Healthy Education

Plant-Based Nutrition & Culinary Schools – Professional & Leisure

When I was a kid, I was not vegan, but we ate a semi-vegetarian diet.  I was never comfortable with the idea of eating meat.  I did, however, love to cook.  I grew up before there was a Food Network and would spend my free time watching The Frugal Gourmet on TV.  I loved grocery shopping for the family and creating my own recipes for our family when I was a teenager.  My mom was perfectly happy to not have to cook.  I considered going to culinary school after I graduated, but one of the reasons I didn’t want to (and still don’t want to) is because I don’t want to take butchering classes and I just don’t want to cook with meat!  Any traditional culinary school is going to tell you that you have to take the full curriculum and learn how to cook with meat, dairy, eggs, etc.  I understand their point of view and I can certainly veganize and makeover many traditional recipes, however I would like to suggest a new paradigm – a new type of culinary school – one that focuses on the new four food groups – vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans and legumes.  I believe it calls for more creativity than the standard French-based fare.  There are a few such schools in existence.

Before spending thousands of dollars on any school, be sure to research them thoroughly.  Read a few books ahead of time.  Visit the campus and sit in on a class or two.  See if their philosophy is in line with yours.  Don’t discount conventional schools.  They do offer more prestige in many circles and some are adding plant-based options all the time.  Continue to explore their options. When I graduated from high school, many of these options didn’t exist.

Johnson and Wales now offers some plant-based cooking and nutrition classes, but only after completion of the standard 2 year associate degree (which includes meat, eggs and dairy).  If you are interested in attending a conventional cooking school, but want to focus on plant-based cooking, I encourage you to push for more healthy, low-fat plant-based cooking and nutrition options in both lower and upper level classes.  It’s our job to take delicious, healthy, plant-based cuisine mainstream.

Cooking/Nutrition Schools I Recommend

Bastyr University in Seattle; Accredited University; offers degrees in Nutrition/Culinary Arts, Dietetics, Naturopathic Medicine and more

Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell or

(I took this program and highly recommend it!)

The Natural Gourmet Cookery in NYC; Accredited cooking school offering many vegan and vegetarian classes.  Focus on whole, natural foods.

Living Light Culinary Institute; The place to go for an education in Raw Food Preparation,

Kushi Institute; The Center for Macrobiotic Cooking and Healing

Nutritional Education Institute; This is Dr. Fuhrman’s program – focus on nutrient-density and eating for health.

The Cordon Vert School; Vegetarian and Vegan School near Manchester, England

Spork Foods; Cooking Classes in LA

Wellness Forum; Nutrition Classes

Institute for Humane Education

The Institute for Humane Education (IHE) is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to creating a humane world through humane education. (no cooking classes)

Many natural foods stores and local groups also offer vegan classes.  Check your local Whole Foods Market, Co-op or other natural foods store, check the newspaper, go online and search for vegetarian, vegan, raw, or macrobiotic cooking classes.

If you know of another cooking or nutrition school that focuses on healthy whole foods, plant-based cooking that I have omitted, please feel free to email me at

I wish you all the best in your cooking (or raw food preparation) adventures!


How good it is to be well-fed, healthy, and kind all at the same time. – Henry J. Heimlich