By Robin Clutters

(CBS4) — If you’re looking to spice up your home cooking, there’s a way for you to get a lesson from a culinary powerhouse — all while helping a good cause.

Chef Troy Guard of TAG Restaurant Group has teamed up with National Jewish Health for a virtual cooking class and fundraiser to benefit the Morgridge Academy, a free K-8 school for children living with chronic illnesses like severe allergies, asthma, and sickle-cell anemia.

“This has been a very challenging time for the children,” says Clem Connolly, the National Director of Special Events at National Jewish Health. “But what’s been great is our dedicated teachers and nurses have been able to reach out to the kids and make sure that they not only get food supplies once a week, but that they’re also taking care of their health.”

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The pandemic has also taken its toll on the restaurant industry. Chef Troy says he has only been able to bring back about 40% of the 623 employees that had to be furloughed. He says even with these challenging times, he knows the importance of giving back.

“We never stop trying to do what we can in our community, and people never stop needing help,” says Chef Troy.

Chef Troy is a huge supporter of the Morgridge Academy and National Jewish Health. Back in 2017, the school’s community garden was named in his honor. Chef Troy uses “Guard Garden” to teach kids how to grow vegetables, and the importance of good food.

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“They built the gardens out, we taught them how to plant everything and harvest them,” says Chef Troy. “We made recipes with those vegetables. I made them family friendly so they could go home and make them with their brothers, sisters, mom and dad and enjoy the fruits of their labor. It was really a lot of fun to see the smiles from the kids and have them understand where their food comes from.”

You can help support “Guard Garden” and the Morgridge Academy by attending the next edition of “Cooking with Chef Troy Guard.” The lesson is Aug. 13, and is entitled “Entertaining with Friends at FNG.” On the menu is chips and dip, Hawaiian steak, and lobster BLT sliders. Your ticket gets you a link to a virtual class with Chef Guard, as well as the ingredient list.

“It’s just little tips and techniques, flavorful food, and freshness of the summer ingredients,” says Chef Troy.

To buy tickets to the class: https://donate.nationaljewish.org/page/20188/event/1?ea.tracking.id=EV2007AHCTG

For more information on the Morgridge Academy: https://www.nationaljewish.org/education/morgridge-academy/overview

For more information on Guard Garden: https://www.nationaljewish.org/education/morgridge-academy/special-programs/guard-garden

Robin Clutters

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