Performance Culinary Workshop

by amy_freel, July 28, 2015

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The Performance Culinary Workshop advances the seamless integration of current and evidence based nutrition into menu development and food production. It focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration between sports dietitians and the culinary professionals.  The workshop incorporates both instructive and practical educational components that work to improve communication and understanding between culinary professionals and the nutrition team.


A Sports Dietitian’s Perspective of the CPSDA Performance Culinary Workshop
by Monica Fowler, MS, RD, CSSD
Sports Dietitian at the University of Kentucky

I was thrilled when CPSDA offered the Culinary Workshop for sports dietitians and culinary professionals. In our work with athletes at the University of Kentucky, Chef Marty and I have a good working relationship, but we don’t always speak the same language.

The workshop was a unique opportunity because it was designed to help dietitians see things from the chef’s point-of-view and for performance chefs to see why dietitians ask them to make all the modifications needed to help the athletes perform at their best.

On day-one, the dietitians started in the kitchen, learning basic knife skills and cooking techniques including:

  • how to incorporate Greek yogurt into recipes to increase the protein content and to lower the fat content
  • that there are different types of rice for different dishes
  • that Greek yogurt can be a great replacement for sour cream

As a group, the dietitians cooked for the chefs.  We made Tzatziki and dill dips using Greek yogurt, mayo and sour cream to compare taste and nutrient values. We also incorporated Greek yogurt into guacamole and hummus to increase the protein content of the dish.  I was truly surprised by how good the hummus and guacamole were after incorporating the yogurt.  We also learned how to make sushi vegetable rolls.

While the dietitians were in the kitchen, the chefs got a crash course on energy metabolism and the macronutrient needs of athletes.  They heard about how different athletes have different macronutrient needs and how foods help to fight inflammation.

In the afternoon, the chefs started in the kitchen.  They learned how to incorporate vegetables into lean meat dishes to help them stay juicy and increase the antioxidant content of the foods.  While the chefs were cooking, the dietitians were learning how to put on food demonstrations and cooking classes using good food safety practices.  Finally, the entire group enjoyed all of the food the chefs made.  It was really delicious – burgers, falafel, gyros, faux Alfredo made with cauliflower, “cream” soups all made with low-fat, whole food ingredients.

Overall, we learned that sports dietitians and culinary professionals share many of the same problems:

  • athletes with limited palates
  • budget and staffing problems
  • variety – trying to keep the food familiar, without boring the athletes by serving the same things over and over

I especially enjoyed brain-storming food ideas with Chef Marty and the other chefs and dietitians.  A special thanks to the Dannon Company for helping to make this all possible and for the great smoothies and snacks they shared.


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Thanks to our partners at The Dannon Company for their support of the 2016 Performance Culinary Workshop.