“I understand where people are at. Not so many years ago, I was the typical American child surviving off of quick and relatively unhealthy meals as my parents rushed between work and my and my siblings' extracurricular activities. I get it, life is busy, and change isn't easy,” registered dietitian Olivia Fledderman elaborated on what she calls her “driving passion” behind offering cooking classes at the Galley, adding, “but, I have also had first-hand experience with the idea of 'nutrition is medicine,” Fledderman's mother was diagnosed with cancer when Fledderman was in middle school – something which prompted the family to make changes in their diet. “It was not an overnight change,” Fledderman wrote via email, “instead it was changes that occurred over more than a decade and continue to occur today.” Those changes became habit and part of Fledderman's lifestyle and she hopes to help others achieve that via her classes. “I want to aid them in the learning process, encourage them as they implement changes in their life, and be present and able to watch them as they transition to a healthier lifestyle and a better version of [themselves].”

Fledderman's first cooking class was held July 26 – she hopes “every participant” can leave with “at least one piece” of nutrition or cooking advice and simplement it at home. “Above all else,” she wrote, “I hope they learn that health-promoting meals can be very flavorful and also simple to create.  I want them to understand we don't have to sacrifice flavor for health and also, with proper planning, we can make healthy eating fit into our already busy schedules.”

 A long-term goal for Fledderman is to own her own nutrition-related business, and hosting cooking classes are an early step to create an identity, connect with people in the community, form relationships and provide education to the public, which she hopes improves the health of the community. “Additionally, I just enjoy the whole process of cooking and hope to encourage more people to get creative in the kitchen.” Cooking classes, Fledderman believes, convey information more strongly and effectively, due to the visual, hands-on nature.
When asked what her favorite dish from class has been and what vegetables she likes most or thinks are underrated, Fledderman wrote she enjoys sharing simple “yet super flavorful” recipes. “I always like to educate people on how to make various roasted vegetable seasons with herbs.” Roasted vegetables are “a great way to showcase the simplicity and flavor capacity” of healthy foods, per Fledderman, who added, “most people are amazed by how much different a vegetable can taste when it's roasted!”  As for vegetables? “I love just about all vegetables! I always try to encourage variety with all foods to ensure people are consuming all the