Chef Frank Terranova teaches students in PRS 442 about food insecurity. Photo by James McIntosh.

In an effort to spread awareness of food insecurity, a local celebrity chef came to PRS 442 on March 20 to teach how to cook two healthy and affordable meals.

Students of Professor Regina Bell’s class and their friends were able to learn from the local celebrity chef, Frank Terranova. Bell is a lecturer and advisor in the University of Rhode Island’s public relations major. She reached out to the food pantry, Rhody Outpost, five years ago because she wanted her PR students to have a better understanding of the global issue of food insecurity.

“I integrate those issues in my PR courses as a way to just open students eyes to a global issue because that’s really important to us in the Harrington School,” Bell said. “We aim to inspire students to be global citizens.”

According to Bell, food insecurity means you can be someone who has money for books, a car, and maybe your rent, but you don’t have money consistently to give you access to healthy food.

“My eyes were open to this really outrageous problem,” Bell said. “To think that we have students who are hungry, I can’t even imagine.”

Samantha Schaller is a junior public relations major in Bell’s class. She spoke of how students in the class have been trying to help Rhody Outpost.

“We’ve been working a lot trying to figure out what we could do for social media for them, so students can find out about it more,” Schaller said.

This year for her strategic media communications class, Bell invited Terranova to teach the students about the smartest way to eat healthy on a budget.

“[Bell] brought [Terranova] today to teach us how to make easy healthy meals that we can share with friends so everyone can eat healthy and nutritious,” Schaller said.

Terranova was a professor in the culinary arts program at Johnson and Wales University for 21 years. He also hosted his own weekly cooking segment on NBC10’s “News at Noon,” but now only appears on their Sunday broadcast of “Weekend Sunrise.”

“I hope [students] get out of this [presentation] sensible eating and how to do well with the least amount of money,” Terranova said. “It’s the idea of how you can take and stretch the almighty dollar.”

He also added that he refuses to sacrifice taste to eat healthy on a budget. During his presentation, Terranova not only showed students how to make two healthy meals, but gave them cooking tips along the way.

Terranova talked about how pasta is the biggest bang for your buck, discussed how to reuse kitchen scraps and advised students on where to buy groceries or cooking supplies.

Terranova kept students entertained, cracking jokes throughout his presentation. After recommending a store in Providence, Terranova remarked, “We’re from Rhode Island, if you go to Providence it’s a day trip. You have to bring a toothbrush.”

He cooked two meals during the 50 minute period. One was a couscous dish and the other was a Mediterranean salad. Both meals were vegetarian and Terranova also informed students how they could easily make them vegan by swapping out butter for olive oil when cooking.

Students enjoyed the meals even as Terranova was cooking, with one calling out, “It smells good,” as he added vegetables to the pan. Everyone was offered a sample to try at the end of the event as well.

Terranova also offered students his email so that they could contact him if they have any questions regarding the recipes or even just cooking in general.

Schaller said that she believes it is easier to stay nutritious when living off campus. “I’ll use the recipes for sure,” she said.