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Health Pros Get Schooled in Healthy Cooking
4/14/2009
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Last month, we attendedHealthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” ... a unique conference presented by The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and Harvard Medical School’s Osher Research Center.
 
For the fifth time, we supported the gathering as a Gold Level conference sponsor, and provided Vital Choice wild seafood for the CIA chefs to prepare and serve.
 
The event unfolds in California’s Napa Valley, at the CIA’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, whose castle-like stone buildings once housed the Christian Brothers winery.
 
The conference began in 2007, and is designed to encourage doctors, researchers, and chefs learn from each other in ways that can improve Americans’ health.
 
HKHL faculty member Mollie Katzen, flanked by Randy and Carla Hartnell,
co-founders of
Vital Choice Seafood
Once again, “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” drew hundreds physicians and health professionals, who came to learn the science and art of designing nutrition-savvy diets … and how to cook tasty, affordable, healthful meals in short order.
 
CIA chefs served our wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, scallops, and sablefish ... that's Martha Sears, R.N, and John Principe, M.D., enjoying our salmon, above ... and our Alaskan sablefish also got gourmet treatment, as shown in the photo below.
 
All too often, the fish we bring to other gatherings gets overcooked by overstretched hotel kitchens.
 
So we were delighted by the exciting, delicious ways that the CIA chefs served our seafood, which only enhanced its fresh, natural appeal.
 
Why bring docs and chefs together?
As one physician commented, “All my career I had the feeling I was missing something … this weekend I discovered exactly what it was.”
 
Conference attendees were exposed to the latest nutrition science, but they also tasted, prepared and learned to teach others to enjoy a broad selection of foods that can reduce disease risk and, ideally, replace unhealthy habits.
 
Vital Choice Sablefish, expertly prepared by CIA chefs
It was a great opportunity to hear and engage with nutrition-savvy, holistic-oriented physicians like conference co-founder David Eisenberg, M.D., of Harvard Medical School, Kathy McManus, R.D., Director of Nutrition at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Professor Walter C. Willett, M.D., DrPH from the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health.
 
Chefs at the Culinary Institute of America would like to help Americans learn to eat better – and they're starting with a key group of diners.
 
Through this collaboration with Harvard Medical School, the CIA chefs are training doctors to cook healthful foods quickly, easily, and deliciously … and help doctors inspire patients to do the same.
 
The organizers express the goal of the semi-annual conference as an effort to “...transform attendees into ambassadors for and role models of healthy nutritional strategic change...”
 
Conference organizers note that if you multiply the attendees times the number of patients an average physician sees in one year the people who came will discuss personal health with more than one million people every year.
 
“Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” (HKHL) resembles the Nutrition & Health conference presented annually by Dr. Andrew Weil’s Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, which we routinely support and attend.
 
Coincidentally, we just returned from Dr. Andrew Weil’s most recent conference, in Boston, where we witnessed a dramatic debate between Dr. Willett and Joe Hibbeln, M.D., of NIH, concerning the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the standard American diet.
 
In short, Dr. Willett dismissed the danger of excessive intake of omega-6 fats, while Dr. Hibbeln's evidence persuaded most attendees that his opposing position had much better scientific support. (For more on that, issue see the Omega-3 / Omega-6 Balance section our news archive.) 
 
One key difference between these two health-nutrition conferences is that that the CIA-Harvard event offers hands-on cooking and meal planning advice, in the form of demonstrations and seminars.
 
We and the other HKHL attendees also learned through informal interactions with skilled chefs and health pros … all of whom were friendly, food-oriented folks.
 
If you’re interested in attending next spring, you will find information here ... and please tell them Vital Choice sent you!
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