Sophie got her start in the food business by selling Indian pickles and spices in a Tokyo public market back in 1985. She's gone on to cook, cater, and sell her delicious recipes in a variety of settings. In the past few years she's turned her focus to teaching hands-on cooking classes. Her focus is on healthy Indian food with emphasis on special dietary needs, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets. She develops and creates her own menus and recipes for the classes.
You may have seen Sophie doing Indian cooking demonstrations and sales at Peoples Co-op, the Portland Farmer’s Market, the Lent's Farmer's Market, and the Montavilla Farmer’s Market. Since 2009 she has been a guest chef with Portland Youth Builders' Fields to Forks Program. The program provides Portland-area low-income youth with the full food experience. Sophie shows them how to cook a healthy, vegetarian meal using produce provided by local farmer’s markets.
"My goal is to educate people about eating a balanced, healthy, and nutritionally rich diet. The vast majority of people in India eat a vegetarian diet. Particularly in the southern states, the dishes prepared do not use wheat or wheat products. Rather, they utilize legumes, grains, and fresh vegetables. Our lifestyles are such that people resort to pre-packaged, pre-cooked foods that satisfy the basic need to eat but are nutritionally lacking.
My goal is also to educate people about how to prepare a meal economically. Using fresh produce, legumes, and grains, you can prepare a meal for a whole family that does not cost a lot. I demonstrate how just a cup of beans or lentils can provide a healthy and nutritious meal for a family. My classes are aimed at providing a simple understanding of a few of the spices used in Indian cooking and their healthful properties, as well as some knowledge of lentils, beans, and grains. The vegetables we cook with are fresh and in season and are readily available at grocery stores or farmer’s markets that are so prevalent in many Portland neighborhoods these days."
You can contact Sophie at email@example.com, or check out her course offerings in the Home and Garden section of the PCC Community Education website.