Classes serve up new ways to cook

By Darren Lum

Published Jan. 14 2019

Ever since Jay McIvor was 14 he’s loved to eat. He parlayed this passion for food to his culinary journey allowing him to enrich his life with the flavours of the world.
As SIRCH Community Services’s chef McIvor is inviting people of all ages to broaden their horizons and learn more about cooking including safe practices addressing food intolerances and allergies at the upcoming Community Cooking Classes.

McIvor said he wants to “bring ideas to people who would otherwise be uninspired or lacking in general knowledge to prepare meals. I’m going to keep it very simple. I may introduce a packaged meal and show them how to kind of modify it.”
One example was mac ‘n’ cheese. Add some broccoli and you will not only introduce a new flavour but help bolster the nutrient content of the dish.
The classes are a partnership between SIRCH Community Services and the municipalities of Dysart et al and Minden Hills through the Senior County Grant Program.
The classes are held in Haliburton and Minden alternating each week starting on Friday Jan. 10 and finishing on March 27. The next class will be held in Minden on Friday Jan. 17 with “Cooking Healthy on a Budget – it IS possible!”
Other classes include “Special Diets: Gluten Free Dairy-free Cooking”; “Special Diets: Plant-based Cooking”;  “Cooking for Guys (men and boys only)”; and two “Cooking for the Week – make it here take it home” classes. Classes will be capped at 10 participants and are offered for free.

McIvor trained with chefs of German Japanese and Thai backgrounds. Some of his professional background includes cooking vegetarian and vegan meals starting in 2004 including gluten-free dishes at YMCA Wanakita. He said he is a regular traveller having visited Asia more than once returning to add those flavours to his cooking repertoire.
Anyone interested in saving money is best served by a vegetarian diet since buying meat is more costly which is an aspect to the “Special Diets” class he said.
Another area the classes will help with is how to interpret the ingredient lists reading between the lines to find what might trigger allergies. One example is pea protein which can be problematic for some people.

All sessions in Haliburton are held at SIRCH Central at 2 Victoria Street. Pre-register by contacting Andrea Mueller at 705-457-1740 ext. 635 or email
All sessions in Minden are held at the Minden Hills Community Centre at 55 Parkside Street. Pre-register by contacting Elisha Weiss at 705-286-2808 or email her at