This March we are celebrating National Nutrition Month® by exploring the cultural eating traditions of the Mediterranean. Hear how some of our top chefs got to where they are today and what they think about the Mediterranean lifestyle.
How did you get your start in the culinary world?
I started cooking for my family at a young age as a way to help support my family the best way I knew how – with food! From there, I loved the feeling of being able to provide my family with something healthy and delicious to keep them going throughout the day.
Where do you find inspiration for cooking?
By biggest inspirations for cooking are both my mom and grandmother. Growing up in Louisiana, I grew up in a family of amazing cooks! I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
How do you think a Mediterranean cuisine fits into a healthy eating style?
The Mediterranean diet has always been a staple of a healthy way of eating. Here, the diet is full of fruits, vegetables, heart-healthy fats, and fresh flavors! I believe this diet can fit with anyone wanting to follow a healthy, flavorful eating style.
Do you have any practical tips for beginners in the kitchen?
Don’t be afraid to try to things! There is a vast variety of flavors and food combinations that you may not realize you love until you try it! In the words of Bob Ross, “there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents!”
What is your favorite Mediterranean dish and why?
A simple vegetable tagine recipe packed with warm Moroccan flavors is one of my new favorite one-pot meals. Think of Moroccan tagine as a succulent, slowly simmered stew. The balance of sweet and savory flavors coupled with the intensity of spices sets this vegetable tagine apart from other Mediterranean dishes and is one you should definitely try! Plus, it is made with many common household ingredients such as potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.
Bio: Catharine Thayer works as an Executive Area Chef over several states in the Central Region for Chartwells K12. She feels she has the best job in the world, being able to serve up happy and healthy meals to students every day.