Reed Dunn

Inspiring Through Food

As a 7-year-old child growing up in “middle-of-nowhere-Kansas,” Reed Dunn frequently came home from school and pulled down one of his mom’s cookbooks for entertainment.

Oftentimes he would bake cookies or other desserts. Eventually, he gathered ingredients from his family’s large garden, and his repertoire expanded.

To Dunn, food is love, and cooking is more than a passion to the Columbia City resident. Dunn, who created the blog pestoandpotatoes.com, will soon team up with Cancer Pathways to bring his recipes to members of the 20 year old nonprofit.

“The kitchen doesn’t have to be intimidating, and it doesn’t have to be a three-hour process to make a meal,” Dunn said. “Anyone, and I do mean anyone, can make a meal in 20 or 30 minutes that is better than takeout.”

Dunn, a former photojournalist whose food photos and recipes have attracted nearly 5,900 followers on Instagram (@pestoandpotatoes), has had his photos — all taken with his iPhone — published in magazines. He maintains he is no Michelin Star chef, just a “home cook.”

“I’m the example that people should be able to use,” he added. “If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

Growing up, Dunn ate meat every day, typically for multiple meals. As he got older, he discovered his body did not react well to red meat. Using the Whole30 program, Dunn began eliminating foods. He completely cut out meat and began limiting dairy intake and immediately felt better than ever. He has now been a pescatarian for 15 years.

Though he will not partake in the consumption, Dunn still cooks hamburgers and other meat for his friends and makes a turkey every Thanksgiving.

“I love the tradition of food,” he said. Food means love for me, and the way I communicate love is to make food for people or go to a restaurant and enjoy great food. It’s all about celebration.

“No matter what culture you’re from, no matter what your background is, everyone has food from their childhood that takes them as an adult back to their childhood.”

Look out for Dunn’s collaborations with Cancer Pathways.

“If I can inspire a handful of people to not order takeout that one time and make something healthy – that doesn’t have to be a salad – that they enjoy,” he said, “I’ll be happy.”