NGI: Where It All Began

September 29, 2017

Almost 6 years ago, I made a choice that had changed the course of my life. I had absolutely no idea that it would. I was left with 9 months to spare in between my medical school training and my upcoming residency in family practice. Some told me to take the time off and travel. Some of my colleagues went into research. Others worked.

I decided to cook.

My world had opened up since then and I have touched so many that I probably could not have otherwise from national conference lectures to community workshops to culinary demos. All teaching and educating one thing: food as medicine.

Last night I had the privilege of attending my alma mater Natural Gourmet Institute’s 40th Anniversary. Walking through those kitchen walls and smelling the aromas from those chaotic kitchens brought back so many memories for me. It brought back the banging of the pots and pans, shuffling to the spice rack, dashing to the convection ovens, rushing to the emergency kit from a knife nick and the oil cracking from the Asian wok. It brought back noise and chatter of creative ideas being thrown around for Friday night dinners. If there is a heaven, this was it for me.

Annemarie Colbin, PhD., founded the school 40 years ago before the food as medicine movement, before plant-based lifestyle and culinary medicine became mainstream. Suffice to say, she was ahead of the game. She famously instilled these seven principles for food selection:

Since the inception of the school, NGI has graduated over 2700 chefs from over 45 countries. Some have gone on to work in the public school system, others went on to become well-known executive chefs, while others have continued to instruct at the school. My hope is to be part of that legacy of contributing to a much-needed demand of empowering others to take back their health through the power of food.

Come read the recent interview piece of Jarry Magazine.

Much Love,

- Zhu