Linda Shiue, MD, is an internist in Adult and Family Medicine who believes that the best medicine is prevention. She has put this into practice by becoming a professionally trained chef and director of culinary medicine at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, California.
Tell Us About Your Career Path
I am both an internist in private practice and a professionally trained chef. After being in practice for 15 years, I took a sabbatical from patient care several years ago to attend culinary school. In 2016, I became the first Director of Culinary Medicine at Kaiser Permanente, in San Francisco, and also I founded Thrive Kitchen, a teaching kitchen for patients.
It has been extremely rewarding to actualize my desire to empower patients to attain their best health through my counseling them about what to eat, but even more so, giving them the tools to be successful by introducing cooking skills to them first-hand. I also teach other physicians to cook through wellness workshops, with the hope that they will be able to amplify my message that food is medicine.
I am about to launch my first cookbook—Spicebox Kitchen—to be published in March; this cookbook is a personal project that took more than two years to develop so I could bring my message to the public. I am hoping that my physician colleagues will use it both as a personal resource for their own enjoyment and wellness, as well as a resource to share with their patients who are asking, “Doctor, what should I eat?”
What Influenced Your Interest in Culinary Medicine?
My work in culinary medicine began as a lifelong love of cooking and food. I took the big leap to combine my avocation and my vocation, which has proven very rewarding.
The opportunity to combine both my commitment to clinical medicine and to cooking have been are central to keeping me focused given the tremendous amount of work it took to create both the teaching kitchen and the cookbook. Equally important, I can credit my professional development to the mentors and sponsors who came into my life at the right times—a varied group of mostly women—and encouraged me, introduced me to others, and supported my efforts.
At the beginning of my medical career, I was balancing having and raising children while continuing the process of learning to be the best physician I could be. When I began to pursue my interest in culinary medicine, it was very challenging to convince my leadership to support this focus in a new field. But ultimately, I found the right place among people who understood and were excited about my ideas to support my desire to establish a teaching kitchen for patients, even as I continued to raise my children.
As far as advice for other women in medicine—I say follow your passions, seek mentorship, and pay it forward by mentoring others.
Dr. Shiue graduated from Brown University, then pursued her internal medicine residency at the University of California/San Francisco.