A Teaching Kitchen and True Community Asset
What started with a celebrity chef and a television show has flourished into a teaching kitchen run in partnership between a local university and hospital group. In the heart of downtown, Huntington’s Kitchen has been embedded in the community for over a decade. The kitchen is run by a partnership between Marshall University and Cabell Hospital, part of Mountain Health Network.
With an intention to embed the teaching kitchen into more of its operations, the Marshall University Dietetics Department moved to downtown Huntington. Pairing the teaching kitchen with all its food-related nutrition coursework fits in seamlessly since the dietetics degree program has a concentration in nutrition education. When a professor from the School of Medicine and cardiologist trained in culinary medicine reached out to the Dietetics Department, a partnership was born. He understood the changing needs for nutrition in medical education and started a culinary medicine program in the medical school. Now, dietetics students mentor medical students in the kitchen, laying groundwork for more interprofessional collaboration and ultimately, better patient care.
Huntington’s Kitchen is truly a community resource. The Dietetics Department and Cabell Hospital lead community programming for children, adults, and seniors in the community such as “Dine with a Doc,” corporate training, cooking for people in recovery, and kids’ cooking camps in the summertime. In line with the belief that every person deserves to learn how to live their best life, the Dietetics Department also runs a food pantry to not only distribute food, but teach cooking classes to prepare it. Dietetic interns are central to the success of the kitchen. Chef Marty does some simple prep for a meal box and recipients can pick it up and watch a video where he shows how to cook it. And with virtual programming, Chef Marty pulls in a crowd—over 5,000 viewers!