HONOLULU (KHON2) — AARP Hawaii has partnered with Windward Community College Uala Leaf Cafe’s chef Daniel Swift to teach weekly live cooking webinars for folks looking for fast, healthy and ono food.

AARP Hawaii outreach director Jackie Boland said, the COVID-19 pandemic played a part in starting the weekly online programs.

“Well after COVID hit, we began looking for ways to engage our membership and the public virtually,” Boland said. “One of the things we’re always interested in is helping people to figure out how they can create a healthy lifestyle.”

Chef Swift said, they started with dishes that Hawaii residents would recognize

“We started with some of the local favorites,” Swift said, like poke and Chinese dumplings.

“All of us are struggling to figure out how we can provide good food for our families in a quick and healthy way and a lot of times people get bored eating the same things over and over so this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn from Dan,” Boland said.

That means learning about cooking techniques and elements as the chef interacts with the viewers.

AARP Hawaii member Lena Staton asked, “The question from Marilyn is, ‘can you use white peppercorn as a substitute for black peppercorn?'”

“Yes, absolutely,” Swift answered.

A different dish is featured every week and everyone — of all skill levels — is invited. Chef Swift said, cooking can be complicated, but it does not have to be.

“So be creative,” Swift said. “Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

This is more than just a cooking class, according to Swift. It can help people who might feel socially isolated during the pandemic.

“So this can be a conversation stimulator,” he said. “We do provide the recipe in advance so people can cook along with us hey can communicate with neighbors or friends. They can share the product they’re finished cooking at the end of the shows

The cooking webinars are free and held every Thursday at 5 p.m. on AARP Hawaii’s website or Facebook page.