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Chef's Training


Chef's Training Program Faculty

Susan BaldassanoSusan Baldassano, Chef’s Training Program Education Director and instructor, is a 1987 graduate of the Natural Gourmet Apprenticeship Program and a 2004 graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education culinary program.  Sue was co-chef of the Natural Gourmet's Home Food Service during 1988-1989 and head chef at Angelica Kitchen and Whole Foods Uptown. She is the founder and director of To Grandmother’s House We Go Cooking Tours and has been featured in National Geographic, The New York Times, The Daily News, The Washington Post, and Reuters. Sue has appeared in Molly O’Neil’s New York on PBS, NBC News and NPR.

Alexandra BorgiaAlexandra Borgia, full-time instructor, is a 1998 graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef’s Training Program as well as 1987 graduate of the New York Restaurant School. She has over 20 years of extensive culinary experience serving as roundsman, line cook, sous chef and head chef and consultant for well known restaurants both in New York City and on Long Island. In addition to being a full-time instructor in the Chef’s Training Program, Alexandra is a private chef, where she concentrates on clients’ specific health needs.

Lisa BoymannLisa Boymann, Chef’s Training Program Director of Faculty Administration and instructor, is a 1994 graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef’s Training Program. Surrounded and influenced by a family passionate about cooking, she began cooking meals at the age of 13. Prior to attending the Natural Gourmet, she was the owner of a wholesale baking business. Lisa has been a health-supportive chef catering to a wide range of private clients including women coping with cancer, women assigned to bed rest during pregnancy, and personal chef to Elie Tahari. She has catered privately, taught recreational cooking classes in the New York area, and was the head baker at a chain of New Jersey based health food stores.

Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of the Natural Gourmet Institutes and author of The Book of Whole Meals, Food and Healing [published in six languages], The Natural Gourmet (all from Ballantine Books), and  the upcoming "Whole Foods for Strong Bones" (New Harbinger Publications, February 2009). Her column, “Food and Your Health” has been appearing in NY Spirit Magazine since 1988. Dr Colbin has more than 30 years' experience cooking and teaching the effects of food on health, and offers private nutritional and wellness consultations through the Natural Gourmet Institute.  She was a recipient of the Avon 1993 Women of Enterprise Award, and earned a Ph.D. in wholistic nutrition from The Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2002.

Melanie FerreiraMelanie Ferreira, part-time instructor, was the founder of The Healthy Gourmet Cooking School and Director of Nova Institute Cooking School in Colorado. She has over twenty-three years experience teaching whole foods cooking and has been a contributing food writer for health publications including Natural Health and Macro News. She is also a nutritional consultant and private chef.

Archana Gogna C.N.S., M.S., M.B.AArchana Gogna C.N.S., M.S., M.B.A, part-time instructor, is a nutritionist with more than 10 years of experience in all phases of nutritional counseling. Her nutritional career began as a staff nutritionist at a multidisciplinary clinic where she worked with patients suffering from a range of chronic diseases. She subsequently joined InVite Health, a small but highly regarded chain of nutritional pharmacies in the New York City area, and currently serves as their Director of Nutrition. Archana has hosted numerous radio broadcasts for InVite Health.

Jill GusmanJill Gusman, part-time instructor and author of Vegetables from the Sea (Harper Collins), joined the Natural Gourmet Institute teaching staff in 1995. She brings over 20 years experience, commitment and passion to teaching about natural foods and health. Jill is also a food writer, lecturer, private chef and avid gardener. A graduate of the Kushi Institute, Jill combines macrobiotic philosophy and Ayurvedic knowledge into everyday cooking. She has appeared on Discovery Health, NPR programs across the country and interviewed by Gary Null. Most recently she created "Kids in the Kitchen" for Kidzone T.V. at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City.

Richard LaMaritaRichard LaMarita, part-time instructor, has taught at the Natural Gourmet Institute since 1994. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, having completed the Culinary Arts and Culinary Management Program, he has worked with numerous chefs in NYC, including Chef Floyd Cardoz at Tabla Restaurant. He has also been a private chef for the past 15 years, working for numerous and notable families in New York City. Richard has been a student and practitioner of Ayurveda for 25 years. He has studied with such accomplished masters as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Vaidya B. D. Triguna. He has led seminars on Ayurveda, including Ayurvedic Diet and Nutrition, Cooking, Yoga and Meditation throughout the U.S., and in Europe and Asia. Richard also teaches specialty classes and ethnic cooking at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health. He loves strong, well-balanced food, has a particular fondness for Indian cuisine and spices, and has a piece of dark chocolate everyday.

Jenny MatthauJenny Matthau, President of the Natural Gourmet Institute, and Director of the Chef’s Training Program, is a graduate of Annemarie Colbin’s Teacher's Training Program and her Apprenticeship Program (both 1985). She was Head Chef of the Natural Gourmet’s Friday Night Dinner Club during 1987-88 and was the first full-time instructor for their Chef’s Training Program. For several years, Jenny worked as a private chef in New York City for an eclectic clientele and has several
featured recipes in The Natural Gourmet cookbook,
The American Health Food Book (Penguin USA), and
Super Soy: the Miracle Bean
(Random House). For two years she wrote a bi-monthly column pertaining to food and health for Biodiversity magazine. A former member of The Healthy Heart Coalition at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Jenny was a guest instructor for a heart-healthy cooking class at the James Beard house.  She has been a speaker at numerous events/venues including NYU Medical Center, Saatchi and Saatchi, Robert A. Becker Inc. Euro RSCG, the 92nd Street Y, and most recently, The Gluten-Free Culinary Summit in Providence, Rhode Island.  Jenny has been featured on PBS’s Healing Quest, WBAI-FM, The New York Daily News and Alternative Medicine magazine.  She is responsible for curriculum development for the Chef’s Training Program, which includes the incorporation of current research/theories within the medical and scientific communities concerning food and its effect on health and disease.

Cheryl PerryCheryl Perry, part-time instructor, is a 1992 graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef’s Training Program. Ask Cheryl how she began her culinary career and she will tell you, “I've always loved to eat”.  Raised in her mothers and grandmother's kitchen, good eating began at an early age.  Cheryl has 18 years of progressive experience in culinary arts field including 11 years in culinary arts instruction, 10 years restaurant / catering ownership and management, and 2 years culinary-related not-for-profit management and consulting.  She was a Fine-Art major at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Elliott PragElliott Prag, full-time instructor, joined the Natural Gourmet Institute in 1999. Elliott holds a Bachelors Degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated the Natural Gourmet’s Chef’s Training Program in 1995. Thereafter he worked in numerous New York natural food restaurants before pursuing and developing his private chef business. In 1999, he expanded his business by founding Siegfried & Prag, Caterers. In 2003, Elliott traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria for two years, where he opened, as Executive Chef, Kibea Restaurant, the first health-supportive restaurant in The Balkans.  Elliott is a frequent contributor to Vegetarian Times.

Barbara RichBarbara Rich, full-time instructor, joined the Natural Gourmet Institute 2005 and has been a full-time instructor since 2008. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and a culinary degree from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, California. Before joining the Natural Gourmet Institute’s teaching staff, she worked at Cardwells Restaurant in St. Louis, Zuni Café in San Francisco, and The Lobster Club, Savoy, and Danal in New York City.

Jay WeinsteinJay Weinstein, part-time instructor, was trained at the Culinary Institute of America.  A New York based food writer, editor, culinary instructor, and cookbook author, his food articles and recipes have been featured in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Newsday, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, and numerous other publications. Jay’s latest book, The Ethical Gourmet (Random House/Broadway Books), focuses on ecologically sustainable fine foods. He is also author of The Everything Vegetarian Cookbook (Adams), and A Cup of Comfort Cookbook (Adams). He is a veteran of some of America’s top restaurant kitchens, including New York’s Le Bernardin and Orso, and Boston’s Jasper’s and The Four Seasons Hotel.

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