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CHEF (Culinary Health Education Fundamentals) Coaching Program & the Adaptive Kitchen


# of participants in 2022

Member since 2023

Bringing Culinary Medicine to Clinician Practice and Physical Rehabilitation

The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate, is a world leader in advanced rehabilitation treatment and research. Spaulding has two teaching kitchen initiatives: 1) Culinary Health Education Fundamentals (CHEF) Coaching program – an innovative program designed to provide easy-to-follow culinary education to improve the quality and scope of food preparation in the home; and 2) Adapted kitchen – a fully functional educational kitchen for patients to practice meal preparation as part of the rehabilitation process. 

The CHEF Coaching is focused on the culinary coaching (CC), an evidence base telemedicine model aimed at improving eating habits through health coaching combined with culinary training. CHEF Coaching has two arms—research and education. The research arm studies the best principles and tools for sustainable home cooking habits, and the educational component disseminate this knowledge to clinicians and health care professionals.  

Key Data

  • CHEF Coaching Program: 933 clinicians trained 

  • ADAPTIVE KITCHEN: Approximately 100 patients benefit from utilizing the adaptive kitchen on a weekly basis

Quick Facts


CHEF Program: 3 Physicians, 4 Chefs, 5 Health coaches. ADAPTIVE KITCHEN: 34 OTs, 5 TRTs

Built-in kitchen in the community

Highlights of the CHEF Coaching Program:

  • 2014 – CHEF Coaching for Patients successfully developed and piloted
  • 2015 – CHEF Coaching for Patients implemented as a service at Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA
  • 2016 – Approved as a program within The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School
  • 2016 – Harvard Medical School approves onsite component of CHEF Coaching for Clinicians for Continuing Medical Education credits
  • 2017 – Culinary coaching module included in Veterans Administration’s physicians’ assistant training program
  • 2018 – CHEF Coaching for Clinicians approved for continuing education credits by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • 2022 – Spanish language cohort added to the CHEF Coaching for Clinicians offerings
  • 2022 – Approved CE Course for National Board of Health & Wellness Coaching
  • 2022 – Approved CEH provider for the American Culinary Federation
  • 2023 – Implementation in institutions such as Queen’s University Medical School, Kalamazoo Community College
  • 2023 – CHEF Coaching for Clinicians included as the culinary medicine module of the ABLM course
  • 2023 – CHEF Coaching for Clinicians added as  ACLM course for health coaches


After the clinician’s CHEF coaching program, we were able to not only teach a cooking class and teach culinary skills…but also it gave us, and it gave me skills to become a better doctor. I feel like the active listening and the motivational interviewing helped me to be more present with my patients. It helped me to be more aware and address some of their obstacles in addition to celebrating their wins.

Doctor Theresa Stone


Julie K. Silver, Adi Finkelstein, Kaya Minezaki, Kimberly Parks, Maggi A. Budd, Monique Tello, Sabrina Paganoni, Amir Tirosh, and Rani Polak.  The Impact of a Culinary Coaching Telemedicine Program on Home Cooking and Emotional Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Nutrients Journal 2021, 13, 2311.

Laura Klein, MBA, and Kimberly Parks, DO, FACC Home Meal Preparation-A Powerful Medical Intervention. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine 2020, DOI:

Kimberly Parks, Rani Polak. Culinary Medicine: Paving the Way to Health Through Our Forks. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. Volume 14, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 51-53 

Polak R, Pober D, Berry EM, Mazal T, Arieli R, Ziv M. Improving the quality of foods available in a rural kibbutz cafeteria in Israel to align with a freshly prepared Mediterranean-style diet through a community culinary coaching programme. Public Health Nutrition. 2019;22(17):3229-3237. doi:10.1017/S1368980019001721

Rani Polak, Adi Finkelstein, Sabrina Paganoni, Rob Welch, and Julie K Silver. Cooking Online With a Chef: Health Professionals’ Evaluation of a Live Culinary Coaching Module. Sage Journals 2019.

Polak, Rani MD, MBA; Pober, David PhD; Morris, Avigail PhD; Arieli, Rakefet RD, MSc; Moore, Margaret MBA; Berry, Elliot MD; Ziv, Mati MD. Improving Adherence to Mediterranean-Style Diet With a Community Culinary Coaching Program: Methodology Development and Process Evaluation. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management 41(3):p 181-193, July/September 2018. | DOI: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000240

Polak, R., Tirosh, A., Livingston, B. et al Preventing Type 2 Diabetes with Home Cooking: Current Evidence and Future Potential. Curr Diab Rep 18, 99 (2018).

Rani Polak, David Pober, Adi Finkelstein, Maggi A. Budd, Margaret Moore, Julie K Silver & Edward M Phillips. Innovation in medical education: a culinary coaching tele-nutrition training programMedical Education Online 2018, 23:1, DOI: 10.1080/10872981.2018.1510704

Rani Polak, David M. Pober, Maggi A. Budd, Julie K. Silver, Edward M. Phillips, and Martin J. Abrahamson. Improving patients’ home cooking – A case series of participation in a remote culinary coaching program. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 42(8): 893-896.

Rani Polak, MD, MBA; Edward M. Phillips, MD; Julia Nordgren, MD; John La Puma, MD; Julie La Barba, MD, FAAP; Mark Cucuzzella, MD, FAAFP; Robert Graham; Timothy S. Harlan, MD; Tracey Burg, RD, LDN; David Eisenberg, MD.  Culinary Medicine Programs: An Overview. Global Adv Health Med. 2016;5(1):61-68. DOI: 10.7453/gahmj.2015.128

Polak R, Sforzo GA, Dill D, Phillips EM, Moore M. Credentialed Chefs as Wellness Coaches. Eat Behav. 2015;19:65-67. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2015.06.016

Rani Polak, Edward M. Phillips,and Amy Campbell. Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. 2015. CLINICAL.DIABETESJOURNALS.ORG. DOI: 10.2337/diaclin.33.4.198

Polak R, Dill D, Abrahamson MJ, Pojednic RM, Phillips EM. Innovation in diabetes care: improving consumption of healthy food through a “chef coaching” program: a case report. Glob Adv Health Med. 2014;3(6):42-48. doi:10.7453/gahmj.2014.059


U.S. News and World Report, Culinary Medicine: A Recipe for Better Health, November 2018

American Medical Association, Your new Rx for patients health: a good home-cooked meal, September 2018

Herald-Tribune, Practice Culinary Medicine in Your Own Kitchen,September 2018

American Society for Nutrition, The Art of Cooking for Health: Culinary Medicine, July 2018

Photo Magazine, Is there a doctor in the kitchen?, August 2018

Harvard Health Blog, Home Cooking – Good for Your Health, August 2018

Alternative and Complementary Therapies, CHEF Coaching – translating nutritional science into practical tool , 2017

Vascular Medicine, Beans: tools to improve health 2015

Save the Date:
TKC Symposium &
Annual Members Meeting

November 13-15, 2024
Salt Lake City, UT

Learn more about teaching kitchen innovation.