Leslie Myers: Changing Lives Through Food
Leslie Myers is changing lives through food. A critical ingredient at the VEBA Resource Center in Mission Valley, the professional chef and former restaurant owner conducts cooking classes and healthy eating demonstrations both at the Resource Center and throughout the San Diego Unified School District.
The reception has been as welcoming as an ice cream sundae on a hot summer day.
“Most people like chefs and cooking demonstrations. We’re kind of like firemen in a sense. We’re pretty well received – plus, we’re giving away free food.”
A lifelong foodie and classically trained chef, the Culinary Institute of America graduate is also serving up an abundance of wisdom on eating right.
“The three things you often hear people say when it comes to cooking healthy meals is, ‘I don’t know how,’ ‘It’s too expensive,’ and ‘It takes too long.’” So I’m here to teach people how to cook quick, economical and flavorful food meals with a healthy spin.”
Recipes for healthy weekday dinners run the gamut. Slow-cooked chicken and green chili stew, garlic roasted carrots with sesame seeds, healthy turkey meatballs, and seasoned tofu. Quick and easy salmon and shrimp in black rice also fit the bill.
One of her favorite healthy concoctions: mango lime smoothie – with broccoli. “It takes a couple minutes to make and you wouldn’t even know it contained any broccoli.”
“Frozen vegetables put into a smoothie are Switzerland. They’re neutral. You don’t even know they’re there.”
Myers’ 30 years in the food industry includes working as a general manager at a Napa Valley eatery and owning a restaurant in Burlington, Vermont. As her dedication to decathlons continued to grow, she began focusing on healthier faire. “If your food is healthy, you perform better,” she said.
After Myers moved to San Diego in 2008, she began catering to athletes and cooking meals for seniors.
At VEBA, Myers’ task is getting people to eat healthy and eliminate bad habits.
“The goal with the nutrition-culinary programs at VEBA is to provide guidance and inspiration.”