Culinary Medicine

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

Culinary medicine is a rapidly growing field that aims to combine the art of delicious food and cooking skills with the science of nutrition and medicine.

More than just providing nutritional advice, the goal of this evidence-based approach is to empower people to have a thriving relationship with the food they eat – in some cases, focusing on treating existing conditions and, in others, preventing disease from happening in the first place.

The Culinary Medicine Program at UT Southwestern provides culinary medicine education and instruction to our community. We’ve developed a three-part clinical service line – a novel approach that ensures patients can get guidance to make nourishing, affordable food part of their lifestyle.

Promoting Wellness Through Delicious and Nutritious Food

A poor diet is the top risk factor for early death in the U.S., and many patients don’t receive the support or the tools they need to improve their diets.

Culinary medicine combines the expertise of physicians, registered dietitians, and chefs to help patients improve their personal relationships with food and reduce health risks, all while eating delicious food that fits their cultural, budgetary, and lifestyle preferences.

UT Southwestern was the first medical center to license the educational curriculum from Health meets Food, which now includes a network of more than 60 medical centers and training programs that are leading the change in how health care professionals are trained to think about wellness and healthy eating.

Our educational program training health professionals began in 2015 and quickly spread throughout UT Southwestern to include research and innovative patient care.

Following the “food is medicine” philosophy, we’re continuing to expand our efforts to achieve our vision of:

  • Making delicious, nutritious food accessible to everyone
  • Preventing and treating chronic disease
  • Supporting dietary strategies for food allergy and intolerance
  • Improving people’s relationship with food
  • Promoting a community that thrives and celebrates nourishing food

E-Consult Service

Supporting patients in meaningful lifestyle change is a long-term process that includes providing specific, achievable goals that fit the lifestyle and personal health needs of each patient. We offer basic guidance and support to UTSW patients through our culinary medicine e-consult service.

E-consults are a good match for patients who need disease-specific food recommendations, information about how to pair food with medical treatment for a particular health concern, or resources for recipes, nourishing food access, or nutrition education.

E-consults are offered to all UTSW patients at the request of their primary care or specialist physicians or advanced practice providers.

Once we receive the request from a patient’s referring clinician, our physician/registered dietitian team develops a single-page summary of the patient’s health background and goals, personalized dietary recommendations, recipe suggestions, and tips for local resources to promote nourishing food access. Patients receive the recommendations from their referring clinician through MyChart.

Our e-consult service provides brief, targeted, food-based answers to patients’ questions and concerns, supporting management of their health in an innovative way.

Patients’ questions typically concern:

Evidence-based dietary approaches for prevention or disease mitigation

  • Is a particular dietary approach I want to try safe and effective?
  • How can a particular dietary pattern be more affordable?
  • How can a dietary pattern support normal bowel function?
  • How do I build a healthy pantry on a budget?
  • How can certain foods support anti-inflammation?
  • How can I pursue a plant-based diet and get adequate protein and nutrients?
  • How can a diet support healing and recovery after surgery?

Using food as a nutrient source instead of/in combination with supplements

  • Magnesium in food for constipation, muscle cramps/RLS, adjunct in fibromyalgia
  • Calcium in food for bone health
  • Iron in food for anemia and strategies to optimize absorption
  • Spices in cooking for flavor building and maximum health benefits
  • Antioxidants/phytonutrients for immune, brain, and cardiovascular health
  • Fermented food sources for microbiome health
  • Fiber (soluble vs. insoluble) for dietary health

How to accommodate food allergy and sensitivity/intolerance in cooking, meal prep

  • Managing gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, etc.
  • Meeting nutrient needs when food elimination is necessary


  • What cookbooks or websites have evidence-based recipes?

Our culinary medicine e-consultation doesn’t replace and is distinct from nutrition referral for formal medical nutrition therapy, which is supported by insurance for diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and obesity/weight loss. We encourage nutrition referrals for patients who might benefit from additional support.

Personalized Coaching Consults

In 2022, the Culinary Medicine team developed a novel approach to address the need for one-on-one discussion about dietary strategies for each patient’s personal health conditions, medications, barriers, and goals.

We take a unique, interprofessional approach. Patients first meet with a Culinary Medicine physician who reviews their medical, surgical, social, and medication history, contextualizing these health challenges and current therapeutic approaches. Patients explore their relationship with food along with their strengths and barriers, and they develop an understanding of how dietary strategies can pair with medical interventions to improve health.

Next, patients meet with a Culinary Medicine dietitian to develop specific, achievable goals for dietary change and explore new recipes and culinary strategies to support their success in a way that fits their preferences and lifestyle.

Some patients hope to transform their entire health journey with dietary and lifestyle changes, and our team can support this longer-term effort. Other patients might wish to reduce their medication burden while improving disease control with small, manageable tweaks to their dietary patterns. The one-on-one personalized approach dedicated to discussion about the impact of dietary pattern allows for detailed planning, education, and strategy-building.

The most successful patients typically follow up with the team every two to three months until they feel confident about continuing to set new goals and habit changes independently for ongoing, long-term sustainability.

Patients can request a referral from their physician or advanced practice provider, and self-referrals are also accepted by calling 214-214-5840.

Shared Medical Appointments

Culinary medicine shared medical appointments, or group visits, offer another way for patients to improve their health through food. Shared medical appointments help patients develop a wide range of culinary skills and nutrition knowledge to support a healthy dietary pattern.

In these group sessions, patients learn together about the benefits of particular foods and develop hands-on culinary skills they can use to cook healthy meals at home. Each participant cooks during class, and a full meal is part of every appointment.

Led by a physician and registered dietitian who are Culinary Medicine team members, shared medical appointments are an interactive opportunity to apply nutritional knowledge to real-world cooking and develop long-lasting culinary nutrition habits in a lighthearted community setting. Participants often share stories, successes, and challenges with one another, building support and inspiration.

Shared medical appointments take place in a community kitchen rather than a doctor’s office.

Session topics might include:

  • Eating on a budget
  • Meal planning and prepping
  • Using culinary spices to build flavor while reducing excess salt in food
  • Preparing recipes that align with individual health conditions
  • Setting overall wellness goals
  • Making smart menu choices when dining out

Established patients at UT Southwestern can call 214-214-5840 to learn about making a shared medical appointment.

Shared Medical Appointment Locations

Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
Fellowship Center
1710 W. Camp Wisdom Road
Dallas, TX 75232

Concord Church
6808 Pastor Bailey Drive
Dallas, TX 75237

FAQ about Culinary Medicine

Which conditions does culinary medicine help with?

The most common conditions that culinary medicine strategies may support include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity

In addition, culinary medicine can help people with:

  • Fatty liver disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Eczema, rosacea, and other skin conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Dietary allergies and intolerances
  • Many other conditions
What can I expect at a shared medical appointment?

Instead of taking place in a medical clinic, culinary medicine shared medical appointments bring a group of patients together in a community kitchen to learn hands-on culinary skills and nutritional information.

These sessions, led by a physician and registered dietitian, provide dietary guidance tailored to each patient as well as strategies for healthy eating that will benefit all patients.

Are shared medical appointments, coaching consults, and e-consults covered by insurance?

Most insurance plans cover shared medical appointments and coaching consults, and many plans also cover e-consults. Check with your insurance provider directly to find out if your plan covers them.

How does culinary medicine differ from clinical medical nutrition therapy?

While both provide evidence-based guidance on dietary strategies for health, culinary medicine offers hands-on training in culinary skills, including time-saving cooking strategies, experimentation with new ingredients, and a community environment to learn new ideas for healthy eating.

How do I know which culinary medicine path to pursue?

Your primary physician will work with the Culinary Medicine team to decide the most appropriate approach for you. To be eligible for shared medical appointments (group cooking classes), patients have to be established patients (with Culinary Medicine or UTSW primary care physicians and APPs) due to insurance regulations. Many patients benefit from a combination of culinary medicine appointment types.

Cooking with Milette

Get cooking tips from Milette Siler, the lead culinary medicine instructor at UT Southwestern and co-founder of the Culinary Medicine clinical service line.

Watch Videos

About the Team

Jaclyn Albin, M.D., CCMS

Dr. Albin launched UT Southwestern’s Culinary Medicine Program and serves as its Director, working to teach nutrition through hands-on cooking classes to students, health care professionals, and the community. She is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and practices primary care across the lifespan. She also serves as the founding Associate Program Director for the combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program.

Dr. Albin is trained in lifestyle medicine and is a certified culinary medicine specialist (CCMS). She serves on the national advisory board for the CCMS program at Health meets Food and studies the impact of culinary medicine classes in medical education, patient care, and community settings.

She is passionate about nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental influences on health, and she seeks to drive positive change at a population health level that ensures everyone has access to nourishing, delicious food. Making changes for a healthier life can be very challenging, and Dr. Albin strives to equip her patients with the knowledge, skills, and support to optimize their success.

Milette Siler, RD, LD, CCMS

Ms. Siler has been involved with culinary medicine since 2014, when a collaboration between Moncrief Cancer Institute and Texas Christian University first brought the program to North Texas.

Her career is focused on advancing culinary medicine in both professional student and community settings. In the professional student arena, Ms. Siler serves as Lead Dietetic Instructor at UT Southwestern Medical School, bringing enhanced nutrition education to medical students, residents, and other health professionals.

In the community setting, she teaches hands-on cooking classes for cancer survivor patients at Moncrief. Additionally, she networks with local food pantries and other organizations to bring culinary medicine to underserved populations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Teaching Kitchen Collaborative Members

Dr. Albin and Ms. Siler are Innovator members of the Teaching Kitchen Collaborative, an international network of thought-leading organizations that use teaching kitchen facilities as catalysts of enhanced personal and public health across medical, community, school, and corporate settings.

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