When it comes to summer vacation, food is a big topic of conversation. The question is, how can a family possibly eat well without sacrificing too much of their budget?

Chef Alexei Harrison, director of The W’s Culinary Arts Institute, offers a few tips on how to save money, eat healthy and eat well once vacation time rolls around. 

“If you go to the beach, food down there is going to be about 30 percent more than it is here,” said Harrison. “So, what we do is pack coolers. We can get shrimp for much cheaper here than we can there. And we don’t take all of the spices in our cabinet, but we do take the staples. I might bring a good kosher, sea salt, ground pepper and lemon juice.”

Harrison added that another problem that arises on vacation is the number of people.

“The lines at the restaurants and grocery stores are atrocious. You can be there for hours,” said Harrison. “So, that’s a big reason why we usually just cook, especially if we are in a condo that has a kitchen.”
Harrison said that one of the keys to bringing food and spices when going on vacation is to bring things that can be used again.

“As long as you have the basics, you can do a lot of different stuff with that,” she said. “There’s so much you can do to cross-utilize the ingredients so that you do not have to take an exorbitant amount of stuff.”

Harrison added that it’s always best to be prepared. If one has room to pack it, bring items such as utensils, cookware and aluminum foil.

When it comes to eating healthy, Harrison said that nothing beats fruit. Grapes, apples and oranges make a good snack and can be eaten on the go. Harrison added that fruit is a great snack for children.

“Kids aren’t going to want to stop when they are on vacation,” she said. “The best thing to do is have something that they can just grab and go. Fruit that is already cut or stick cheese that you can wrap with a lean turkey meat or ham.”

Harrison also provided one of her favorite summer vacation dishes that can be made quickly, while also cross-utilizing some of the previously noted ingredients.

Curried Chicken Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


• 2 cups leftover rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken
• ½ cup diced red onion
• ½ cup diced apple
• ½ cup grapes, halved
• ¼ cup dried cranberries
• ¼ cup slivered almonds
• ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder
• ½ teaspoon curry powder
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine chicken red onion, apple, grapes, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.

May 29, 2018
Contact: Price Hughes
(662) 329-7119
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Culinary Arts Institute Logo

Culinary Arts Institute

Chef Alexei Harrison

Shattuck Hall
Phone: (662) 241-7472
1-877-462-8439 ext. 7472
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.