My name is Ally Zeitz, I am a senior Culinary Arts major at Drexel University and am the manager of the Drexel Food Lab, you may have seen my name at the bottom of the recipes on the Cook for Your Life website. The Drexel Food Lab is a research lab for students that focuses recipe and product development. It is a great way for students to get involved in cooking and a chance to work on real world projects.
Cook for Your Life was the Food Lab’s first client and we are very thankful for that. Each week when the Food Lab meets, we develop and test recipes that Chelsea and Ann think are needed for the site, recipes that go along with an upcoming holiday, food trend or fill in the gaps for a specific diet. Because Cook for Your Life focuses on healthy and simple recipes, we try to keep all of our recipes under this guideline. In the beginning, this is hard for us because as students we like to add lots of ingredients to pack the recipe with variety and nutrition. Since the Food Lab has been working with CFYL for over a year now, we have learned and gotten better at keeping the recipes simple.
Developing recipes for CFYL is a lot of fun and is something that I really enjoy. The ideas that Chelsea and Ann give us have foods that I love and are dishes that would like to cook at home. The Winter Pumpkin Pasta that I made and that is on the website is a dish that my sister asks me to make all the time. When Chelsea asked for a Wonton Soup recipe I was very excited because I love that dish and was excited to recreate it in a healthier way. When I tested the recipe, it tasted better than the take-out version and I was very pleased with it. I also love cooking with Greek yogurt and have gotten to use it many times in CFYL recipes.
Working with Cook for Your Life has also been a great opportunity for the students working in the Lab. Normally when a new student joins the group, I give them a CFYL recipe to test so that they can become acclimated to our kitchens and the way the recipes are written. Over the past year, it has been great to see the students that work on the recipes grow and become thoughtful and established cooks. Without Cook for Your Life, this would not be possible. I hope that you enjoy the recipes as much as we enjoy creating them!