Minnesota’s Celebrated Chefs Share Healthy, Comforting Recipes To Ease COVID Cooking “Hungry for Hope” digital cookbook features 24 nourishing and simple recipes to promote community well-being during the pandemic.

By Leah Kondes






Home cooks in search of delicious, comforting recipes now can turn to the Center for Prevention’s free digital cookbook, “Hungry for Hope: Healthy Recipes to Sustain our Community through the COVID-19 Pandemic.” It’s a healthier option, with a distinctive Minnesota flavor. Some of Minnesota’s most celebrated chefs have contributed their favorite recipes.

“Hungry for Hope” features 24 nourishing and flavorful recipes, simple enough for those new to cooking – from chickpea burgers and Southern-style chili to North African stew. Contributors include:

Nutrition plays a critical role in keeping people healthy – especially in the face of a pandemic. The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota wanted a practical and meaningful way to make healthy eating possible for all Minnesotans during this public health crisis.

With support from award-winning Minnesota chefs, cooks and community members, the Center for Prevention created the “Hungry for Hope” cookbook, inspiring people to create nourishing, enjoyable meals and expand their culinary skills.

The cookbook reflects food traditions from many cultures – Hmong, Native American, North African, German, Thai, Italian and others. It also includes vegetarian and gluten-free recipes.

“This is a wonderful project, and I love how it hits on so many things we care about: community, health, home, diversity, nutrition,” said Dr. Craig Samitt, President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

Even as restaurant casualties continue to climb, Minnesota’s compassionate chefs and other industry professionals have banded together to nourish the hungry and support their communities, generously donating their time and resources to prepare and serve meals. The chefs who contributed to “Hungry for Hope” not only gave their recipes freely – they also shared what makes cooking so significant in this moment.

Beth Dooley, cookbook author, writes, “Cooking is an act of showing up in the world, of caring for ourselves and for others.” Brian Yazzie, a chef who focuses on Indigenous ingredients, writes, “Our elders need nutritional meals to keep their immune system strong during these trying times.”

If we let food be our medicine, as Hippocrates advised, then the two dozen recipes in “Hungry for Hope” are a simple prescription for comfort and well-being – in a pandemic and in the brighter days to come.

About Chef Peter Vang

Peter Vang grew up learning his Traditional Hmong culture cooking from his parents. This sparked his interest in becoming a culinary chef. Vang graduated from Saint Paul College with his Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts in 2016, as he simultaneously worked in the culinary field at the highly raved French restaurant, Meritage, as a line cook. Vang has also worked as a Sous Chef at the newly renovated Black Dog Cafe. He is now working on Catering, upgrading his brand, and bringing people closer together through food in the community from local BIPOC resources. Paj Ntaub means “flower cloth” or “story quilt.” He believes that everyone has a story to tell and his is through food. “The best way to reach people around the globe is through food. That is what I plan to do with my passion for cooking. I didn’t choose the food life, the food life chose me.” – Chef Peter

About the Center for Prevention

The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota delivers on Blue Cross’ long-term commitment to improve the health of all Minnesotans by tackling the leading root causes of preventable disease: tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating. Funded through proceeds from Blue Cross’ historic lawsuit against the tobacco industry, The Center collaborates with organizations statewide to increase health equity, transform communities and create a healthier state. Visit centerforpreventionmn.com for more information.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (bluecrossmn.com), with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today as a health company: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, taxable organization. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.