British Columbia·OUR VANCOUVER

Buddha bowls and poké: chef delivers ready-to-serve healthy meals

Dennis Peckham had cooked in Vancouver's top kitchens and was a contestant on the popular reality show Chopped. His love of balance and healthy lifestyles pushed him to open his own business delivering healthy meals to clients' homes.

Former Chopped contestant Dennis Peckham has built a business on balance

When fitness and lifestyle build a business (CBC)

This is the kind of food that elite sports and super stars eat, and Dennis Peckham would know — he prepares a fair amount of food for athletes and trainers.

Peckham was a chef of the celebrated but now defunct Vancouver restaurant Lumiere, and has competed on the popular reality cooking show Chopped.

He now offers a line of prepared meals for busy professionals who don't want the salt and fat of regular takeout.

"A few years ago I started to take my health and fitness quite seriously," Peckham said.

"I got myself a trainer, went to the gym all the time. I actually competed in master physique bodybuilding competitions, so this was kind of like combining those two passions together."

Time is money

Peckham said eating healthy food and a balanced lifestyle have made a huge difference in his life. He doesn't want to replace real food with supplements or pills.

He keeps everything as local as possible and uses Ocean Wise-certified fish and organic grass-fed beef.

His meals are delivered to people's homes or offices and come fully prepared.

It's not as cheap as making food yourself; three meals cost a little less than $45. But Peckham says time is money for his clients, and these arrive ready to eat.

He says most customers order a few meals a week to fill in gaps with healthy food that takes no time.

Chef David Peckham combines his passion for health with time saving meals 5:53

Here are the recipes he prepared for Our Vancouver:

Albacore tuna and all-organic ingredients. (Dennis Peckham)

Albacore tuna poké 

  • 3.5 oz albacore tuna 
  • 1 cup rice
  • 10 g minced green onion
  • 20 g diced mango 
  • 10 g pickled ginger
  • 10 g seaweed salad
  • 2 tbsp avocado mayo (see recipe below)
  • 5 g sesame seeds 
  • 15 g diced cucumber 
  • 5 g bonito furikake 
  • 2 tbsp soy dressing (see recipe below)

Cut tuna to desired size. Keep on ice in the fridge until needed.

Place rice in the bottom of the bowl and season with 1 tbsp of the soy dressing.

Remove the tuna from the fridge and dress with the remaining soy dressing and green onion; place on top of the rice.

Garnish your poké bowl with the mango, seaweed salad, diced cucumber, black sesame and bonito furikake.

Finish the dish by garnishing with the pickled ginger and the avocado mayo.

Avocado mayo 

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 cups avocado oil 
  • pickled ginger liquid, to taste
  • 3 tbsp black sesame seeds 

Using a blender, mix together the yolks, lemon juice, salt, water and ginger liquid to make a base.

While the blender is running, slowly pour in the avocado oil to create an emulsion.

Adjust the seasoning as desired and finish with the sesame seeds.

Soy dressing

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp sesame oil 
  • 6 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 4 tsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic

Mix all ingredients together in an airtight container.

Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds.

Keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

The key is roasting the sweet potatoes and toasting the chick peas. (Fraiche Sheet Foods)

Sweet potato Buddha bowl 

  • 3.5 oz diced sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp sumac 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup soba noodles
  • 2/3 cup kale
  • 10 g edamame 
  • 10 g green onion
  • 1/4 cup avocado 
  • 5 g crispy chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp hummus
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp soy dressing (see recipe above)

Toss the sweet potato, sumac and olive oil together and roast in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 10 minutes, or until cooked to desired consistency.

Once the sweet potato is cooked, place aside to cool and keep until needed.

Mix the noodles, kale, soy dressing and edamame together to make the base of the bowl.

Place the noodles and kale salad in the bottom off the bowl, ready to garnish with the rest of the ingredients.

Place the hummus right in the centre, as it will act as part of the dressing for the bowl.

Place the sweet potato and the avocado in the bowl first, in whatever placing you desire.

Garnish the bowl with the sesame seeds, crispy chickpeas and green onion.

Protein and carbs in one delicious bowl. (Dennis Peckham)

Marinated steak with soba noodle salad

  • 5 oz Angus top sirloin steak
  • 1/2 cup soba noodles
  • 4 tbsp steak marinade (see recipe below)
  • 15 g shredded white cabbage
  • 15 g shredded red cabbage
  • 15 g julienne carrot
  • 15 g julienne red onion
  • 10 g minced green onion
  • 5 g minced and toasted cashews
  • 15 g julienne snap peas

Marinate steak for at least 24 hours in a resealable plastic bag, refrigerated, with 2 tbsp of the steak marinade.

Pat the steak dry and season with salt to taste and cook to desired temperature. Once the steak has finished cooking, set it aside to rest while you assemble the rest of the dish.

Mix the remaining ingredients, except the cashews and green onions, in a stainless steel bowl, seasoning with the remaining steak marinade.

Place the soba noodle salad in a bowl, and garnish with the green onions and cashews.

Slice the steak, place on top of the soba noodle salad and serve. You can chill in the fridge for up to 12 hours prior to serving (the dish is meant to be served cold).

Tip: feel free to subsitute the steak with another protein of choice, such as chicken or tofu.

Steak marinade

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp sesame oil 
  • 6 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 4 tsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic

Mix all ingredients together in an airtight container.

Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds.

Keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Our Vancouver