Cooking for Life

Leslie Yuen ’22 prepares a treat for seniors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Aging Resource Center. Photo by Kata Sasvari

Geisel School of Medicine students Britney Petrina ’22, Landis Walsh ’22, and Leslie Yuen ’22 are encouraging healthy habits one recipe at a time. They’re leading a monthly Cooking for Life class at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Aging Resource Center to educate seniors through interactive culinary demonstrations. 

“We recognize we’re not teaching these folks how to cook. They’re people who’ve supported themselves for years,” Walsh says. “But in nutrition, new studies come out all the time. We’re using our medical education to share dietary recommendations in fun, creative ways.” 

A recent session was Italian-themed, featuring veggie-packed Tuscan bean soup, sweet potato gnocchi, and low-fat Bolognese. 

“There’s a misconception that eating healthy means eating boring dishes,” says Yuen. “But it’s fun to teach people new ways to eat healthy that are enjoyable, sustainable, and easy to do.” 

The trio draws inspiration from their professors, who stress that exceptional physicians don’t just gather knowledge—they share it. 

“For us, cooking is a passion, and our passion connects us with the people we’re teaching,” Walsh says. “We really want to help them achieve their best selves.”

By Kerry Benson