Cooking demonstration will feed people in need

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 10, 2021

 Grosse Pointe Park City Councilman Vikas Relan and his daughter, Verona, 13 — seen here with homemade roti, a type of flatbread — will be giving a virtual Indian cooking demonstration Sept. 24 to raise money for hungry children.

Grosse Pointe Park City Councilman Vikas Relan and his daughter, Verona, 13 — seen here with homemade roti, a type of flatbread — will be giving a virtual Indian cooking demonstration Sept. 24 to raise money for hungry children.

Photo provided by Thrive

 Swadesh Relan and her granddaughter, Verona, 13, both of Grosse Pointe Park, have been making traditional Indian recipes together as a family for years.

Swadesh Relan and her granddaughter, Verona, 13, both of Grosse Pointe Park, have been making traditional Indian recipes together as a family for years.

Photo provided by Thrive

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GROSSE POINTES — Grosse Pointe Park City Councilman Vikas Relan will be sharing how to make popular dishes from the northern region of India, where his parents grew up, in an online fundraiser to help feed hungry children.

The virtual ThriveCooks session, which will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 24, will raise money for Thrive, a nonprofit that provides healthy meals to children and families in need around the world. It will be presented in partnership with Village Market in Grosse Pointe Farms, where filming will take place.

Joined by his mother, Swadesh, and his daughter, Verona, 13, Relan will be making aloo muttar sabji, a northern Indian curry made with potatoes, peas, tomatoes and other ingredients; vegetarian biryani, which includes rice, vegetables and seasonings; and homemade roti, a round flatbread.

Relan’s parents, who hail from the Punjab area of India, now live in Grosse Pointe Park near their son and his family. The vegetarian biryani is something Relan said his mother always made when she needed to bring a dish to a gathering.

“It’s full of vegetables and full of spices and full of flavor,” Relan said. “That was one of the first dishes I learned to cook from her. So it’s become a staple in my house.”

Relan said his mother’s vegetarian rice dish is such a hit that people ask him to bring it to potlucks.

Since she was little, Relan and his parents have been teaching Verona how to prepare the traditional Indian dishes of their ancestral home. Verona said she will “definitely” continue to make these foods when she grows up and has her own place one day.

Being able to do the cooking demonstration with his mother and daughter make this event particularly special to him, Relan said.

“This hit home with us, because it’s feeding hungry kids in the world,” Relan said.

Thrive was co-founded by Gina Gabel, of Grosse Pointe City, when she was living in Bangladesh in 2012. Today, Thrive delivers fresh fruit and other nutrient-dense items to more than 12,000 children every week in the Philippines and Bangladesh. The suggested donation for those who sign up for the online cooking class is $45 — enough to feed three families for a month.

“ThriveCooks was created to give something back to our donors, providing the opportunity to learn a new skill while raising money to feed hungry kids,” Gabel said in a press release. “Leveraging our global presence and connections, ThriveCooks aims to unite and feed through healthy food.”

Relan said even small donations can make a big difference. For example, he said $15 will feed a family of four for a month in places like Bangladesh.

“It’s giving healthy food options to people who barely have any food at all,” Relan said.

To register or for more information, visit www.classy.org/event/thrivecooks-india/e347664 or email info@thrive-global.org.

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