minutes, peeled, soaked again in cold water to cover for eight-12 hours
1 or more cups purified water +1/4 tsp probiotic powder
2 tsp light miso
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/8 red onion, minced
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of Himalayan crystal salt
1. Drain the almonds and blend them with the remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender, adding more water if needed to achieve a smooth creamy texture
2. Select a pint sized strainer (a plastic berry basket works great) and line it with cheesecloth, allowing several inches of the cloth to drape down around the sides, Set the strainer on top of a shallow baking dish and pour the nut butter into the cheesecloth. The baking dish will catch the liquid as it drains from the cheese. Fold the excess cheesecloth over the cheese and place it in a warm location to ferment for eight to 12 hours. (Less fermentation is required in warmer weather.)
3. After about two hours of fermenting, place a weight on top of the cheese to help press out more of the excess liquid. An ideal weight is a cup of grains or seeds.
4. After the cheese is fermented, put it in the refrigerator in a sealed container large enough to hold the weight of the cheese. Chill for 24 hours to allow more of the liquid to drain.
5. Store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to one week.