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Officially, Geremy Capone is a qualified chef, but he prefers to go by his unofficial UHN title—Culinary and Wellness Specialist—which better represents the approach to his unusual role at ELLICSR: Health, Wellness, and Cancer Survivorship Centre, in TGH.
Geremy teaches culinary classes to cancer survivors at the centre. The response has been overwhelmingly positive; meetings have grown to between 40 and 50 participants. For Geremy, it's encouraging both professionally and emotionally.
A kinesiology degree and culinary arts training from George Brown College have given him a unique approach to using food as a complement to medical treatment..
"I pursued Kinesiology because I've always had an interest in nutrition and health. Once I graduated I felt that I deserved to feed my true passion which was food and cooking," he says. "It may have seemed like a 360 move and initially it was purely for pleasure, but I've always strongly believed in the link between food and health."
Geremy first got involved with ELLICSR through the BRUNCH (Building Recipes and Understanding Nutrition for Cancer-survivor Health) Program, during a student internship. Recognizing the unique opportunity ELLISCR offered him to combine both his passions he has since become a key member of the team.
"I want people to have a relationship with their ingredients and to know what they are cooking with," he says. "I also want to challenge the misperception that healthy eating is less tasty."
Central to Geremy's holistic approach to nutritional education is the notion that cooking should not be intimidating, but fit easily into patient's already disrupted lives. Health is not simply the absence of disease. Eating well gives patients strength to fight diseases like cancer and to better cope on the road to recovery, he believes. "We want to empower patients and survivors to self-manage their health."
Geremy works closely with UHN dieticians and Patient Education to create the recipes for instructional demos. Along with Ashley Eaton, an ELLICSR volunteer, he coaches learners with simple tips on eating seasonally, shopping at farmer's markets, and cooking from scratch whenever possible.
- Sarah Dawson
Green Garlic and Chive Soup
Green garlic is the young bulbs that are harvested before the full cloves develop. The garlic flavour is mild but without the usual heat. Look for garlic and chives available now at most farmers markets. The long chives with purple flowers are full of flavour and the flowers can be used as well.