Kitchen to Clinic

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  • Title: Kitchen to Clinic: Perspectives from Healthy Cooking Program Leadership and the Need for Novel Evaluation Tools
  • Author(s): Margaret Raber
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Food Studies
  • Journal Title: Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Keywords: Community Organization, Food Preparation, Qualitative Research
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2160-1933 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1941 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Raber, Margaret. 2019. "Kitchen to Clinic: Perspectives from Healthy Cooking Program Leadership and the Need for Novel Evaluation Tools." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 9 (2): 29-36. doi:10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v09i02/29-36.
  • Extent: 8 pages


Community cooking programs are gaining popularity around the world as research on cooking and health gains traction in academia. Despite promising preliminary research, however, the impact of community cooking programs is difficult to quantify given the lack of standardized metrics or curricula. The goal of this study is to use in-depth interviews to identify leadership backgrounds, the theoretical underpinnings of the programs, and leadership perspectives on program evaluation and impact. Three in-depth interviews were conducted with high-level management at three organizations. The interviews were analyzed using thematic coding and four main themes were derived from the transcripts. An exploration of program leadership shows the emergence of a new sort of food professional, existing outside the realm of dietetics and more closely aligned to sustainability and local food movements. This has led to creative community programs with strong grassroots support, but also potential issues with evaluations attempting to explore health outcomes. Researchers attempting to evaluate community cooking programs should use more egalitarian partnership models and consider program leadership, goals, and end users. Efforts should also be made to develop easy to use, validated evaluation tools that can quantify healthy cooking behaviors. Robust trials should be conducted and best practices developed to bring this movement into the mainstream and secure multi-year funding.