Dietitians can’t cook – says who?!

How many of you really think us dietitians or dietitians-to-be can’t?

Hello everybody! I hope you all had a great week last week. It was definitely a very busy one for me to say the least. The project I’m about to share with you absolutely dominated my schedule and left me little time to do much else in the way of classwork for other classes that I desperately needed to do. But oh well. This project was way too much fun so I didn’t mind at all. But moving along…

I will be the first to admit being adept in the kitchen is not my forte. Prior to this I was a bio major. Put me in a lab and I manage, a kitchen – that’s a little less certain. This semester I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to begin changing that. Food Science, though taxing, has really helped me grow more comfortable in the kitchen and experiment more with cooking. I’ve gained some confidence in my abilities as a mediocre cook, and for that I’m thankful. Now I can only continue to improve!

At the very beginning of the semester we were told that dietitians can’t cook. Or most of them anyways. Our professor is a chef and I think she was happily proven wrong to find out many of the students in my class had plenty of experience either cooking for themselves and their loved ones, or had experience in food service. Her goal was to help us, as future dietitians, to know that what we’re telling our future clients actually tastes good, looks good, etc. Mission accomplished, for myself at least.

And then she introduced our culminating final project that would loom over our heads for the next three months: the Food and Nutrition Project (FNP). Basically, groups of five students put on a luncheon event for six members of the faculty & staff. Apparently it’s a very popular event that so many faculty & staff members eagerly look forward to every spring. Way to put the pressure on.

The FNP included everything, and I mean everything from designing a theme, planning a menu, creating invitations, transforming a crappy conference room to a beautiful space that went with the theme, cooking the food, serving the food, conducting the nutrient analysis of the meal, pulling together a massive binder, etc. etc.

It was intense. But, I’m happy to say that it all came out beautifully (and a significant weight is lifted off my shoulders)! So this week I wanted to share with you the efforts of my entire group in lieu of pulling off an awesome project that I was so proud to be a part of.

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Here’s the cruddy conference room transformed into a beautiful space under one of my group member’s extraordinary supervision (with help from yours truly). We picked a “rustic spring” theme and really aimed to keep it as simple as possible so that the table wouldn’t distract from the colorful and vibrant food we were serving.

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Here’s the beginning of our meal! One of our group members had past experience as an executive chef so she handled the menu planning and directed the cooking in the kitchen. We wanted to keep things relatively inexpensive and simple, so we stuck to a vegetarian theme with lots of vegetables, legumes, and grains. This is the antipasta platter with pickled red onion, marinated vegetables, and a white bean salad served family style with individual flat breads to use for scooping. Talk about delicious and attractive!

                         IMG_2173 IMG_2180    Lemon Tart pic

And here’s the rest of our luncheon menu! Our second course was an herbed carrot soup (the color!), and our main was a farro salad with beets, arugula, walnuts, and feta (#presentationgoals). And the super tasty finale: a lemon cream tart! How cute does it look?!

The FNP was a challenging, time-intensive, product of lots of labor and love from our entire group. A lot went into it, and our effort definitely shined through on Friday. I was so happy to be a part of something that produced such awesome results that our guests thoroughly enjoyed.

And, I think, this disproves the whole theory that dietitians can’t cook – or they’re at least improving their skills in the kitchen thanks to this class anyways haha.

Question of the week: what do you think about dietitians being able to cook? We can all agree it’s important – I certainly think they should be able to – but do you think it’s universally true that most can’t? Do you disagree?

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