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Public ClassesChef's Training


Chef's Training Program Faculty

Susan BaldassanoSusan Baldassano, Director of Chef’s Training Program and Student Affairs, is currently a member of the Executive Board at the NGI. She a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education and was Head Chef at Angelica kitchen in NYC. Presently she is the President of Amelia Appeal; an organization that assists families dealing with pediatric cancer. She is also on the advisory board for Anna’s Breads and Smith Retreats both organizations founded by graduates of NGI. She is a long standing member of the Park Slope Coop and represents NGI there every month with a cooking demonstration that involves our students and graduates. She is the founder of “To Grandmother’s House We Go Cooking Tours” and, over a 20 year period, led tours to New York City, Oaxaca, Mexico, Sicily, Italy, and Istanbul, Turkey. Her tours have been featured in National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times, Molly O’Neil’s New York on PBS News, and NPR.

Celine BeitchmanCeline Beitchman, full-time instructor, private-chef, nutrition counselor, and avid globetrotter, brings over 20 years of professional experience to the Chef’s Training Program. Celine earned her BA from Hunter College before taking a culinary leap across the Atlantic to apprentice in the kitchen of Le Dome in Paris. Off the stove she has run operations for retail food companies, food styled for TV and film, and managed catered events for from 2 to 10,000 people. An ardent student of the vine, she holds an Advanced Certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Her relationship with the Natural Gourmet goes back to 1987 when she interned there as a high school student. In 2006 she returned as an instructor, and in 2008 she completed Annemarie Colbin’s Food Therapy program. Celine is committed to promoting sustainable health supportive food, she's passionate about whole foods cooking and loves training and encouraging the next generation of chefs

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, Director of the Chef’s Training Program and Faculty Supervision, and member of the Executive Board, is a 1994 graduate of The NGI Chef’s Training Program. Surrounded and influenced by a family passionate about cooking, she began cooking family meals at the age of 13. Prior to attending the Natural Gourmet, she worked in a number of kitchens and was the owner of a wholesale baking business. Lisa has been a health-supportive, chef catering to a wide range of clientele including private clients coping with illness to parties and retreats promoting health and wellness. She has taught recreational cooking classes in the New York area and was the head baker at a chain of New Jersey based health food stores. Lisa joined the teaching staff in 1996 and began her administrative role in 2001. She is crazy about her vegetable garden, composting, and earthworms, and is a proponent for better school food selection and education in her son’s school district.

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, brings 25 years of teaching experience, passion and commitment to sharing her love of the relationship between food and health. She is a frequent consultant for health supportive web sites, food writer, lecturer and private chef. While a graduate of The Kushi Institute, Jill also brings a unique approach to teaching by combining her other studies of health including Ayurveda, Herbal and Energy Medicines. She has appeared on Discovery Health, NPR programs across the country and has taught at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan. Jill created Kids in the Kitchen for Kidzone T.V. at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and has taught children’s cooking classes in New York City public schools for two decades. Jill is also a faculty member at Maryland University of Integrative Health. She relishes spending time in the great outdoors, growing vegetables, and wild weed foraging.

Jill GusmanMichaela Hayes is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and founder of Crock & Jar, a preservation based company with a mission to increase the amount of local food we buy in season and to preserve it so we can eat locally year round. Crock & Jar’s signature line of fermented foods is available in specialty stores and farmers’ markets in NYC. Michaela began her quest for preserving food as a Just Food trainer and developed the pickling station during her tenure at Gramercy Tavern. Her website is

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.

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 and Internship Coordinator. Barbara joined the Natural Gourmet Institute in 2005, has been a full-time instructor since 2008, and has overseen the Internship Program since 2011. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and a culinary degree from the California Culinary Academy. Barbara was previously an instructor at the Art Institute of New York, and has worked at such restaurants as, Zuni Café in San Francisco, CA, Savoy and Danal, both in New York City. She is also an avid endurance athlete, competing in half ironman’s and ultra-running.

Barbara RichLaura Rosenberg MS, RD, CDN, part-time instructor, is a Registered Dietitian with over 25 years of experience in the field of nutrition including clinical nutrition, individual and group counseling, cooking instruction and nutrition education. She has a Masters degree from New York University, is a Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist in New York State and graduated from the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef’s Training Program in 2008. She is currently president of Green Napkin Nutrition, a nutrition and culinary education company helping people bridge the gap between nutrition knowledge and healthy eating, translating current science based nutrition to the plate. She is also Adjunct Professor at Suffolk County Community College where she enjoys teaching dietetic technician students clinical field experience. .

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.

Jay WeinsteinHideyo Yamada, part-time instructor, is a 2012 graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute's Chef Training Program. Prior to attending the NGI, she trained as a sushi chef in Japan and worked as a Japanese / pastry chef at Kai restaurant, which was famous for serving a high-end Japanese kaiseki course. Hideyo has also worked at catering companies and other restaurants throughout New York City. After graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, in 2009, as a health counselor, her interest in combining the healthy elements of vegan, gluten-free, and modern Japanese cooking blossomed. As a private chef her goal is to restore her clients’ well being and to enhance their energy.

The Program


You’re invited to learn more about our unique Chef’s Training Program.

Come to our:
Tuesday, October 8 at 6:00 pm

• Meet our Faculty

• Enjoy a Cooking Demo by one of our Chef Instructors

• Participate in our Raffle to win your very own NGI Chef's Knife

212-645-5170 ext. 109


We Accept the


We offer $5,000 to past and
current members of the US Military.
Contact admissions for details

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