The Tulane University School of Medicine is building the first dedicated teaching kitchen in the nation to be implemented at a medical school.
The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine will provide hands-on training for medical students through culinary medicine classes.
Executive Director, Dr. Timothy Harlan, says teaching med students their way around the kitchen can translate into better diets for their patients
"We teach them how to cook and eat healthy, and then they're able to go out and teach the community how to cook."
Harlan says, sometimes, the best prescription comes on a plate. And, this type of training will allow the physicians-in-training to practice medicine in their patients' kitchens.
"Why shouldn't your physician be recommending particular recipes for sodium reduction, particular recipes for things you can have for breakfast, etcetera?"
"I was a chef before I became a physician," says Harlan. " So, for me, it's about the food first. And these are great tasting recipes, just modified a little bit, so that they're healthier for people."
He says they'll also be conducting cooking classes every day, so those patients can self-medicate, as it were, by means of a healthy diet.
"We'll be running special classes for diabetics, for folks with celiac disease, heart disease, people who want to lose weight...we'll be running full-tilt." says Harlan.
And, he says patients won't be disappointed by the dishes they're taught to prepare.
"The types of things we teach are the types of things that you want to eat," Harlan says. "Red beans and rice, spaghetti, and tacos...it's about good, quality food first."
The 4,600-square-foot Goldring Center will feature a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen. It will include professional ovens and cooking stations for medical students, physicians-in-training, chefs, doctors and members of the community to learn healthful cooking and the significant role that food plays in preventing and managing obesity and associated diseases.
The facility will also provide continuing education for the healthcare and food service industries.
The Goldring Center is under construction within the ReFresh Project, a redevelopment of the former Schwegmann Bros. store that will provide Broad Street area residents a large-scale fresh food outlet for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.