By Jennifer Nall
DESTREHAN – You can eat healthy “on the cheap” with gourmet recipes from St. Charles Parish’s own Chef Ed Rhinehart that are simple enough for anyone to make. “Healthy cooking is big right now,” Rhinehart tell the Herald-Guide.
“And I mean really big.”
His homemade vegetable soup, the South Louisiana Farmers Salad, Asian Chicken, and his Cajun Crunchy Rolls are just a few of his delicious recipes that are healthy and relatively inexpensive.
The South Louisiana Farmers Salad can be made for as little as $3 and his Cajun crunchy rolls can be made for around $17 and serves eight.
This fall, as part of the parish’s community education program, he incorporated healthy eating into his classes. He taught “Getting Started on a Healthier Menu Plan,” “Low Fat Appetizers” and “Fresh Salads and Dressings” classes.
Rhinehart has some tips to help people lead healthy lifestyles.
“Do not eat after 7 p.m., try to eat sugar free products, stay away from fried foods and always drink eight glasses of water a day,” he says.
In addition to teaching healthy classes, he also writes diets for special needs patients, and goes shopping with people to help them choose healthy products and pick out what they need to incorporate into their diets.
Rhinehart taught over 10 classes this semester at the high schools, and says that his Cajun Sushi class was the most fun.
As many watch what they eat, so does Rhinehart, and says that his favorite thing to eat and make are salads.
“My favorite meal to make is the Cajun crunchy salad which consists of pecans, blue cheese crumbles, sliced apples, onions and a balsamic vinegar dressing, which I make from scratch,” says Rhinehart.
Although Rhinehart is a big fan of healthy food, with the holidays coming up it is OK to cheat a little.
“I always make Seafood Bread Pudding and Death by Chocolate Cake for the holidays,” says Rhinehart.
Rhinehart says he has always enjoyed cooking. “I’ve been cooking forever. I actually started really getting into it when I was 14.”
“I was always active in preparing meals for the holidays. I used to get up early Thanksgiving morning and watch my Mom put the turkey in the oven.”
Rhinehart teaches cooking classes at both Hahnville High School and Destrehan High School, and is an instructor at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux and used to teach at the Culinary Institute of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.
In addition to teaching, Rhinehart has his own line of hot sauces and seasonings, does catering, does cooking demonstrations at the St. Charles Farmer’s Market Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, and has a book titled, “The Culinary Stylings of a True Professional.”
He has done book signings in Louisiana and as far away as New York.
Rhinehart is also looking forward to opening a restaurant, called Chef Ed’s, in the New Sarpy area.
Rhinehart is originally from the Baton Rouge area, but moved to Destrehan seven years ago. He is a Certified Culinary Professional, a Food Manager Professional and also is internationally certified.