“For our team-building exercise, we joined with Culinary Medicine to make a wonderful array of foods. It exceeded my expectations, and there are some foods that I would’ve never ever tried under any circumstances! Case in point, Tofu Scromblet. It looked good and tasted good!
We learned so much about how to dice, how to use the knives properly, and about new utensils like the bench scraper.”
– Dr. Rhonda Mattox, president of Arkansas Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association
I was originally exposed to culinary medicine through the cooking classes hosted by Dr. Thapa prior to the pandemic. I loved it so much that when the Culinary Medicine course was created, I knew I had to take it during fourth year. I wanted to expand upon what I already learned to provide healthy yet palatable options to my patients.
I, of course, enjoyed the eating portion of the class. My favorite part was the ability to be creative in the cooking and presentation of the dish. It allowed to cater to our taste without adding more calories or subtracting nutrients from the dish. It was also fun to see everyone’s interpretation of the same dish.
I hoped to get healthy recipes out of the class. I finished with new recipes, but also new cooking techniques, knowledge of ingredients I’ve never heard before, and ways to connect with my future patients. I love to cook already, so I was pretty surprised by how much more I learned about the culinary world. I feel a lot more comfortable about talking to my patients about nutrition and cooking outside of just the plain chicken breast with broccoli option that we associate with healthy food.
– Dr. Paige Jones-Brooks
We share the things we learn with our families at home in our own kitchens. We love the class every time and never leave wanting more. Plus, we get lunch!
– Belinda Sheldon and Chantel Tucker (College of Public Health)
I took the elective because I was personally interested in learning more about healthy food options and how to cook, as I am normally not a good cook, I also wanted to be better able to counsel my patients on nutrition and simple but healthy recipes. I enjoyed cooking with my classmates and learning how to be more comfortable in the kitchen. Having a free meal once a week was a huge perk! I hoped to learn how to cook, find good healthy recipes, and to feel more comfortable talking about nutrition and this elective exceeded all my expectations. I was surprised by how much I learned and how it made me more enthusiastic about cooking and about finding healthier alternatives to the things that I eat normally. I learned a lot about being open to trying new things and I feel confident I can share that knowledge with future patients. I feel so much more confident, and I believe that the things we learned and the meals we cooked are truly able to be implemented with patients too, so it makes it easier to suggest and talk about.
– Bree Dulaney (College of Medicine, Class of 2024)
This was our first teaching kitchen experience. We heard about the class through some colleagues and decided to give it a try. We loved the chance to cook together and be right next to each other. We cook at home together, but it’snot the same because we are more spread out. The entire process was very smooth, the staff were extremely helpful, the instructions were clear, and the music was great. The Kitchen is beautiful and now we’d like one at home! We will definitely be back.
– Cindy Jones and William Miles (UAMS staff)
Diet/nutrition is one of the most important factors that affect people’s overall health and well-being. As a future family medicine physician, I felt completely unprepared on how to give advice about healthy eating, food preparation or how to read food labels. I barely cooked myself! My culinary medicine course not only showed me cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or scary, but it can be fun and easy AND I can enjoy foods I would have never ordered off the menu myself. I hope that I am able to take what I have learned from this class and help my future patients realize if I can do it, they can too.
– Taylor Bennett ’20
The culinary medicine class was the highlight of my week. I enjoyed learning useful skills and about increasing overall wellness in a different setting than the hospital. The tips about making healthier meals have helped me make better meals for my family which will let me make more informed recommendations to my future patients.
– Elizabeth Hutson
Culinary medicine was easily one of my favorite classes of my medical school training. It felt relevant, personal, and truly focused on improving patient’s quality of life as well as understanding hurdles to access to a healthy diet. I have cooked at least one recipe from class each week for the past 9 weeks, and I know that I will continue. I’ve also told everyone in my personal life tips and tricks from class, such as how to correctly cut an onion, which health store accepts food stamps, how to add salty flavor without adding sodium, etc. This class has been a true joy, and I wish all medical students could take the course.
– Madeline Williams ’20
I had the privilege of participating in the UAMS Culinary Medicine program, both as a student and as faculty facilitator. This program addresses important needs for a patient to manage their personal wellness and a healthcare provider’s ability to provide effective patient-specific healthcare counseling.
As a student, I was looking for knowledge of food choices that can affect my personal health. I wanted to gain hands-on skills in preparing healthier meals, particularly those which may have been outside of my customary diet. The classroom portion taught me how various foods can work to promote a positive change in my well-being. This knowledge found practical application in the kitchen as we cooked wonderful and often surprising meals together. Fellowship was a very enjoyable aspect of the course. We prepared food in small groups then at the end of each session the class enjoyed a meal of the food we all prepared.
As a Physician Assistant, it is important that I provide effective guidance regarding healthy lifestyle choices. By supporting an active role in a patient’s selection of their healthcare, I promote a stronger patient-provider relationship. This in turn can affect a positive wellness outcome. While assisting as a facilitator in the Culinary Medicine course, I focused on the learning process of students as if they were patients. Having seen the challenges students face, I am better prepared to facilitate those “ah-ha” moments when a patient realizes how particular nutrition choices can directly benefit them, and that implementing these changes is very practical.
My experience both as a student and a facilitator in the UAMS Culinary Medicine program has been enjoyable, educational, and valuable. It directly benefited me personally and professionally and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in making a difference in their own health or that of their patients.
– Nadja Vawryk Button, MHS, PA-C