GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- You can probably relate to this one: spending hours in the kitchen only to find the meal you've made didn't turn out as planned, or maybe your kids are constantly complaining about what they eat.
An in-home cooking and culinary training program called the OGO initiative was founded by food fanatic Ben Price in Grand Rapids to help identify solutions to those dinnertime dilemmas we all face.
After spending several years in the restaurant scene, Price decided it was time for a change. He now works as a private chef for hire and teaches others along the way.
Price goes into people's homes offering culinary education, nutrition coaching and improving the way people host parties and events. "I’ve always been more of a teacher than a cook," he said.
Price believes every meal should impact someone or at least be inspired by something.
For seven months now, OGO Initiative has helped busy moms and dads learn how to make meals that both parents and kids can enjoy, all while being stress free.
No matter what the meal is, Price says, "Get it on the table," because that's where people meet. "Present them in the way that is as palatable as you can make them for young kids, as they’re learning to develop these bitter flavors," Price said. "Don’t try to fight the taste battle and texture battle with your kids."
Price says you can try par boiling and sauteing green beans, braising kale, steaming hot ginger maple carrots, or cast ironing homey mustard brussel sprouts.
Price also suggests blanching veggies: throw them into boiling water for 90 seconds, then toss them in ice water.
Price says it's smart to think of food in categories (tart, sweet, spice) rather than trying to follow recipes step by step. Use salt and fat to balance out flavors.
"It’s the difference between having directions to somebody's house and knowing how to read a map," he said. It will help you make meals more meaningful and make whole foods easier to cook in simple but creative ways.
"When we’re trying to create these meaningful moments, it tends to fall into two categories, reducing stress or adding value," Price said. "There’s a lot of ways to get there."
Here are five ways Price suggests relieving the stress of cooking:
- Care less about what's on the table and more about who's around it.
- Prep meals to save time.
- Keep less in your fridge.
- Try eating healthier.
- Learn to not waste; cook seasonally.
Price also suggests planning two bailout meals per week, like pizza or hot dogs or going out to eat. Add value to those dishes by experimenting and trying new things.
"This only works if you keep your priorities in order," Price said. "It only works if you realize there’s someone across the table that’s worth it."
Sessions with Price can focus on anything from meal planning, nutrition, new cooking techniques to cooking for groups.
Meal planning and nutritional cooking sessions are $95, and OGO's Taste and Teach events are $25 per person with a four person minimum.
If you're interested in learning more, click here.