SOUTHINGTON — With recipes like chicken piccata and pinwheel meatloaf, the Bread for Life Cooking Show aims to give residents some easy to make recipes while highlighting ingredients donated to the soup kitchen.
“Even though we're a soup kitchen, we can make really great food and these cooking videos help us showcase that,” said Executive Director Donna Ayer.
The first video, released last week, guided residents through a stuffed pinwheel meatloaf, a recipe Executive Chef Bob Paradis said was inspired by a dish served at Smokin’ With Chris, a local restaurant that supports Bread for Life.
“I just want people to try different things with some easy, inexpensive proteins and then other ingredients,” he said.
Being able to cook allows people to spice up their diets, Paradis said. He uses decades of culinary experience to come up with a menu every week for the soup kitchen and brought the same focus to the cooking show. In the video on pinwheel meatloaf, he encouraged watchers to adjust the ingredients to their preferences.
“I go online and I look at recipes also, but then I say, ‘Jeez, I could do that this way or try this ingredient in it.’ Like I said with the pinwheel, I used ham, cheese and spinach, but maybe they don't like ham, they want to use sausage,” he said.
Around a half dozen videos will be released over the next few weeks, streaming on the non-profit’s Facebook page and then available for future watching on its YouTube page. Each episode is hosted by a different person connected to Bread for Life, including volunteers, staff members of supporting organizations.
The video series was sparked by the response Bread for Life received to a video updating residents on their operations during the pandemic.
“The people that we serve are coming here for meals because they don't have the means to put together meals for themselves … but what it is doing is letting the community know what kinds of meals we’re serving,” Ayer said. “Our end goal is that people have been locked down and without family and friends and as we emerge from the period and people are getting together again we want to give them some recipes they can share.”
The videos were created through a partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, which covered the cost of hiring Miceli Productions to film the videos.
Kaylah Milligan, the foundation’s director of development and community response, said appearing in one of the videos was like getting a taste of being a Food Network star. Both she and foundation President David Obedzinski hosted their own segments.
“It was a blast. I actually did it with my husband, we brought in a recipe we do at home,” she said.
Reaching out to residents through a different platform allows Bread for Life to show their mission and attract new donors, Milligan said.
“They have a wonderful impact on the community and I know that it was a struggle for them during Covid, not having as many donations...,” she said.