John: Taking Control of Health with Home Cooking

I cook because I like the exact control of flavours, and to experience a variety of meals. – John

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Our latest cooking inspiration of the week, John, might have relied on the standard student meal plan – think Kraft dinners and hot dogs! – when he was still in school, but became a Kitchen Hero when he had enough of the processed food. Now he cooks his own meals and has come such a long way from the “student meal plan,” he can put together a Thanksgiving feast from start to finish, no sweat! Read more about John’s cooking journey in his Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Name: John Winter
Age: 32
City, State: London, Ontario, Canada
I cook for: myself often, and occasionally for my girlfriend and I.
Outside of the kitchen I: work from home doing quality analysis work for a search engine company, and run a Magic: the Gathering Youtube channel at youtube.com/TheManaLeek.
My specialty dish that everyone always asks me to make is: Pear and Ginger Cranberry Sauce
I cook because: I like the exact control of flavours, and to experience a variety of meals.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Chicken and Mango Summer Rolls (especially the peanut sauce!)

HOW DID YOU LEARN TO COOK?

Self taught via the internet and the Food Network. In second year university I decided I didn’t want to do the usual ‘Kraft Dinner and Hot Dogs’ student meal plan and went from there.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST COOKING CHALLENGE?

Planning meals in a way that results in easy grocery trips and less food wastage. *If* I put together a meal plan, the ingredients typically weren’t shared between meals and I’d end up with a good bit of spoiled / stale ingredients before long.


Having a weekly plan has really helped make my grocery store trips hassle-free, and using ingredients throughout the week helps me throw less things out.


How has your cooking routine changed since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?

Having a weekly plan has really helped make my grocery store trips hassle-free, and using ingredients throughout the week helps me throw less things out.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROUDEST KITCHEN MOMENT.

I cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner for 8 people – a full turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, the whole thing!

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR HEALTH AND SUCCESS IN THE KITCHEN?

A kitchen scale and MyFitnessPal. It sounds like a lot of work, but with practice it adds only a minute or two of work for exact control of your calorie tracking. It’s second nature to me now.


John, we’re so impressed that you went from student Kraft dinners to teaching yourself how to cook to meal planning more efficiently to cooking a whole Thanksgiving dinner for 8 people! You are such great motivation that anyone can learn to cook if they put their mind to it. Thanks for letting us into your kitchen and constantly sharing your beautiful food photos with us – they are truly an inspiration!

To join John and cook meals like his favorite Chicken and Mango Summer Rolls, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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