The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)—a private, not-for-profit culinary college widely regarded as the world’s leading culinary college—has long been committed to advancing healthier food choices in society. Since 2004 the CIA has been working with partners at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Department of Nutrition on national and international initiatives that promote healthful eating.
Worlds of Healthy Flavors® (www.ciaprochef.com/wohf/), co-presented by the CIA and HSPH, is an invitational leadership retreat for menu-decision makers from the top volume foodservice operations in the country (including chain restaurants, colleges & universities, contract foodservice, and supermarkets). The three-day event held every January at the CIA at Greystone in Napa Valley, California, focuses on our nation’s most pressing public health issues, and presents ideas for delicious, healthful menu options.
Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives® (www.healthykitchens.org) is a continuing medical education (CME) conference co-presented by the CIA and the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, that prepares healthcare professionals from a wide range of disciplines to talk with their patients and clients about food, culinary, and lifestyle choices that promote better health. The four-day event, held every spring at the CIA’s Napa Valley campus, includes lectures, culinary demonstrations, hands-on kitchen sessions, and workshops that are all designed to make attendees role models for healthy eating and cooking for their families, patients, and colleagues.
Menus of Change® (www.menusofchange.org) is a ground-breaking initiative launched by the CIA and HSPH in 2012 to create a long-term, practical vision for the integration of optimal nutrition and public health, environmental stewardship and restoration, and social responsibility concerns within the foodservice sector and beyond. The initiative—including the annual leadership summit, Menus of Change annual report, and the Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus—will focus on the creation of new business strategies and models to support successive stages of innovation and entrepreneurship in anticipation of a global population that will reach 9 billion by 2050.
In September 2010, the CIA made a commitment to launch a nationwide initiative aimed at improving the quality of foods and beverages made available to children in a variety of settings. The CIA Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids initiative launched with a three-day national leadership summit at the CIA, San Antonio campus, in May 2011. This inaugural event brought together nearly 200 leaders from chain restaurants, campus dining, supermarkets, food manufacturers, commodity boards, and school foodservice to discuss and debate a wide range of issues that are impacting the quality and flavor of foods for children. A similar event was held in May 2012.
Based on audience feedback from the 2012 event, the college made a decision to narrow the focus of the initiative. The CIA Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids initiative focuses on culinary insights and training for K-12 school foodservice operations.
The core of the CIA Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids initiative is culinary insights and actions around K-12 school foodservice. The CIA looks to enhance the role of America's chefs as leaders and change agents, principally by better equipping them with the understanding and tools they will need to be more effective in transforming the food environment for children, youth, and their families.
In 2015 the CIA expanded the committment to school nutrition by forming the CIA Healthy Kids Collaborative, a year-round, invitational initiative designed to accelerate innovation and deepen technical and professional expertise in K-12 school nutrition. CIA Healthy Kids Collaborative members are school nutrition leaders from round the country, including directors and chefs, top foodservice management companies, expert school nutrition consultants, and other stakeholders.