Culinary School and Mediterranean Cooking: Good for the Brain and Good for the Body

by Olivia DeWolfe
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 14, 2011

A delicious falafel appetizer. Fresh seafood, pungent rosemary, brightly-colored roasted peppers and garlic-infused olive oil: Who can resist the foods of the Mediterranean? Fortunately, there's no reason to since studies have shown for years that a diet rich in fish, vegetables, whole grains, fruits and moderate amounts of wine is good for your heart. The latest research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition points to benefits for your brain health as well.

Get healthy with the Mediterranean culinary arts

Low in saturated fat, dairy, red meat and eggs, the Mediterranean diet is said to have no negative effects on the body and may be helpful in preventing cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The November 2010 AJCN article called "Accruing Evidence on Benefits of Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet" showed that participants demonstrated slower cognitive decline as they aged than people who ate red meat, processed foods and white bread. Research points to less damage caused by oxidative stress as one of the factors that contributes to the health benefits of this way of eating.

Culinary Schools focus on Mediterranean food

Most culinary schools devote part of their curriculum to Mediterranean cuisine and some smaller private cooking schools in America and Europe specialize in teaching this style of food. Some of the dishes you might learn to make include salmon in parchment, stuffed grape leaves, lemon and thyme yogurt cake or bulgur soup with ratatouille and fresh herbs.

As a culinary school graduate, you can use your honed cooking skills to create and execute Mediterranean menus for a restaurant, catering or private chef business. Chefs like Fabio Viviani, owner and executive chef of Café Firenze Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar in Ventura County, have made a fabulous career out of serving Mediterranean cuisine combined with classical training in Italian, French and Spanish cooking.

From an intensive cooking workshop to an advanced culinary degree program , you can hop on board the Mediterranean culinary arts train and find yourself making spinach, olive and feta-stuffed tiropitas, or even tilapia fish stew with saffron in no time.

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