Movember – Bringing Awareness to Men’s Health Issues | Natural Gourmet Institute

The Natural Gourmet Institute’s health-supportive, plant-based career curriculum is now exclusively offered at the Institute of Culinary Education. Learn more about career training in Health-Supportive Culinary Arts at the new Natural Gourmet Center at ICE. Click here

Recreational classes, certificate programs, and Friday Night Dinners will continue through March 2019 at NGI’s Flatiron location. We have a lot of exciting programs scheduled, which are sure to sell out! We look forward to having the NGI community be a part of the final programs on 21st Street.

Movember – Bringing Awareness to Men’s Health Issues

Posted November 8, 2018

Movember is an annual month-long event run by the Movember Foundation where men grow mustaches to help bring awareness to men’s health issues. Several male alumni of NGI’s Chef’s Training Program are helping bridge the gap between food and health in various industries.


Photos from left to right: Dustin Harder, Colin Zhu, Ilson Goncalves

Dustin Harder – Dustin graduated from NGI’s Chef’s Training Program in the spring of 2014 and hit the ground running. He is an author and a personal chef, as well as the host and creator of the original series The Vegan Roadie, a plant-based version of the popular Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Dustin’s recent cookbook, The Simply Vegan Cookbook and new season of The Vegan Roadie, “Season 3: Ciao Italia!” were released in February 2018. When not on the road filming Dustin works in recipe development with restaurants around the United States and with personal clients in NYC.

Health and Wellness is all about showing up. If I’m paying attention to my mind and body, how I treat it and what goes into it, showing up for myself at the gym and when I create my meals, I know I can trust myself to show up in other areas of my life making me 1% better day by day. Health and wellness is not a race, it’s a personal journey. It starts by respecting where you are on your own personal journey and committing to show up for yourself and try and better every day, in turn, making you better for your relationships, career and life in general.

Colin Zhu – Before attending the Chef’s Training Program, Colin studied osteopathic medicine in West Virginia and trained in Family Practice in New Jersey and Connecticut. He also completed the health-coaching program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. His extensive education combined with his life experiences were his inspiration to create TheChefDoc, sharing his knowledge through videos, public speaking engagements, lifestyle coaching, and his book, Thrive Medicine: How to Cultivate Your Desires and Elevate Your Life.

This is something not really talked about, but I believe a man’s self-worth comes when he is completely honest and vulnerable with himself. The true measure of a man can be summed up in four words…how he treats others. This can only happen when there is enough self-love and kindness he gives to himself. Then, and only then, can love and kindness be manifested to others.

Ilson Goncalves – Ilson graduated from the Chef’s Training Program in 2017. He is the Executive Chef and Owner of Samba in Montclair, New Jersey, which he opened in 2010. Samba started as a small restaurant where Ilson offered a few Brazilian dishes as specials; today, its menu is a reflection of the homestyle cooking he grew up eating in his native Southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina where his mom operated a popular restaurant. He recently shared the recipes for customer favorites at his restaurant in his cookbook, The Samba Montclair Cookbook.

I loved my education at NGI because it helped me expand my philosophy of food as medicine. I grew up in Brazil eating foods fresh from local farms, and I wanted to recreate those tastes and that style of eating in my restaurant, Samba Montclair, and through my cookbook. I believe that health is made in the kitchen, not in the gym — it’s what I practice myself and what I share with my guests. I also think it’s healthy to take the guilt out of eating and focus on the pleasure and nourishment of good quality food made with love, like a masterfully created piece of chocolate cake made by a friend, or an exceptional plate of mac and cheese from a gourmet restaurant. Food is incredible. Food is often our point of entry into other cultures. It’s often the thing that brings our families together, around a table and sharing our lives. Food is a skill. It’s an art. Food is life.