Remembering Annemarie Colbin




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Founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute

Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D. was a visionary – an industry leader in the conversation of “food as medicine” long before the rest of the world caught on. She founded Natural Gourmet Institute in her Upper West Side apartment, teaching health-supportive culinary techniques to just half a dozen students. Today, NGI is the leader in health-supportive culinary education, having graduated over 2,600 chefs from over 45 countries to date. In addition to founding the Natural Gourmet Institute, she authored many books, including The Book of Whole Meals, Food and Healing, The Natural Gourmet, and The Whole Food Guide to Strong Bones.

Though Dr. Colbin is greatly missed, NGI’s philosophy continues to be grounded in her Seven Principles of Food Selection, which state that food should be: seasonal, local, whole, traditional, balanced, fresh and delicious. Her teachings and beliefs continue to empower food professionals and enthusiasts to be leaders in the conversation of food and health.

We will always remember Dr. Colbin as a leader, a teacher, a mother, a friend, and a role model for generations of change agents. Her legacy will live on through the work of everyone whose path she inspired.

I’m forever grateful that Annemarie founded Natural Gourmet Institute because there was nothing like it when I attended the Chef’s Training Program in 1992. Annemarie was a true pioneer in the health field. She taught us that what we eat significantly affects our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. No other culinary school connects food and healing. Annemarie was such an inspiration with her wonderful sense of humor and heart full of compassion. She always greeted me with a warm smile and a hug, and knew exactly how to help guide me with stories from her own experiences.

— Lisa Stimmer

Thank you Dr. Colbin for your warmth and inspiration in helping me understand the value of whole food. You have been a distant mentor that has and will continue to motivate me in my managing a health food store in Sweden.

— Dudley Slinger

Annemarie was a constant mentor in my life, ever since I met her when I was ten years old at my first cooking class where she wooed me with veggie pizza on mimeographed handouts! I serendipitously made my way back to NGI, graduated the Chef’s Training Program, met my husband sitting side-by-side in class, and built a delicious life based on Annemarie’s pioneering wisdom.

— Rachel Herman

I will always remember picking up a copy of The Natural Gourmet cookbook at The Village Green Bookstore in Rochester, NY in 1989. This book was my saving grace. I had no idea how to cook, knew food was the answer to my health concerns, and had been searching for someone to spell it out to me. Annemarie empowered me in my own journey – both personally and professionally. Because of her, I healed myself and my family. Because of her, I discovered my own passion for delicious healing foods and sharing that with others. I am eternally grateful for the movement that she started.

— Terry Walters

In the early ’70s, I was just starting down the path of healthy eating. I had only recently gotten my own place and had no idea what I was doing in the kitchen. She taught me how to stand, how to wield a knife, how simple wholesome ingredients could make delicious meals, and how the very act of cutting and cooking could be meditation.

— Nancy Braswell

I studied with Annemarie as a teen in the late ’80s, as part of a high school internship program. I assisted one or two classes per week for a term, and asked to stay on. She allowed me to, so I stayed for the next 18 months, assisting for nearly all of her classes. She was an incredible mentor – talented, firm, witty, caring.

— Miranda Norris

I am grateful to have encountered Annemarie Colbin’s Food and Healing at a time when I was trying to understand why my students in an urban middle school were experiencing the devastating impact of a processed foods diet. Grateful to have had the opportunity to share a meal with Annemarie during a dynamite Friday night dinner at NGI. And grateful to know she has touched countless lives and inspired generations of food lovers committed to cooking for a healthier future.

— Adam Aronovitz

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