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Cooking Matters Michigan

Empowering families with the skills, confidence and knowledge to prepare healthy and affordable meals

Volunteer spotlight: Jim Bologna

dorothy hernandez

(This month's spotlight brought to you by James Hartrick)

Jim Bologna is a new volunteer chef with Cooking Matters in Southeast Michigan. He is currently volunteering for a Cooking Matters for Adults EXTRA for Parents of Preschoolers course.

Jim originally wanted to attend the Naval academy but ended up going to Michigan State University. There he started his studies in the hospitality program. Jim quickly discovered that cooking was his favorite aspect of the program and that M.S.U. did not offer enough hands-on skills. He left M.S.U. for Schoolcraft College and quickly immersed himself in their culinary program.

While attending Schoolcraft College, Jim joined the culinary team and traveled with them to Singapore and Hong Kong. He also was part of a chef apprentice team that competed in the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg.

Jim landed his first major job at the now-shuttered Golden Mushroom in Southfield as the Saucier Chef. From there he went on to chef at Morels, A Michigan Bistro restaurant in Bingham Farms where he worked his way up to the executive chef position. After their closure, Jim worked for two years as the executive chef at the Capital Grille before taking over as the executive chef at his current place of business, the Townsend Hotel.

In addition to his work in various Metro Detroit kitchens, Jim worked for the catering arm of Holiday Market in Royal Oak. He has also taught before volunteering for Cooking Matters at the Mirepoix Cooking School, which is also located in Royal Oak.

Jim heard about our program through one of his co-workers who knows James Hartrick, our AmeriCorps member.

Jim’s favorite aspect of Cooking Matters is that the classes are very hands-on, which helps participants get excited about the material covered in the classes. He gets a sense that participants really care about the Cooking Matters classes because of the number of questions that are asked in class. Jim said that the classes are important because they help people make good nutrition decisions and show them how to quickly cook nutritious meals. He specifically feels that Cooking Matters helps combat the urge to purchase quick and unhealthy food options. Jim feels that the Cooking Matters for Adults EXTRA for Parents of Preschoolers curriculum is particularly effective in that it helps change eating habits of not just the adult participants but also the eating habits of their children.

Our program is strong because of our amazing volunteers like Jim Bologna! We really appreciate all of time that they donate to their communities!