Posts Tagged ‘Olivia Roszkowski’

Natural Gourmet Institute CEO and founder, Annemarie Colbin

November 9 marked another milestone for Natural Gourmet Institute – 35 years since our founder Annemarie Colbin anticipated  the current trend by starting a cooking school in her home that emphasized the connection between food and healing.

While “whole,” “local,” “seasonal,” “organic,” and “sustainable” are the watchwords of the day, they’ve been a way of life and a commitment for NGI instructors, students, and graduates for over three decades. 2500 Chef’s Training and several thousand public class students later, we’re still at it and growing stronger.

The anniversary celebration was held at the school with NGI staff, instructors, graduates, and students in attendance. Kudos and thanks go out to NGI staffers Mollie Berliss, Mark Mace, Brandon Reichert, Sue Baldassano, Jeri Rostron, and Merle Brown, who worked together to create a warm, memorable, and festive evening.

The evening kicked off with a reception featuring elegant seasonal appetizers prepared by Chefs Jay Weinstein and Olivia Roszkowski, with the help and talent of Chef’s Training Program students. While guests feasted, schmoozed, and reminisced, they were entertained by the quartet Violet (featuring our own Assistant Director of Admissions Meredith Minogue) and classical guitarist Rudolph Vernaz-Colas.

The evening was also an occasion for recognition. The Natural Gourmet Institute Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education went to two outstanding people in our field – NGI grad, chef and author Louisa Shafia and whole foods chef, author, teacher, and media personality Andrea Beaman.

Our founder, Annemarie Colbin, of course, was our other honoree. Check out our tribute video where colleagues, students, and instructors share their thoughts and feelings about Annemarie’s contribution,  foresight and leadership in the field of health-supportive eating.

The evening’s festivities were capped by raffle prizes, courtesy of our friends at Maimonide of Brooklyn, Dirt Candy, Pure Food and Wine/Lucky Duck, Fort Reno, Palo Santo, and Chef Rich LaMarita. A gong ritual finished the ceremonial portion of the evening, followed by champagne and celebratory cupcakes topped with the stunning fondant creations of our graduate Sachiko Windbeil of Mimicafe Union. All in all, a good way to kick off the next 35 years.

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Heads up, vegans (and food expo habitués). Here comes The Seed Experience. On June 16 and 17 at 82Mercer in Soho, there will be a multi-media vegan event that includes speakers, film screenings, food tastings, demos, workshops, and more.

Speakers will include Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Kathy Freston, Nick Cooney, our friend and blogger JL Fields, and many more. Check out film screenings including Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, Lunch Hour, and Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead. Tastings will be provided by Cinnamon Snail, Pure Food and Wine, Candle Cafe, Blossom, Cafe Terri, among others.

Most importantly, look for demonstrations by NGI’s Olivia Roszkowski and Fran Costigan. Olivia will prepare Spring Shoots with Asparagus, Miso-Spiced Eggplant, Adzuki Beans, Edamame, & Black Sesame Seeds in a Ginger Dressing at 4:00 on the 16th (Stage B). Fran will prepare Irresistible Chocolate Vegan Desserts for Everyone on the 17th at 2:00 (Stage B).

Follow the event on Twitter @theseedexp. Also, rumor has it there’s a 50% off Groupon waiting for you.

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Our very own Olivia Roszkowski holding down the fort at the Natural Gourmet table

On Saturday, May 12, Natural Gourmet participated in the Brooklyn Food Conference, hosted by Brooklyn Technical High School in Ft Greene, Brooklyn. The event was sponsored by City Harvest, Edible Brooklyn, Edible Manhattan, Food & Water Watch, Food Bank for New York City, Park Slope Food Coop, and Small Planet Institute.

While the conference’s stated aim was to combat the harm caused by the industrial food system, it also celebrated “food sovereignty” in the form of healthy local food systems focusing on urban gardens, CSAs, animal rights, a healthier environment and growing food without pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs.

The festival boasted a bustling expo of organizations and workshops about food policy, food culture, business development, labor and social justice, farming, agriculture, and health and nutrition education.

Among the – literally – hundreds of workshops and speakers, Natural Gourmet provided a day of cooking demonstrations from graduates Bryant Terry (author of The Inspired Vegan), Jacques Gautier (chef/owner of Palo Santo and Fort Reno in Brooklyn),  and Madea Allen (Organic Soul Chef). Natural Gourmet instructors Jay Weinstein and Rich LaMarita also did cooking demos.

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For the second year in a row, Natural Gourmet participated in the New York Vegetarian Food Festival, held March 3 and 4 at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th Street in Manhattan.

Working from our own demonstration stage, Natural Gourmet instructors (and grads) Barb Rich, Olivia Roszkowski, Rich LaMarita, Barb Rich, Jay Weinstein Jill Gusman, Fran Costigan, and Elliott Prag provided two days of non-stop demonstrations and food tastings featuring fresh food featuring seasonal ingredients.

All demonstrations were packed with satisfied festival attendees, many of whom stayed glued to their seats for each demonstration. The demos were so popular, in fact, that we didn’t have enough recipe handouts for everyone in the room. As a result, this week and next we will publish a recipe a day from the festival for those that didn’t get a recipe handout and those unable to attend.

Forgive us, in our busy haste at the festival, we didn’t get any pictures of the food. If any attendees have pictures to share, we’d be most grateful.

Today, we feature the recipe prepared by our graduate, Olivia Roszkowski.


NGI Grad Olivia Roszkowski demonstrating her fabulous kale recipe



Yield: approximately 1 1/4 cup


1 head of garlic, peeled

1/2 cup olive oil
6 cups of water

1/3 cup salt

1 bunch of kale, stems removed

1 ounce of sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup pine nuts



1. Place the peeled garlic in a small saucepan, and pour the olive oil over the cloves, making sure they are completely submerged.  Allow the garlic to simmer at a low heat for approximately thirty minutes, or until the cloves are tender. Remove from heat.


2. Bring six cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Fill a bowl with ice water and set aside.  When the water comes to a boil, add the salt and blanche the kale for four minutes or until tender.  Transfer to ice water, then drain and squeeze the water from the leaves.  Chop into bite size pieces.


3. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for approximately five minutes, or until completely rehydrated.  Drain and thinly julienne.


4. Using a sauté pan, heat two tablespoons of the garlic-infused oil over medium heat, and add the sun-dried tomatoes.  Cook until softened, for approximately two minutes.  Add the pine nuts and keep stirring for thirty seconds.


5. Add the blanched kale to the pan and continue stirring until heated through for approximately one minute.  Gently mix in the reserved garlic cloves.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.


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