Eat Well: Colorado Springs French cooking chef offers fitness cooking classes

By Teresa Farney Updated: November 28, 2017 at 10:07 am • Published: November 28, 2017 0
photo - Teresa Farney March 7, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Teresa Farney March 7, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

You'd expect a class on "Fitness Cooking" to give tips on low-fat food preparation or advice on the best foods before and after workouts.

You wouldn't expect it to be given by Blandine Brutel, owner of The French Kitchen Culinary Center. Since when is fitness linked with French cooking?

Yet there it was, "Fitness Cooking" listed on her website as "How about mixing up some cooking, fun and fitness in one single hour?"

I wasn't sure what it was or how to dress, so I arrived in workout clothes and my standard high heels. When fitness instructor Julie Donze gave my footwear a quizzical look, I assured her I'd also brought tennis shoes.

"That's good," she said. "We will be doing lunges, squats, push-ups and jumping jacks. So you should really use the tennis shoes."

The teaching kitchen was set up with food scales, mixing bowls and sheet pans. Brutel would teach how to make her insanely delicious chocolate chip cookies. Donze would show how to exercise while we prepped. I figured we'd need plenty of those exercises to work off those cookies.

So how to cook and exercise? "Each time you need to get an ingredient off the ingredient table, you will go lunge around the work table to the ingredient table and lunge back to the work table," Donze said.

Sounds simple, but it takes coordination to manage the bouncy lunging while carrying mixing bowls.

Back at the ingredient table, Donze said, "Now, while you are weighing and measuring ingredients, go up and down on your toes. Really tighten your buns and exercise your calves."

This multitasking was trickier. It wasn't easy going up and down while trying to precisely weigh flour, sugar and butter on a food scale.

The biggest challenge was creaming butter and sugar while doing a static wall squat. We hugged a big bowl of cold butter and used our free hands to squish it with brown sugar for three minutes.

Plenty of giggling and laughing erupted, and let's just say the customers having cappuccino and croissants in the café got a good show.

But it's more fun than an actual workout and is an interesting idea. All four students liked it and thought it would be a good team-building experience.

Brutel said it might be a good girl's night out event. We suggested Brutel's French chefs should be male dancers, like the Chippendales, for the ulitmate girl's night out.

With or without the dancers, the class is unusual, and you don't feel as guilty about having a couple of those fresh-baked cookies. And gaining access to Brutel's heavenly recipe is more than worth the workout.

Fitness Cooking classes are scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m. Jan. 31 and 9 to 10 a.m. Feb. 8. Cost is $54. Details: 528-6295,

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