Chef Peter Reinhart churned out one pizza after another for guests at the Nutrition Research Institute this week, pies that tasted good and were good for them.
They devoured the potato parmesan focaccia, focaccia with bleu cheese, walnuts and an onion marmalade, and a dessert focaccia with Grand Marnier glaze.
“There are only two kinds of pizza: Good and very good,” the Johnson & Wales University chef-on-assignment explained. “Tonight we're aiming for very good.”
Reinhart was the celebrity chef for the institute's first “Healthy Harvest” cooking class in Kannapolis. Others are planned for Charlotte.
The institute is part of UNC Chapel Hill's School of Public Health. In August it moved into the new North Carolina Research Campus, the $1.5-billion biotech center developed by David Murdock, the billionaire owner of Dole Food.
The institute studies why one person's metabolism and nutrient requirements differ from another's. Its research may one day help people customize their diets to maximize wellness and reduce their risk of disease.
This week's cooking class, a $100-a-person fundraiser for the institute, was both educational and fun. It included an appearance by retired Carolina Panther Mike Rucker of Kannapolis, who wore an apron to help Reinhart mix dough.
“So that's what ex-Panthers do,” class member Prudy Taylor of Salisbury quipped.
Taylor and her husband, Charles, lapped up every last offering, as did the rest of the 20-member class. The good eats included roasted red pepper tapenade, almond biscotti and pumpkin seed brittle.
Who knew you could gorge so much and not feel guilty?