Members of the Brownwood Regional Medical Center’s Senior Circle and Healthy Woman were in for a treat Thursday night as BRMC executive chef Robert John Ferraris Jr., prepared heart healthy meals.

“We wanted to do something to celebrate heart month and to show off the newly renovated cafeteria and our chef,” said Donna Hair, marketing director for Brownwood Regional Medical Center.

Ferraris moved from Chicago last July to start working with Sodexo, which operates the cafeteria and prepares patient meals at BRMC.

During the heart healthy meals demonstration, Ferraris prepared a vegetarian chili, quinoa salad and spring herb dijon pork tenderloin for the members of the BRMC Senior Circle and Healthy Woman.

“I chose the recipes from Sodexo’s new program ‘Mindful,’” Ferraris said. “Its focus is to have healthier choices with full plates — 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent lean protein and 25 percent whole grains.”

With each preparation, Ferraris demonstrated how to create the meal along with offering variations or substitutions that could be done. He also pointed out the healthy benefits of the ingredients used along with the little amount of oil used to add flavor.

“You can add flavor in many ways, it doesn’t have to be just salt or fats,” Ferraris said. “You can use fresh herbs and fresh vegetables.”

Members of the two groups watched Ferraris as he prepared the three dishes and were surprised by the ease of the meal preparation. After the demonstration, a few members shared their thoughts on the program.

“I came to learn how to cook healthier. I’ve never had quinoa — I was very impressed on how good it was.” — Hilda Foster

“It was very good. I came because I wanted to get some cooking tips because I like to cook. The veggie chili was good.” — Stephanie Jo Price