Two doctors, Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD, and David Lieberman, MD, wearing maroon aprons and David Sullivan, executive chef at the Hacienda at the River retirement community, agog as he torches the top of ratatouille dish prepared for surrounding residents as a gluten-free option for diets of those suffering from celiac disease.
A festive group of residents at the Hacienda at the River retirement community and family members were feted to a fresh meal of ratatouille with three different flavorful sauces served over rice, noodles and quinoa on June 10 at the first public Cookin’ Docs/Docs in the Kitchen event to demonstrate eating healthy doesn’t have to mean bland diets.
The Saturday evening event, brainchild of Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD, a Regents Professor, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Medicine, underscored that to everyone’s delight.
This includes David Sullivan, Hacienda at the River executive chef, who partnered with David Lieberman, MD, in preparing the demonstration meal – a signature dish for those who suffer from celiac disease and must eat gluten-free fare or risk triggering an immune reaction in their small intestine due to the protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
Dr. Lieberman, who joined the Division of General Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and PalliativeMedicine (GGP) in 2019, in a previous life before medical school worked as a chef and cookbook author and hosted a Food Network series, “Good Deal with Dave Lieberman.”
They were joined by Mindy Fain, MD, GGP Division chief and co-director of the UArizona Center on Aging, and Kanwal Bains, MD, CNSC, a hospitalist in the Division of Inpatient Medicine who did a fellowship in nutrition at Harvard and plans to apply for GI fellowship here.
After a short talk by Dr. Merchant, each took turns answering questions from a very engaged audience. Dr. Bains noted that not everything that’s labeled gluten-free is actually gluten-free due to fillers and other side ingredients. Chef Sullivan underscored that in describing how some gluten-content ingredients slip into the food supply. The Celiac Disease Foundation offers a few tips for consumers to ensure what they’re eating is indeed gluten-free, as does the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
KOLD News13, KMSB Fox 11 and KGUN9 TV aired reports on the nightly news about the culinary demonstration.
Dr. Merchant said she’d like to hold the Cookin’ Docs events quarterly with different chefs and covering different medical conditions and how to add spice to the menu so as to provide more variety in people’s diets. That’s true, she said, whether they’re on low-salt diets due to high blood pressure, low cholesterol due to a heart condition, low-fat/low-sugar due to diabetes, plant-based diets for kidney disease, etc.
At $100 per person ($70 of which is a tax-free donation), the Cookin’ Docs culinary experience serves as a fundraising tool for the Gastroenterology Division, she added.
Below are some photos from the event. For a broader selection, visit the Department of Medicine’s flickr webpage here. See links to this and other image collections at the department's Photo Galleries webpage.
Mouseover the images for captions and click on them to enlarge.
NOTE: For information on future Cookin’ Docs events – whether to attend, host or support, please contact Katherine Sepulveda (firstname.lastname@example.org, 520-626-3334) or Carmen Mendoza (email@example.com, 520-626-6119) in the Division of Gastorenterology and Hepatology.
“Hacienda at the River to Host June 10 ‘Cookin’ Docs’ Reboot Event” | Posted May 12, 2023
“‘Cookin’ Docs’ Video Series Launched by GI Division for Patient Dietary Needs” | Posted April 26, 2019