Chef Charlene Nolan, my dear friend, generous and talented colleague, has been teaching Whole Foods Plant-Based No Oil (WFPBNO) cooking classes at the Stephen Klein Wellness Center for almost a year now. The Stephen Klein Wellness Center, a primary care clinic, is a program of Project HOME, a nationally recognized advocacy group for the homeless.
The goal of the program is to measure the effectiveness of a WFPBNO diet on homeless, formerly homeless, at-risk, and those living in underserved communities and food desserts individuals who live with lifestyle-related diseases like HTN, T2D, cancer, and other lifestyle diseases.
I was thrilled to be able to assist chef Charlene recently on “Drop-In Day” when homeless citizens in Philadelphia have the opportunity to “drop-in” to take a hot shower and do laundry at the Stephen Klein Wellness Center and get a bite to eat. On this particular drop-in day, chef Charlene Nolan and volunteers from the Healthy Hearts Philly program (a grant-driven program) created a three-course, Whole Foods, plant-based lunch for drop-ins, physicians, and staff. From start to finish, this was a joyous experience.
The luncheon consisted of 25 quarts of mushroom-oatmeal stew, corn muffins, fresh fruit and water. Tables were adorned with lovely potted plants, and Stevie Wonder music played softly while everyone enjoyed their lunch and mingled. We were ably assisted in assembling the dishes and serving by people who are regulars in chef Char’s cooking classes.
Chef Nolan is a Rouxbe certified Plant-Based Chef, who wears many hats. A Charlie Cart instructor, she teaches cooking classes within the Culinary Literacy Program in Philadelphia to seniors now after her stint teaching children. A long time Philadelphia resident, Char has a background in public health. You can read more about chef Char and how she changed her life in this post published a few years ago. You will also find her recipe for Quick Homemade Ketchup in the post.