Michelle Bernstein- Healthy Cooking on Ora TV's "America Cooks"

Ora TV , the online web-based TV channel which features shows like Larry King NOW, Beer Geeks and The Real Girls Kitchen with Haylie Duff is happy to announce their newest series “America Cooks with Chefs” which made its second stop in sunny Miami. “America Cooks with Chefs” follows six everyday home cooks who get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be mentored by six James Beard Award-winning chefs. Follow each episode as each pair crafts a delicious, nutritious meal in the chef’s kitchens—and provides tips and tricks to help make cooking healthier and tastier.

The Miami episode goes behind the scenes at Miami’s own Chef Michelle Bernstein’s brand new restaurant, Seagrape, at The Thompson Miami Beach, where the flavors of Southern Florida and the Caribbean are represented. Chef Michelle is joined in the Seagrape kitchen by local singer, Michael Angelo Gonzalez, a fellow Miami native, who’s concerned that his family’s traditional foods are not the healthiest options for himself and his family.  Michael’s blood pressure is already high for someone his age, and he wants to start making a change now.

James Beard Award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein worked with Michael Angelo to create a healthier (and affordable!) version of fried chicken & arroz con pollo. Together, they showcased comfort food at its finest. Michael confessed, "This experience was really eye-opening, I thought that healthy food makes tasteless food, makes 'no buono, I hate this.' But I learned today that it actually can taste good. Cooking with Michelle Bernstein, I thought it was going to be something out of my league, and I realized that this is food I can make, I can afford, and I can do for my partner. This is a huge change for me, starting tonight."

Watch the full episode now LIVE on Ora.tv: http://www.ora.tv/americacooks

About America Cooks with Chefs
America Cooks with Chefs is nationwide health and wellness movement that connects Americans with celebrity chefs to translate food into healthy, tasty and practical dishes. Through an educational and entertaining cooking competition, the initiative provides videos and resources to inspire people to make healthier choices in their daily lives. The initiative is an effort between Palisades Media Ventures, the Clinton Foundation, the James Beard Foundation and Good Housekeeping and is sponsored by Deloitte, Weight Watchers, Barilla, Mayo Clinic and Aetna. For more information visit http://www.ora.tv/americacooks.

MIAbites caught up with Chef Michelle Bernstein after the taping of the episode and figured it was a good a time as any to pepper her with a few questions: 

MIAbites: You seem to be everywhere!  Seagrape, SOBEWFF, Check Please? Tell me about upcoming projects like reopening of your namesake restaurant, Michy’s

MB: Are you saying I get around??? Ha, Ha, I'm reopening Michy's momentarily, opening the Centurion Lounge at the MIA airport, hosting the Common Threads event at The Thompson next weekend, working on special foods and recipes for cancer patients at Hollywood Memorial Hospital and so on...

MIAbites:  So how has Miami food scene changed just in past few years? 

MB: WOW, where to begin? There are so many more options, so many more flavors and food from so many more cultures; we still move in baby steps but we are really moving in the right direction. 

MIAbites: Let’s talk healthy eating and your segment on Ora TV? 

MB: There is nothing more rewarding than doing delicious, crave making food that is also good for you; it's always a challenge but a worthy one.

MIAbites: How did you get involved and how did Online TV differ from your experience with PBS Food’s Check, Please? 

MB:  It's pretty much all the same. Different formats, but when you are being filmed, you can't really tell the difference; it's all lights and cameras!

MIAbites: Your segment featured Michael Angelo, and his desire to learn healthier cooking techniques.  How was he selected and paired with you? 

MB: I imagine they looked for someone worthy of the challenge of preparing and learning how to make healthier Cuban food. Fried chicken and arroz con pollo are not up there on the healthiest things to eat, but I love them too and know little tricks to make them better for you.

MIAbites: You are a mom to a toddler.  Let’s talk about healthy eating for children. What is his favorite food?  What is your biggest challenge feeding him healthy food? 

MB: My biggest challenge is that he's not really into food; he'd rather run, jump, sing, dance and play. So, when it comes to feeding him, I make it meaningful, filled with the sole purpose of giving my beautiful boy nutrition wrapped up in a yummy package.  Quinoa and cheese instead of macaroni with tiny nibbles of veggies poached into it; fish broth, I give it to him in a sippy cup (I know it sounds odd but he's on the run), crispy fish with caramelized onions and of course pasta with tomato sauce and tiny, teeny, tiny bits of filet and broccoli.

MIAbites: What advice would you give to moms with children to help them offer healthy alternatives?

MB: Give them what they like with good stuff packed into it!

MIAbites: You continue to be involved with Common Threads, how can people be involved in that effort and support the battle against childhood obesity.  

MB: Just help out whomever you might know by giving them a chance to try something healthy, some knowledge and a helping of delicious alternatives to what they are eating now. We are hosting a wonderful Common Threads event, " Cooking for Life Festival"  in a couple weeks, all day cooking “boot camps” featuring some of Miami’s best chefs, a VIP dinner with Chef Morimoto and top local chefs and I am hosting a healthy brunch at The Thompson with both local and celebrity chefs John Besh, Jamie DeRosa, Justin Flit, Stephanie Izard and Fabio Viviani.

MIAbites:  If anyone wants to participate and learn more about "Cooking For Life Festival" April 17-19, Here is link for the Common Threads "Cooking for Life Festival" http://commonthreads.org/events/Cooking-for-Life-Festival

( Special thanks to Ora TV for providing information and link to Miami episode )