Zest: The Health meets Food Newsletter – August 2021


Welcome to the August 2021 edition of Zest.

Zest. It says a lot about what the folks who are involved with Culinary Medicine are about. People connected with the Culinary Medicine movement have just that: a zest for life, learning, and teaching.

Zest evokes the excitement and passion that is happening at the intersection of where health meets food.


Save the date for the 8th annual Health meets Food: The Culinary Medicine Conference  

The conference will take place June 9 through June 12, 2022 and will offer a hybrid experience.

The conference will be held in Orlando Florida in collaboration with the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management. There will also be an online streaming option using a virtual conference platform that will allow for the full conference experience including lectures, expert panels, culinary skills-building programming and small group interactions with your colleagues.

The overarching theme of this year’s conference is using Culinary Medicine as a practice transformation tool — how do we restructure clinical practice and healthcare foodservice to focus on food and health amongst our patients, colleagues and policy makers.

Registration will open soon.

View our list of speakers »

View the Agenda »

Thursday June 9, 2022

Optional hands-on Health meets Food modules with additional fee: Introduction to Culinary Medicine and Geriatric Diet

Friday June 10, 2022 – Food Security

Friday programming will focus on food security issues and how we can optimize screening and intervention through collaboration with community resources as well as considerations for the role of Culinary Medicine in this critical arena.

Saturday June 11, 2022 – Culinary Medicine Practice Transformation

This year’s focus on Culinary Medicine and Practice Transformation looks at how we can incorporate food throughout the clinical experience, maximizing opportunities to support our patients and our practices.

Sunday June 12, 2021

Foodservice in healthcare is a critical element of our patients’ wellbeing and this year’s Sunday programming will build on the themes of practice transformation with respect to the best practices of how food is delivered to our patients.

Optional hands-on Health meets Food module with additional fee: Anti-Inflammatory Diet


Curriculum Update for CCMS Participants

The Health meets Food team has made important changes in the last few weeks to the Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist courseware. We hope you will find the efforts of the team and the curriculum reviewers worthwhile.

Health meets Food1. We have updated the quizzes and these are now active in your courseware. They have been updated across all 30+ modules. The update is an effort to streamline the quizzes in Moodle and make them easier to update going forward. We will be able to make corrections quite easily, whether that is something as serious as a confusing question or as simple as a typographical error.

It will also allow us to perform psychometric analysis yearly to determine the validity and fairness of the questions. That statistical analysis will be performed by the same partner who provides examination administration for the certification exam, Professional Testing Corporation.

Questions are now all structured as 4 answer multiple choice questions and have been edited this year based on suggestions from faculty across the country. As always, we are eager to hear any critique and feedback which we will incorporate into the quizzes each year as we work to update the questions.

2. The team has updated and created a new practice exam. This is now within the CCMS programming at the top of the page in the general information section. The practice exam has also been streamlined and will allow for easier updating just as with the quizzes. This is active now, but for those of you who might be in the middle of the old practice exam, we will be leaving that open until Labor Day to allow for a smooth transition.

3. There are two new modules covering food security issues. They are labelled Module 30a and Module 30b and cover food security in older adults and the SNAP/WIC program. We will be adding modules over the course of the year to complete a good review of this important topic.

There have been significant changes and updates, also based upon the suggestions of faculty members across the country.

Thanks to the members of the Curriculum Committee who have helped oversee this initiative: Elaine Chen, Jessica Davette Todd, Elena Dent, Nurgul Fitzgerald, Emily Johnston, Sabrina Montgrain, Amy Moyer, Heather Nace, Lani Relucio, Milette Siler, Michelle Troup, Anne Van Beber, Andy Vaughn, and Ileana Vargas.


Monthly Profile: Academic Medicine

N. Andrew Vaughan, MD, MBA

Assistant Professor

Dr. Vaughan has more than 35 years of experience in cardiology care, specializing in non-invasive, preventive, and general cardiology. Vaughan’s practice also places a special emphasis on nutrition as it relates to heart disease and heart health, and he is a Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist. For over 20 years he practiced in Charleston, West Virginia as an interventional cardiologist. In 2008 he left the private practice of cardiology to join the Huntington Veterans Affairs Medical Center where he served as Chief of Cardiology and was the site director for the Marshall University Cardiology Fellowship program.

Recognizing the opportunities afforded by Huntington’s Kitchen and following his move to full time faculty, he has been actively involved in the Dining with a Doc program and seminars for medical students and residents on Mediterranean diet and resident wellness. He has brought his expertise in preventive cardiology to the teaching of cardiology fellows and has organized the lipid management clinic at the Marshall Health Teays Valley Clinic. He is a member of numerous cardiology societies and has board certifications in Echocardiography and Cardiac CT as well as Cardiology and Internal Medicine.

What is your favorite ingredient?

Lately, I have found when a recipe calls for white wine, I substitute a dilute solution of dry vermouth. This adds a consistency of flavor that I cannot seem to find with various white wines. It also adds a touch of class when deglazing a pan sauce; it reminds of sauces prepared in fine restaurants.

What is your least favorite ingredient?

Chicken fat – I think that about says it.

What turns you on creatively?

Anything Mozart.

What turns you off?

Any organ meats.

What is your favorite recipe or meal?

I have a smoked salmon recipe that I do on my grill. The salmon brines overnight in a water and white wine solution of Kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic, black pepper corns and occasionally any herb I might have on hand like dill or tarragon. Out of the brine, I apply a dry rub of cumin, chili powder, freshly ground black pepper and brown sugar. And for an extra kick, a ¼ tsp of chipotle chili pepper. Then into the grill with indirect heat and soaked applewood chips for about an hour at around 300oF. It is a real crowd pleaser, good hot or cold.

What culinary flavor or aroma do you love?

Nutmeg. The pungent but warm and mildly sweet aroma has tremendous versatility from sweet and savory dishes, to soups, desserts and many ethnic or traditional dishes. And the aroma always makes me think of winter holidays.

What culinary flavor or aroma do you hate?

The stale odor of a restaurant that basically deep fries everything on the menu.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I would be a professional calligrapher. It is a long-standing hobby of mine and it provides a great and useful creative outlet (especially with Mozart on in the background).

What profession would you not like to do?

I could not work as an accountant. I have always been good at math, even advance courses; but this is more than just the numbers, and the rules are always changing.

Julia Child invites you to a potluck dinner with James Beard and Auguste Escoffier. What dish would you take?

I would treat them to some real West Virginia comfort food: pinto beans and cornbread with a side of ramps (freshly picked wild leeks, only available in the Spring). To keep it authentic, the ramps would be sautéed in bacon grease and there would be a ham hock in those pinto beans.

Monthly Profile: Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist

Vimal Ramjee, MD, FACC, CCMS

Director of the Cardiovascular CT program at the Chattanooga Heart Institute with Memorial Hospital

Dr. Ramjee is a Senior Staff Cardiologist and the Director of the Cardiovascular CT program at the Chattanooga Heart Institute with Memorial Hospital. He is quintuple board-certified in Cardiovascular Disease (Cardiology), Echocardiography, Nuclear Medicine, Cardiac CT, and Internal Medicine. He specializes in cardiovascular imaging, general cardiology, and structural imaging. He has been featured in FOX News, NBC WRCB Morning Show, and writes about emerging cardiovascular technology as the featured Tech Talk Columnist for Cardiovascular Business magazine.

He obtained his undergraduate degree in neurobiology and behavioral science at Emory University. Dr. Ramjee completed his medical training at top-tiered, nationally ranked medical institutions. He graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and completed internal medicine residency at Emory University (Atlanta, GA). Following this, he trained in cardiology and cardiovascular disease at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA), as well as advanced cardiac CT imaging at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Ramjee has been awarded grants from the National Institute of Health and American Heart Association for his impactful work on heart disease. He has several lead author peer-reviewed publications in high-impact medical journals. His work spans from the role of the immune system in recovery from heart attacks, to how specific cholesterol biomarkers may be leveraged to help prevent heart disease. For his scientific contributions, he has been recognized with several nationally competitive awards including the Young Investigator Awards from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. He is also a winner of the Young Investigator’s Forum at Northwestern University for his groundbreaking work revealing an important role of immune T-cells in repairing heart muscle after a heart attack.

Dr. Ramjee lives in Chattanooga, TN with his wife, two children, and rescue dog. In his free time, he loves to exercise, spend time with his family, travel, and give back to the community. He is on the Board of Directors for Siskin Hospital. He formerly served as the Service Director for Young Professionals of Chattanooga, and the Board for Outcomes (Smarter Students Stronger Families team) with the City of Chattanooga. Dr. Ramjee takes special interest in efforts to improve community health.

What is your favorite ingredient?

Avocado. Incredibly nutritious, well-balanced and full-bodied fruit that lends itself to so many applications in the kitchen.

What is your least favorite ingredient?

Refined sugar. One of the most metabolically damaging ingredients, added in excess to nearly everything we eat under the guise of > 260 names, with well-known significant adverse health effects.

What turns you on creatively?

Coming up with new solutions to difficult problems.

What turns you off?

Ego and being unkind.

What is your favorite recipe or meal?

Eggs Benedict. Breakfast has always been my favorite.

What culinary flavor or aroma do you love?

Cardamom.

What culinary flavor or aroma do you hate?

I haven’t yet come across any aroma that I hate.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Regenerative organic farmer. I love the idea of growing food in an intentional way that promotes soil health, animal welfare and consumer well-being altogether.

What profession would you not like to do?

Accountant. I can’t wrap my mind around crunching numbers all day, every day.

Julia Child invites you to a pot luck dinner with James Beard and Aguste Escoffier. What dish would you take?

Slow braised lamb ragu with gnocchi, one of my favorite combinations that pairs well with a full-bodied wine.


Upcoming Culinary Medicine Events

Continuing Medical Education via Zoom

The Health meets Food team began offering online hands-on cooking classes for CME credit in early May 2020. The classes have been very successful and our first round sold out, so we are adding more classes! Participants will use Zoom to gather, collaborate, cook together, and discuss case studies. Each module will follow the workflow of in-person programming and will take about 3 1/2 hours to complete.

A shopping and equipment list is available for each module to guide you in preparation. We also recommend using an iPad for the Zoom meeting and purchasing Gooseneck Tablet Holder to make participation easier.

For registration issues, questions, or for more event information, please contact Cecilia Hatfield at [email protected]

Introduction to Culinary Medicine: Saturday August 28, 2021, 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT

IBS, IBD, GERD: Friday September 24, 2021, 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm EDT

Carbohydrates and Diabetes: Sunday September 26, 2021, 3:00 pm – 6:30 pm EDT

Weight Management and Portion Control: Friday October 8, 2021,  4:00 pm to 7:30 pm EDT

Protein and Vegetarian Diet: Saturday October 23, 2021,  4:00 pm to 7:30 pm EDT

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Sunday November 7, 2021, 3:00 pm – 6:30 pm EDT

Introduction to Culinary Medicine: Friday November 19, 2021, 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm EDT

Register at this link: More info »


Curriculum Committee Meetings Every Second Thursday of the Month

Health meets Food Curriculum Committee meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 5:00 PM Eastern time. All partner sites are invited to join the Zoom meeting. The goal for the remainder of this academic year is to review two new modules related to food security – one covering food security in the elderly and the other a combined WIC & SNAP overview. We will also work on revisions to Module 1 and Module 7.

You can find Zoom information for registration in the Instructor Resources inside Moodle.

Research Committee Meetings Every Third Thursday of the Month

The Health meets Food Research Committee meets on the third Thursday of each month at 5:00 PM Eastern time.

Information on how to join the meeting via Zoom can be found in the Research Information for Health meets Food section of the Instructor Resources