METRO DETROIT — Shelly Kemp, the executive director of the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, likes to lend her hand in the kitchen at Mirepoix Cooking School in Holiday Market.
But she’s hardly a trained chef, and she certainly wasn’t always an avid cook.
“My mom would be the one who would make sloppy Joes out of the can,” Kemp said. “But I can tell you the minute that changed. I got married in 1997, and right around then, I was at the bookstore and I picked up this Italian cookbook from Food & Wine (magazine). I thought I would try something new, so I just started. It was authentic Italian cuisine, but it was quick and easy. And I fell in love with it.”
That’s all it took. A little dabble resulted in a big lifestyle change, Kemp said. Soon, cooking became a kind of meditation for her, and she said preparing dinner for her family turned out to be a great form of stress relief.
“It was a mental health thing. I was preparing something for my husband and my son, and I knew where everything they were eating came from. And there was the added boost when everyone says, ‘Oh my God, this is amazing.’”
And the health benefits of learning to cook aren’t limited to the mind. As you might expect, even basic skills to prepare fresh food at home can lead to a lot of physical payoff — more energy, better digestion, and if you do it right, a smaller waistline.
Showing people how to design their diet for their nutritional goals is what Stacy Goldberg does every day. She’s the founder of Savorfull, a Quicken Loans venture aimed at helping organizations like corporations and even sports teams get their nutrition in check despite their intense schedules. She just ended a stint as the Detroit Pistons’ nutritionist, and she still serves as the official nutritionist for the NBA Coaches Association.