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Culinary Medicine Elective

The Culinary Medicine Elective teaches UCI medical students hands-on, practical healthy cooking skills paired with evidence-based whole food nutritional concepts that will be applicable to their own health, as well as to many future patients they will see with diet-related illness.

Program Topics

We offer the course twice each academic year – once in the Fall semester, and again in Spring. The course is capped at 25 students for this series, and students are chosen based on their interest and expressed goals for taking the course as space allows. Topics covered in the elective include:

  • Introduction to Culinary Medicine, Knife Skills Safety & Sanitation, Meal Prepping 
  • Intro to Mediterranean Diet, What is mindful eating 
  • Anti-inflammatory foods, Emotional eating
  • Proteins: Understanding more about plant based proteins, Awareness of your hunger level
  • Fats: Understanding it all, How stress affects cravings
  • Carbohydrates: What are the healthy ones, Review of mindful eating
  • Director: Nimisha K. Parekh, MD, MPH, FACG, AGAF, Clinical Professor of Medicine (Specialty Gastroenterology), and Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program 
  • Physician: Alex Kipp, MD, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine.
  • Culinarian:  Chef Jessica VanRoo, Director of Culinary Education, UCI Campus Recreation 
  • Culinarian: Chef Wendy Gonzalez, Culinary Educator
  • Dietitians: Kim Storm, RD; Karen Lindsay, PhD, RD; and Sherry Schulman, RDN, Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute
  • Health Coach: Cathy Parks, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach
Culinary Medicine Initiative
Culinary Medicine Initiative

The Culinary Medicine Initiative is one part of our Integrative Medicine Program’s overarching plan to change the focus of healthcare and medical education for our residents, medical students and faculty to include a multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach that emphasizes wellness, prevention and self-care skills.

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Culinary Medicine students work at the Anteater Teaching Kitchen
Tour the UCI Anteater Test Kitchen Online

Located at the Anteater Recreation Center, the UCI Anteater Test Kitchen helps the UCI community learn to cook healthy, delicious and sustainable meals.

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Pickled Capers on a bagle
Blog for Nutrition Tips

Visit the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute Wellness Blog for nutrition tips from clinicians and researchers.

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The license and permission for using this well-tested and researched curriculum developed by Culinary Medicine Specialist Board for Health meets Food, was obtained through a generous grant from the Samueli Foundation. It is currently being used by over 35 other medical schools across the country, with research showing that the program improves students’ knowledge, attitudes toward and likelihood of following healthy diet principles. Studies of physicians attending similar hands-on culinary medicine workshop courses show greater likelihood of the physician attendees providing counseling regarding healthy diet changes.