A new cooking show airing on the University of Illinois’ cable television station focuses on simple, healthy cooking for college students, or anyone in the community.
The I-Cook show features nutrition expert Susan Kundrat — a registered dietician specializing in nutrition for wellness, fitness and sports performance — demonstrating recipes and offering tips for healthy meals.
The show began airing just a few months ago, but it has already received a first place award for audiovisual in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association’s Creative Excellence Awards, which recognize marketing and advertising of recreational sports, facilities and programs.
The 15-minute long shows are taped in the instructional kitchen at UI’s Activities and Recreation Center.
I-Cook is a collaboration between UI campus recreation’s Wellness Center and the UI-7 cable TV station. The TV station’s director, Kate Brickman, and campus recreation’s assistant director of marketing, Erik Riha, talked about what original programming campus recreation might be able to offer.
“The kitchen was a no-brainer for both of us,” Riha said. “It easy to do, production-wise. We thought it was something that people in the community would like to watch.”
In preparing the shows, Kundrat said she is "looking for recipes that maybe people wouldn't do on their own, but that are quite easy and good to try. Also, they're going to be a really healthy thing to make."
Because the show is aimed at college students, she looks for practical recipes that are easy to make, inexpensive, and don't require too many ingredients.
"Of course, they have to taste good too," Kundrat said.
The first show, which was on the air in November and December, focused on holiday recipes and how to eat well and avoid gaining weight while still enjoying holiday parties. Kundrat made two appetizers, a spinach dip and cannoli cream.
The idea, Riha said, is “you can still eat healthy without sacrificing your taste, and have fun with the food.”
The show airing in January and February featured a recipe for roasted red pepper coconut soup, and March’s program will offer a recipe for barbecue seitan (wheat gluten used as a meat substitute).
The I-Cook show airs on UI-7 on Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 9 a.m. It is also available at www.campusrec.illinois.edu/wellness/kitchen and at www.vimeo.com/ui7.
Riha said the goal is to eventually bring other experts on the show as well, such as a financial expert to talk about how to save money while grocery shopping and buying nutritious foods.
Campus recreation also offers Learn to Cook classes and a Cookbook Club, which features a recipe each month from a different cookbook. It is partnering with UI dining services for an upcoming Celebrity Chef Series, said Janet Kroencke, campus recreation’s assistant director for wellness services.
Kundrat said some of the recipes she'll feature on the show, including the roasted red pepper soup, are also featured in cooking classes. She is open to suggestions on types of recipes or classes people would like to see. Contact the Wellness Center at email@example.com with your ideas.