Sowela to offer evidence-based culinary medicine program

Published 1:34 pm Saturday, April 20, 2024

Special to the American Press

Sowela Technical Community College recently received approval from SACSCOC and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors to add a new Culinary Medicine Concentration to the Culinary Arts degree and a Technical Diploma in Culinary Medicine. Sowela is the first community college in Louisiana and second higher educational institution in the state to offer an evidence-based Culinary Medicine program.

“Food is a central focus in Louisiana, and the culture and tradition of Cajun cuisine is known throughout the world,” said Sowela Chancellor Neil Aspinwall. “However, the act of choosing and preparing food can have positive as well as negative effects on individual health. The addition of a Culinary Medicine concentration into our regular culinary program allows the College to help promote healthy lifestyles through the science of nutrition and food preparation.”

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Culinary Medicine is a growing field that blends the art of preparing and presenting food with the science of medicine to target disease processes or overall health. The emphasis is on hands-on participation, including meal preparation and cooking skills, in a kitchen setting while discussing ingredients related to health. Culinary Medicine is a form of preventative medicine or management of various diseases. The program considers food access, environment, and individual and cultural preferences while providing social support, meal preparation and health literacy.

“I am excited about the new Culinary Medicine program at SOWELA,” said Dr. Danette Null, LSUHSC Family Medicine Residency Program Director. “Food is medicine, and our health is directly linked to what we eat. The Culinary Medicine program will help doctors, nurses, dieticians, and other healthcare providers learn innovative ways to promote the health of their patients and family members. Having this program here in Lake Charles is a key component in moving SWLA towards a healthier mindset and way of life. I look forward to participating in the program. My hope is that we will be able to incorporate this knowledge into the training of our Family Medicine residency physicians.”

Culinary Medicine tracks allow culinarians and healthcare professionals to take modules for continuing education units (CEUS). These CEUs are available through an agreement with the Culinary Medicine Specialist Board.

Focusing health care on lifestyle and nutrition is critical to reducing the burden of chronic disease and healthcare costs. The goal of empowering individuals and families to eat healthier is far less costly than the medications and invasive procedures needed to manage chronic disease.

Culinary Medicine classes begin in Fall 2024. It is the third specialty option for the culinary degree, including Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts.

Sowela’s Culinary Arts program prepares students to work in service, production and baking areas of the food service industry. The curriculum follows American Culinary Federation guidelines for approved chef training, accreditation and National Restaurant Association Pro Management Certification. Students learn in the first-of-its-kind Culinary, Gaming and Hospitality Center, which opened in 2023 and houses new, state-of-the-art kitchens and baking lab.

For more information, visit or contact the One Stop Enrollment Office at (337) 421-6550 or Fall 2024 registration is currently open and scholarships and financial aid are available for those who qualify.