Cooking Contest Win Caps Year of Healthy Changes for Grand Rapids Man

When tests revealed high blood sugar levels, Kevin Adams knew he had to make some changes.

The 48-year-old Grand Rapids resident had watched diabetes impact his father’s life and he didn’t want to go down the same path.

His health transformation started in the kitchen.

“That made me decide to start cooking more,” Adams said.

His foray into healthy food helped him take home the top prize at the 4th annual “Real Men Cook & Eat Healthy” cooking competition, held on Friday, June 19 at New Hope Baptist Church in Grand Rapids.DSCN2395

Adams’ citrus glazed chicken and arugula salad earned him a first-place award of $350. The cooking competition was part of “Let’s Talk Health” week, which is put on annually by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and partnering community organizations to emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

DSCN2391Since starting his health journey about one year ago, Adams has lost 33 pounds. He said making healthy food and exercise a priority have made all the difference.

“You’ve got to make the time,” he said.

In addition to planning, prepping and preparing healthy meals, Adams fits in exercise on his lunch hour at work.

“Because I am busy, it’s the perfect opportunity to get some exercise in,” he said.

Adams credits last year’s cooking competition, which he participated in, to sparking an interest in learning new and varied ways to prepare healthy dishes.

“I had so much fun last year and I just learned a lot,” Adams said.

William Gresham
William Gresham
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Geraud Singh

Other prize winners at the competition were William Gresham, sous chef at City Flats Hotel, and Geraud Singh.

Gresham took home a second-place prize of $250 for his jerk-rubbed catfish tacos and coconut quinoa with blueberry mango salsa. He said growing up poor in Grand Rapids meant he spent a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen trying to turn pantry staples into tasty meals. The self-taught chef said he approaches cooking in much the same way today.

“A lot of times I still draw on that. What do I have and what can I make with it,” he said of his process.

Singh, the first-place winner from last year’s competition, won a third-place prize of $150 for his organic turkey-stuffed peppers with savory tomato sauce, ricotta and feta cheeses (pictured above).

“It appeals to all your senses,” he said of his dish.

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Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via Flickr (feature), Julie Bitely, A Healthier Michigan (insets)



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