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Chef Marcus Von Albrecht

A bit of fresh thinking

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Chef Marcus Von Albrecht

Wolfing down ready-made salads from the corner store or speed-spooning a bowl of barley soup might get nutrients into the body, but food is more than fuel. Slowing things down and viewing the kitchen as a sanctuary can put a whole new spin on not only our cooking, but also our health.

Wolfing down ready-made salads from the corner store or speed-spooning a bowl of barley soup might get nutrients into the body, but food is more than fuel. Slowing things down and viewing the kitchen as a sanctuary can put a whole new spin on not only our cooking, but also our health. A cook all his life and past president of the British Columbia Chefs’ Association, Chef Marcus Von Albrecht is as comfortable at the table as he is at the cutting board. “Appreciating really good food is something anyone can do,” says Von Albrecht. “Taking the time to learn how it is all done and translating that into your own kitchen will entirely change what food means to you. Cooking is a profession for us, but it can be a tremendously therapeutic hobby for everyone.” Von Albrecht has gone to great lengths to espouse the virtues of healthy eating, physical fitness, and balanced living. In 2001 he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Alzheimer research. Each year he hosts a Healthy Chef 5 to 10 a Day cooking competition to raise funds and profile for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. For five years running, he has hosted fundraising dinners for breast and ovarian cancer research. On a daily basis he consults with chefs across the province, helping them make the most of the ingredients available to them. At present he is spearheading Hot Chefs, Fresh Thinking, a cookbook that highlights the relationship between local growers and home kitchens. Von Albrecht stays busy. He stays fit. He eats tremendously well and is a strong proponent of local and organic product. “I think too many people have distanced themselves from the foods they eat in terms of source and season, as well as preparation,” says Von Albrecht. “Anyone who spends regular time in the kitchen will tell you that while hard work is involved, the reward goes beyond the finished product. Put simply, cooking is fun and with the right mindset and ingredients can add years to your life.” While the causes for cancer are as multiple as the ways the disease presents itself, a healthy table offers both a good defence and a tasteful means of prevention. Everything from broccoli to blueberries and seaweed are heralded as anticancer crusaders, but ingredient list aside, there is a mind-body connection to consider. “There is absolutely no point in stressing in the kitchen. Stress can lead to more health problems than we might imagine,” said Von Albrecht. “Just keep the pantry stocked with quality ingredients, keep your workspace clean, and don’t be afraid to make a mistake or two. Stay focused and relaxed above all else.” Recipes Wherever possible, organic ingredients have been used in all our recipes.

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