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Worlds of Healthy Flavors Online

Welcome to Worlds of Healthy Flavors Online, an important resource for chefs and other foodservice professionals who want to meet the growing consumer demand for great flavor, good health, and culinary adventure.

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and Harvard School of Public Health developed Worlds of Healthy Flavors as a major initiative to increase the scope and range of healthy menu choices available to consumers through American foodservice. Information and inspiration are provided through annual leadership retreats and this online journal.

"The Worlds of Healthy Flavors initiative provides an opportunity for the scientific community to work directly with key foodservice organizations in affecting how tens of millions of Americans eat every week. At a time when consumers as well as many chefs and operators are expressing confusion about conflicting dietary messages, this initiative gives participants an 'insider's view' on the direction of current nutrition research, and creates a platform on which scientists, corporate chefs and other menu experts can come together to accelerate healthy innovation in foodservice."
Walter Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health; Author of Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating; Chair of the Worlds of Healthy Flavors Scientific Advisory Committee

Annual invitation-only leadership retreats bring together a prestigious group, including:

  • Leading nutrition scientists from U.S. universities and research organizations including the Harvard School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente, and Penn State
  • Corporate chefs and executive foodservice menu decision-makers from chain restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and volume foodservice including ARAMARK, Compass Group, Darden Restaurants, Harvard University, Hilton, Hyatt, Legal Seafood, McDonald's, Panera, Ruby Tuesday, Starbucks, Subway, Wegmans, and Whole Foods Market.
  • World culinary experts and cookbook authors from the United States as well as Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean
  • Top media representatives from consumer and trade publications including Bon Appetit, Nations Restaurant News, Newsweek, The Packer, Plate and Restaurants & Institutions.

Worlds of Healthy Flavors builds on a decade of initiatives at the CIA that have made the techniques and flavor dynamics of cuisines from the Mediterranean and Asia to Latin America more accessible to American foodservice. Traditions from these world cuisines—highlighting produce and whole grains, and relying less on saturated fats and more on spices, herbs, and unsaturated plant oils—form the basis for creating more healthful menu offerings.

This online journal offers a wealth of information from the retreats, including the science that forms the basis for defining a healthy diet as well as the culinary techniques and traditions that inspire the creation of menu options that meet consumer demand great-tasting foods that promote good health and offer the excitement of culinary adventure.

Passport to a More Healthful Kitchen

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How much fun can it be to eat with the nation's leading nutrition professors and obesity researchers for two days? Will lunch be steamed vegetables, brown rice, and a side order of guilt?

It's safe to say that no one attending the annual Worlds of Healthy Flavors leadership retreats at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone go away hungry or feeling even remotely deprived. To prepare the meals, we invite internationally acclaimed chefs and cookbook authors to showcase the healthful nature of their native kitchens.

Aromatic, stimulating, and delicious beyond words—the lunches and dinners confirm that world cuisines abound in healthful ideas and fantastic flavors: India's spicy lemon broth with lentils; Mexico's green mole with vegetables; a Spanish salad of greens, figs, and gazpacho vinaigrette.

As food experts from around the world display the riches of their native tables during demonstrations and meals, one point becomes very clear: Americans still have a lot to discover. Most of us eat remarkably few of the many fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains the rest of the world has to offer.

Look to Mexico and you'll find tantalizing recipes using cactus paddles, squash blossoms, amaranth, black beans, ancho chiles, tomatillos, chayotes, and prickly pear. Vietnam can introduce us to uses for green papayas, luffa squash, lemon grass, and lychees, and the use of whole herbs in salads and salad rolls. From India come innumerable preparations for lentils and chickpeas, as well as yogurt salads and zingy chutneys with fresh fruits and herbs. Because of India's many religious groups, the country enjoys a rich vegetarian tradition, and its cooks have mastered the art of satiating without meat.

Turkish and Greek diners depend on a vast array of greens, both cultivated and wild—including poppy greens, amaranth shoots, purslane, and rock samphire—to keep their diet nutritious and varied. Black-eyed peas, fava beans, chickpeas, and twice-baked barley rusks contribute fiber and flavor to the Greek diet. What could be more enticing (or have a better nutritional profile) than Greek barley rusks or thick whole-grain toast topped with chopped summer tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil?

So many dishes, so little time. A world of healthful ingredients, culinary techniques, and food knowledge awaits any chef who wants to explore it.