As a nutrition scientist and health expert, I spend most of my time researching diet, obesity, and chronic diseases; studying how people eat; and educating students and the public about a wide range of contemporary food issues. Weaving together traditional nutrition science, behavioral science, and environmental science, I teach using a nutrition ecology paradigm highlighting key topics in food production and public health “from farm to fork,” the subject of my current classes at Harvard and Boston Universities. I love working at the intersection of academia, government, and industry and have consulted for a large range of organizations and currently serve on the Science Advisory Board of Virgin Pulse. Click here for more information about my scientific activities, or download my complete CV for more details.
Food Personality: Cooking in the Kitchen, the PK Way
Science makes the world go ’round—but art makes the ride more enjoyable. My creative pursuits span the culinary and performing arts, kitchen to stage. We had a huge garden in my backyard when I was a kid, and I developed cooking and baking skills at my mother’s side. I started working in an Irish pub as a teenager and gained an appreciation for fine dining after a decade in the business. I’ve worked for many excellent restaurants and caterers and held a job as one of the main cooks in a small vegetarian café while in college. I’ve spent my life cooking and entertaining, from intimate dinner parties with wine-paired courses to lavish cocktail parties with signature cocktails. Whatever’s on the menu, my dishes feature global flavors and spices and make plants the star of the plate.
When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m at the theater. After spending many years performing onstage—not professionally, though when I was a little girl I dreamt of being a Broadway star—I founded a Boston-based community theatre company. The Longwood Players produces three shows annually and its mission is to bring together individuals from all walks of life to provide an artistic outlet through the development of dramatic and musical works of art. I began this organization when I was a student at Harvard, and it grew into one of Boston’s preeminent nonprofit theater companies, now in its eighteenth season. (I’m now President Emeritus and Founder.) Although I grew up acting, singing, and dancing, I don’t spend too much time onstage these days. Instead, I save my performances for the kitchen and my online cooking channel and, increasingly, television, where my role as a food personality helps people approach nutrition in a fun and accessible (and delicious!) way. In 2014, I made my primetime debut on ABC’s The Taste (visit my news and events page for more details on that) as one of America’s “best undiscovered cooks” showcasing globally inspired, plant-based cuisine to show the world that healthy can still be delicious.
More About Me: Fitness Enthusiast and Wanderlust
RUNNING & YOGA & MEDITATION
Meditation is part of my daily life and I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for 6 years for health and wellbeing. Participating in a yoga retreat is a sublime gift I give myself every now and again, and I’ve done so in Massachusetts (Berkshires and Martha’s Vineyard), New York, and Thailand; India is next on my list.
It probably won’t come as too much of a surprise that I also like to keep my endorphins up and my weight down by staying active. II wouldn’t be much of a role model if I didn’t practice what I preach!) I was even a certified fitness instructor while a struggling grad student to help me pay the bills while getting free gym memberships. Today, my main fitness endeavors are walking, yoga, Pilates, and running. I ran the Boston Marathon in 2010 and 2013 (as a time-qualified runner); the Maine marathon in 2011 (3:42:30, my personal record and a Boston qualifier); the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in 2014; and the Chicago Marathon in 2015. Be warned: Marathons are addictive (in a mostly healthy way).
LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST & EXPLORING THE WORLD
Other passions of mine include traveling, reading, and music, as well as spending time with my husband, friends, and family. We just got a dog, too, a black lab we named K’Ehleyr (who out there knows where that name is from?); she brings immense joy and exuberance to our lives! I also spend a lot of time shopping at local farmers markets around Boston and Cambridge, a big theme on my blog. I’ve been to many cities and towns throughout the US, and the countries I’ve visited thus far include: Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, St. Martin, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and Turkey. I was born in Canada; live in the United States; and my most recent trip was to Spain. You can bet I’m already planning my next adventure…
And I dream about traveling to space.
For more about me, you can download a one-pager bio or my academic CV