SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Dr. Shiue has been a primary care doctor since she finished her internal medicine residency at UCSF in 2001, but even before that, she has always loved food. How did she get here? Her culinary education began long before she became a doctor, when she learned to make quiche in an early French class when she was only seven. That sparked a lifetime of curiosity of the people and cultures behind different cuisines.
Since that first class, she has tried to learn cooking from the locals whenever she’s traveled abroad, including in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Mexico, Seychelles, Paris and Tuscany. Informally, she has learned traditional Taiwanese family recipes by cooking with her mother and has been taught Trinidadian cooking by her husband’s family. Dr. Shiue shared many of these recipes on a blog she began in 2009, Spiceboxtravels.com and have had her food writing published widely across America.
The hobby became part of her career in 2012, when she attended a continuing medical education course at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, called Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives, which is offered by the Harvard School of Public Health. This is a unique conference which aims to teach both nutrition and culinary skills to medical professionals. It was at this meeting that she realized that she not only could, but should, integrate her love and knowledge of food and cooking with her primary care practice.
All the chronic diseases we face—heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer and more—are directly related to the food we eat, and so it makes sense to prevent or treat these diseases starting at the most basic level—through the food we eat. Dr. Shiue thinks of cooking education as the missing link—we might give nutrition advice to patients or even hand out recipes, but for patients who do not know how to cook, that’s not enough. They need to know how to cook to improve their health.
So shortly after that conference, she began to teach healthy cooking classes to patients in my previous practice on the Peninsula and to the community, and found that she really enjoyed it and was able to inspire people to make healthy lifestyle changes to improve their health and wellbeing. She continued to teach classes in various community sites, but felt she could make the most impact by holding classes onsite where she practiced medicine. When Kaiser Permanente San Francisco began construction in Mission Bay, which is close to her home, a Kaiser friend and colleague suggested she take a look. Dr. Shiue had long admired Kaiser’s emphasis on prevention, and had been impressed by its innovations in introducing onsite farmers markets. So she talked to Dr. Raymond Liu, who was then Chief of Patient Health Education, as well as former Chief of Medicine Dr. Gene Lau and Physician in Chief Dr. Maria Ansari about her iidea of building a teaching kitchen at Kaiser Permanente. They all immediately understood and appreciated the idea of teaching patients how to cook as another tool in preventive medicine.
So that began this journey to where she is today, as Director of Culinary Medicine at KPSF. After she decided to transition over to Kaiser, she wanted to solidify her knowledge in nutrition and cooking. So she completed a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell and also graduated from the professional culinary certificate program at San Francisco Cooking School. As part of her culinary education, she had the amazing opportunity to extern (like intern) for two months at the Michelin-starred kitchen at Mourad, where she learned more about cooking with spices, which have many health benefits.
Since starting at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco in September, Dr. Shiue has been working together with the department of Health Education to bring hands-on cooking classes to Mission Bay known as the Thrive Kitchen. Since January 2017, she has been teaching monthly hands-on cooking classes to patients and the community, which are open to everyone. These small classes feature a different menu of globally-inspired, seasonal cuisine each month and we’ll discuss the nutritional benefits while we share our meal together. Dr. Shiue thinks of these classes as a way to empower patients to take their health into their own hands and to have a positive association with the place where they get their medical care.
We met recently at the Thrive Kitchen and cooked a dish together and also talked up healthy cooking and a healthier way for all.
Crispy, Crunchy Winter Quinoa
And Cauliflower Rice Salad With Pickled Currants
Recipe inspired by Crispy Brown Rice Kabbouleh, In Everything I Want To Eat, Jessica Koslow, Abrams Books, 2016
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 tablespoons dried currants
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups cooked quinoa, multicolor preferred (from 1 cup raw cooked in 2 cups water)
- 1 tsp fine Kosher salt, adjust to taste
- 3-4 Tbsp olive oil, for frying quinoa
- 11/2 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower florets
- 2 cups curly kale, stems removed, chopped
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Italian parsley or mint leaves, chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper or 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons sumac (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine currants and vinegar in a small bowl; let sit at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Cook quinoa in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender and water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then spread out on a baking sheet to cool. Reserve 1 cup to dry completely on paper towels.
Meanwhile, pulse cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Add chopped kale.
Warm about 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet, then add the cup of reserved, cooled quinoa and fry on medium high heat until crispy, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Add to the cauliflower and kale the cooled cooked quinoa, currants with their liquid, cucumber, scallion, parsley or mint, olive oil, Aleppo pepper, and sumac, if using; toss to combine and season with salt, black pepper, and more vinegar, if desired. Scatter with crisped quinoa before serving.