We were proud and delighted to once again support and attend a wholly unique conference presented by The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and Harvard Medical School’s Osher Research Center.
The event – called “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” – 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.
“Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” drew about 350 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.
For the fourth time, we supported the gathering as a Gold Level conference sponsor, and provided Vital Choice wild seafood – Alaskan salmon, lox, halibut, and scallops – for the CIA chefs to prepare and serve.
(One of the CIA tasting recipes that featured our seafood – Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw – is included in this issue.)
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.
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 360 attendees times 2,880 – the number of patients an average physician sees in one year – they 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.
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.
It was a great opportunity to hear and engage with nutrition-savvy, holistic-oriented physicians like conference co-founder David Eisenberg, M.D., and Kathy McManus, R.D., Director of Nutrition at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital.
Practical lessons in easy, healthy meals
To give you a flavor of the proceedings, these were some of the hands-on classes that caught our attention:
- Cool Salads and Creative Dressings
- Healthy Protein Cooking Made Easy
- 30-Minute Meals… in 15 Minutes or Less
- Vegetables - Inspiration from World Cuisines
- Memorable Starts: How to Build a Better Breakfast
- Exploring World Kitchens: The Best of India, Italy & Mexico
- Plate Composition & Portion Distortion: Creating the Perfect Plate
- Spices, Herbs & Aromatics: Exploring Health and Culinary Benefits
- Healthy Flavors of the Mediterranean: Ingredients and Flavor Dynamics
- Whole Grains & Legumes as “Gateway” Ingredients to Quick & Easy Meals
- Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts & Legumes: Phytochemicals, Fiber, Flavor and More