Press Release

Enhancing personal and public health through an elite partnership

April 9, 2024
Students cooking at the Nutrition and Dietetics Teaching Kitchen at Pace University.

The Nutrition and Dietetics Teaching Kitchen joins the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative

The Nutrition and Dietetics Teaching Kitchen at Pace University has been accepted into the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative (TKC), a leading invitational network of educational, research, and community organizations with teaching kitchens aimed at improving personal and public health.

In being part of the network, Pace joins organizations including Google, Compass Group, and Cleveland Clinic that are leading the teaching kitchen movement to improve health outcomes in the United States and around the world.

“We are thrilled to be accepted into the TKC as an organization member,” said Jessica Tosto, MS, RD, department chair and clinical associate professor, Nutrition and Dietetics. “Joining the TKC allows us to expand our network of innovative, like-minded colleagues, share resources, and collaborate on research and best practices in the field of culinary nutrition to achieve our mission.”

Teaching Kitchen activities take place at the renowned Zwilling JA Henckels Cooking Studio in Pleasantville where faculty teach future Registered Dietitians about the importance of food as medicine, health equity, sustainability, and culinary nutrition skills to future patients and clients. In addition, Nutrition and Dietetics students share their skills and knowledge with other students and members of the Pace community using our on-campus Mobile Teaching Kitchen.

Teaching kitchen programs include collaboration with Feeding Westchester Mobile Market to teach participants healthy cooking techniques, how to prepare unfamiliar foods, and inspire them to try something new.

The Teaching Kitchen also includes nutrition education for student athletes, and culinary nutrition education for the broader student body, which also focuses on utilization of fresh herbs and produce grown in the campus community garden and addressing the issue of food insecurity on campus.

By integrating culinary nutrition education, health, and sustainability, Pace University's Teaching Kitchen initiatives are fostering a new generation of leaders who are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to create healthier communities.

In addition to Tosto, the department chair, three Pace faculty members are members of the TKC. They include: Mary Opfer, MS, RDN, clinical associate professor of Nutrition and Dietetics; Denise Tahara, PhD, MPhil, MBA, department chair and associate professor of Health Science; and Beau Anderson, PhD, MA(Ed), associate dean of Allied Health Programs.

“As a Pace student, I am thrilled to witness and contribute to the blossoming of food equity and outreach within my community,” said Vida Velasco-Popov, a student who is graduating later this year. “It fills me with immense pride to be part of a collective effort that seeks to nourish and bridge the knowledge gap between perceived barriers in the kitchen and empowering others to get curious and learn something new. By sharing our knowledge of nutrition and cooking, we are not just helping today’s students, but we are building a healthier future for the entire Pace community.”

The TKC is a unique collaboration of medical professionals, chefs, educators, researchers, and food system experts dedicated to improving personal and public health. The TKC’s mission is to catalyze and empower a growing network of innovators who are changing lives through food. The TKC was formally launched in 2016 by Dr. David Eisenberg, in partnership with The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as an invitational network of thought leading organizations using teaching kitchen facilities as catalysts of enhanced personal and public health across medical, corporate, school, and community settings.

In 2020, the TKC became a 501c3 and is now a global network of 58 teaching kitchens. Its members represent a diverse range of organizations, including leading academic medical centers, public youth services institutions, private employers, and public libraries. The TKC functions as a central hub and accelerator to support the reproducibility, scalability, and evaluation of emerging teaching kitchen models and educational programs.

"Pace University's Nutrition and Dietetics Department is teaching a new generation of leaders that food, individual/community health, and the health of our planet are inextricably linked,” said Katie Welch, TKC Executive Director. “The Teaching Kitchen Collaborative is proud to welcome Pace's incredible team to our network, where leaders in the field of culinary medicine share resources, network and collaborate. Through their membership, Pace's innovative collaborations, focus on food equity and sustainability, and robust programs for students and the community, will help inform teaching kitchens around the world."

To learn more about the TKC and for a full list of TKC members, visit their website.

About the College of Health Professions at Pace University

Established in 2010, the College of Health Professions (CHP) at Pace University offers a broad range of programs at the bachelor, master's, and doctoral levels. It is the College's goal to create innovative and complex programs that reflect the changing landscape of the health care system. These programs are designed to prepare graduates for impactful careers in health care practice, health-related research, or as educators, and equip graduates to work in health policy and global health fields. Students in clinical programs receive hands-on training in the College's interprofessional Center of Excellence in Healthcare Simulation and have the opportunity to apply their developing skills in real-world settings at many of the regions' leading clinical facilities. In addition to Nutrition and Dietetics, the College currently comprises several growing and important areas of study, which include Nursing, Physician Assistant, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health Science, Occupational Therapy, Health Informatics, and Public Health.

About Pace University

Since 1906, Pace University has been transforming the lives of its diverse students—academically, professionally, and socioeconomically. With campuses in New York City and Westchester County, Pace offers bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs to 13,600 students in its College of Health Professions, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Lubin School of Business, Sands College of Performing Arts, School of Education, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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