Chef Mark Anthony will share healthful living principles and a full meal with El Dorado County residents on Tuesday, April 1 at 6 p.m.
“The live cooking shows are fun and exciting — very surprising — not your normal boring seminar.” Anthony said. “I actually cook a whole meal for everybody right in front of them. I teach how to cook healthy and save money doing it. It’s a free event, so nobody has to pay at the door or buy a book or anything.”
In addition to talking about health and cooking a full meal, Anthony stirs up his shows by sculpting watermelons and painting pieces of art.
From steak, shrimp, fast-food burgers and fries to fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains — and from 305 pounds to 225 — Anthony has some tips of his own he shares with people around the country.
“I just like to show people what’s worked for me,” Anthony said. “I tell people just to simplify the way they eat. And it’s better to eat something that is a plant — not something that was manufactured in a plant.”
After a couple of months of getting the animal fat and cholesterol out of his diet, Anthony said he started to crave healthful products.
“And so, once you get off the cholesterol, your body starts doing the job it’s supposed to be doing and removing all those harmful particles,” he said.
A resident of Las Vegas, Anthony has worked as a professional chef for more than 20 years, including high-profile jobs at casinos like the Tropicana and Sands. He has catered for famous folks including Jack Nicklaus, Montel Williams, Styx, Journey and dozens of other celebrities.
Anthony, 49, has been whipping up tasty dishes most of his life. He became the youngest executive chef in Vegas history at the age of 24. He earned a “working man’s Ph.D.” in the kitchens of casinos, restaurants and hospitals.
His love of food was evident by the time he turned 40. He was overweight, had a cholesterol level of 263 and was dangerously close to becoming a diabetic.
Having worked in hospitals, he understood the dangers of obesity and promised himself that he’d do something about that.
Convinced that cholesterol is one of the biggest killers in the nation, Anthony adopted a vegan diet. He lost 80 pounds in recent years and his cholesterol level dropped to 118.
Anthony said he feels better and has more energy now than he did when he was in his 20s.
Enthusiastic about the change in his own life, Anthony embarked on a cross-country trip in the summer of 2009. He has been to every state in the nation, giving free cooking demonstrations and telling his story. He has done these events at hospitals, churches, senior centers, universities and local conventions.
Currently he is doing a tour of the West Coast region.
“This is all about teaching the community how to get healthy and stay healthy” said Anthony. “It’s about motivating them off all the processed food and chemicals that cause killer diseases such as atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, and getting back to a healthy lifestyle.”
He does these events for free. It’s free for the people attending, and it’s free for the facilities conducting these events.
“I just pass the hat. God has provided every step of the way,” Anthony said.
Anthony teaches people how to make vegetarian and vegan meals that truly taste good. He also motivates through interesting statistics.
“In America only 7 percent of our diet is in the form of fruits and vegetables and we have the highest rate of killer diseases of any country on the planet. Ninety percent of deaths in America can be attributed to one of these killer diseases like cancer and heart disease. In Thailand they only have a 10 percent death rate from killer diseases and that is because 78 percent of their food is from a plant-based diet.
“Get off the cholesterol and live a much longer and healthier life. It’s really that simple. It is a statistical fact.”
His message and stories about his travels are featured in a new book, “Cross Country.”
Anthony also has written “Vegan Simplicity,” a cookbook, and “From Sin City to Simplicity,” a testimony about how his life changed when he became a dedicated Christian.
Anthony also does regular cooking shows on 3ABN Worldwide Television, where local resident Diana Adams first saw him. Upon learning that Anthony presents free cooking events throughout the nation, Adams, who presents free monthly vegetarian cooking classes the first Thursday of each month at the Camino Seventh-day Adventist Church, invited Anthony to the community.
“His message fits right in with our goal of helping people enjoy a healthy, vibrant lifestyle,” Adams said. “The cooking classes are a fun way to learn that healthful alternatives can taste good, too.”
Everybody is welcome — just call ahead to make a reservation.
Anthony will present his free cooking show and dinner at the Placerville SDA Church Fellowship Hall, 6831 Mother Lode Drive in Placerville. Seating is limited, so come early.
For more information about this event and to reserve a seat, leave a message with Darla DeVargas at 530-644-2127.
Check out some of Anthony’s work and get free recipes at ChefMarkAnthony.com.