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Cooking Matters Michigan

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

Volunteer spotlight: Sam Bullock

dorothy hernandez

Chef Sam Bullock is trying to change the negative perception that nutrition is unattractive, one recipe and person at a time. A native of Detroit, Sam approached us last year about volunteering for us with an interest in working with youths. He is signed up to do a kids class this month and taught a class at Shear Head Start during the fall.

The Beverly Hills resident answered some questions for us about his career and love of cooking. Thanks for all you do, Chef Sam!

Why did you go into culinary arts? I pursued culinary arts in order to satisfy a commitment to my passion! Love of cooking has been a part of my history, beginning with cooking in the kitchen with my parents and grandparents, and on to experimenting and creating on my own throughout my later years.

Where did you go to school? I graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, with a BA in Business Administration, followed by an AAS in Culinary Arts from The Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago - Le Cordon Bleu.

Where have you worked? During my professional cooking career I have worked for many well-known Chicagoland restaurants including Charlie Trotters and Tru, as well as Metro Detroit restaurants including Shiraz, Coach Insignia, and Andiamo Italia.

What brought you to Cooking Matters? I volunteered for Cooking Matters because I see a need in sharing tools and resources designed to establish and enhance better eating habits for us all! Wellness and nutrition can be commonly viewed as difficult and unattractive. My goal is to change this perception, one person and recipe at a time if need be.

Is there a highlight from class that you would like to share? During the class I participated in at Shear Head Start there were many notable moments. One in particular was the Barley Jambalaya recipe prepared during the first class. I recall the students commenting the dish looked to have too many vegetables, not enough meat, and no salt so it couldn’t taste good. Many of the students were unfamiliar with barley in general. However when the dish was completed and tasted by the group, many liked it and could not believe we were able to create something as tasty with the small amount of ingredients on hand. I found this to be a pivotal moment in bridging the divide to better nutrition and wellness that may have existed within this group.

When you are not working, what do you like to do? In my spare time I enjoy reading, movies, and gaming. I enjoy a night out just as much as time spent at home with family and friends.

What are your favorite restaurants in the area? My favorite restaurants include Chen Chow Brasserie in Birmingham and Town Tavern in Royal Oak. My all time favorite place to eat is the annual TasteFest held in Downtown Chicago (yes! -dorothy)!

What would your last meal be? If I had to select a last meal, it would be braised beef short ribs with foie gras, micro greens, and pesto mashed potatoes, a spin on a dish prepared by a chef friend of my at the No. VI Chop House in Novi. I don't eat this dish often, and don't eat much beef for that matter, but this is my last meal, isn't it?

Grilled Salmon w/ Cilantro and Lime Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 6 minutes Servings: 2

Ingredients: • 1 T shallots, chopped • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro • 1/4 - 1/2 cup lime juice • 3/4 T olive oil • 1/4 t salt • 1/4 t freshly ground pepper • 2 (4oz) salmon fillets • 2 Fresh cilantro sprigs

Prepare: • Combine shallots, chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt & pepper in a bowl. Pour over salmon. Preheat grill to medium / medium-high; coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. • Grill on rack, covered with grill lid, 6-8 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.

Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Servings: 2

Ingredients: • 1 t sesame oil • 1 T rice vinegar • 1 T mirin • 1 T chopped fresh cilantro • 1/2 cucumber, scored and thinly sliced

Prepare: • Combine sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin, and cilantro in a bowl; add cucumber and toss until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours; let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.