Course Syllabus


Culinary Psychology:

Multidisciplinary Approach to Our Relationship

with Food and Eating

 PSYC E-1475


Spring Term 2021



Elizabeth Frates, MD. Assistant Clinical Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School Email: 

Stelios Kiosses, MS. Psychotherapist and Lead Psychologist Edison Education and Research Collaborator Computational Psychopathology Research Group, University of Oxford Email:

Neil Rippington, MA. SFHEA. Education Consultant, Chef and Former Dean of the College of Food and Hospitality Management, University College Birmingham, UK Email:

Guest Speakers:

Anna Marmodoro, PhD. Professor of Philosophy, Chair of Metaphysics, Durham University. Research Fellow of Corpus Christi College and Associate Member of the Philosophy Faculty, University of Oxford. Email:

Andreas Antona, Restaurateur, Chef, Consultant, and Author.   Email: Website:

Georgianna Hiliadaki 
Best Female Chef in Greece | The Best Chef Awards 2017 | 4th Best Chef in the World | The Best Chef Awards 2017 | 2 Michelin Stars at Funky Gourmet | Michelin Guide 2014-2018
Instagram page: @georgianna_hiliadaki


Course website: 

Class: Online Live Web-conference - Thursdays 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST

(Classes are held from January 28th – May 15th 2021, No class on March 18th – Spring Break)

Room:  Lectures Live on-line

Sections: On-line via Zoom meeting, will be recorded

Required Reading:  (all the links to these books and other optional literature can be found on the Home page)

The Lifestyle Medicine Handbook: An Introduction to the Power of Healthy Habits, 2nd Ed. Authors:  Beth Frates, MD Jonathan P. Bonnet, MD, Richard Joseph, MD, James A. Peterson, PhD, 2020 (ISBN 9781606795149)

The Art of Flavour: Practices and Principles for Creating Delicious Food, Authors: Patterson, D. and Aftel, M, 2018. London: Robinson (ISBN 9781472141477)

Food: A Culinary History (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism) - Jean-Louis Flandrin (Editor), Massimo Montanari (Editor), Albert Sonnenfeld (Translator), 1999 Columbia University Press; (ISBN 9780231544092)

Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters  Author: Gordon Shepherd, 2011Columbia University Press (ISBN 9780231530316)

Various scientific articles will be provided to you in reading assignments

Teaching Assistants: Irena Matanovic, William Sullivan


 Course Description

Multidisciplinary education, in which health professionals and students from a variety of fields learn together, has been shown to increase their ability to counsel patients/clients more effectively. A promoted approach is the evidence-based field of culinary psychology, which is the blend of the art of food with the science of medicine and psychology. Unfortunately, there is a significant gap in the necessary mental health knowledge and psychological skills required for health professionals to effectively counsel patients on lifestyle changes. Because of this, there is a call for innovative ways of educating health professionals on mental health and nutrition and in particular how real-world applications of nutritional care and psychology are implemented. This multidisciplinary need between nutrition and psychology gave birth to the discipline of Culinary Psychology.

This course teaches the basics of the psychology of eating and cooking, with an emphasis on how our minds have an impact on our taste and appetite for food. Healthy thinking and lifestyle patterns are an integral part of nutrition. Exercise, sleep, friendships, attitude, and alcohol have a significant impact on what food we consume and when we consume it. We explore the importance of our senses for the perception and enjoyment of food. We review cultural and historical aspects of food such as aphrodisiacs, processed foods, and the use of cutlery. Thus we define culinary psychology as:

“Culinary Psychology is a multidisciplinary approach to the understanding and interpretation of food (metaphysics) through experiential (epistemology) and sensory perceptions (aesthetics).” (Stelios Kiosses, 2020) 

Course Aims and Learning Objectives

  • Develop an understanding of core psychological, culinary, historical, and lifestyle medicine research around self and our relationship with food.
  • Apply theories and research findings toward our daily lives
  • Gain proficiency in reviewing scientific publications on culinary and food-related articles with an emphasis on historical and psychological aspects.


Assignments are outlined in the following table.

Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students


Class Participation                               10%

Discussion Board Posting                   20%

Scenario Analysis                                 20%

Article Review                                      20%

Course Project/Lifestyle Project        30%


Class Participation                            10%

Discussion Board Posting                20%

Scenario Analysis                              20%

Article Review                                   20%

Course Project/Lifestyle Project     30%

Grading expectations:

Although assignments will be similar for undergraduate and graduate students, graduate students will be expected to show more advanced thinking, analysis, and expression skills.


Minimum Expectations



·       Complete all readings and watch all videos

·       Attend and participate actively in 90%+ of the classes

·       Complete 100% of the homework

·       Achieve 90%+ average on all work and assessments



·       Complete 90% of the readings and watch videos

·       Attend and participate actively in 80%+ of the classes

·       Complete 90% of the homework

·       Achieve 80%+ average on all work and assessments



·       Complete 80% of the readings and watch all videos

·       Attend and participate actively in 70%+ of the classes

·       Complete 80% of the homework

·       Achieve 70%+ average on all work and assessments



·       Complete 60% of the readings and watch all videos

·       Attend and participate actively in 60%+ of the classes

·       Complete 60% of the homework

·       Achieve 60%+ average on all work and assessments

Below 60% is an “F”


 A and A–: Earned by work whose superior quality indicates a full mastery of the subject, and in the case of A, work of extraordinary distinction. There is no grade of A+

B+, B, and B–: Earned by work that indicates a strong comprehension of the course material, a good command of the skills needed to work with the course materials, and the student’s full engagement with the course requirements and activities.

C+, C, and C–: Earned by work that indicates an adequate and satisfactory comprehension of the course material and the skills needed to work with the course materials, and that indicates that the student has met the basic requirements for completing assigned work and participating in-class activities.

D+, D, and D–: Earned by work that is unsatisfactory but that indicates some minimal command of the course materials and some minimal participation in-class activities that are worthy of course credit.

E: Earned by work that is unsatisfactory and unworthy of course credit. This grade may also be assigned to students who do not submit required work in courses from which they have not officially withdrawn by the withdrawal deadline. Zero or E grades are assigned to students for missing work. These grades are included in the calculation of the final grade.


Expectations and Policies

Academic Integrity

 You are responsible for understanding Harvard Extension School policies on academic integrity ( and how to use sources responsibly. Stated most broadly, academic integrity means that all course work submitted, whether a draft or a final version of a paper, project, take-home exam, online exam, computer program, oral presentation, or lab report, must be your own words and ideas, or the sources must be clearly acknowledged. The potential outcomes for violations of academic integrity are serious and ordinarily include all of the following: required withdrawal (RQ), which means a failing grade in the course (with no refund), the suspension of registration privileges, and a notation on your transcript.

Using sources responsibly ( is an essential part of your Harvard education. We provide additional information about our expectations regarding academic integrity on our website. We invite you to review that information and to check your understanding of academic citation rules by completing two free online 15-minute tutorials that are also available on our site. The tutorials are anonymous open-learning tools.


Accommodations for students with disabilities

Harvard Extension School is committed to providing an inclusive, accessible academic community for students with disabilities and chronic health conditions. The Accessibility Services Office (ASO) ( offers accommodations and supports to students with documented disabilities. If you have a need for accommodations or adjustments in your course, please contact the Accessibility Services Office by email at or by phone at 617-998-9640.  


 Attendance - Class & Sections Participation:

Attendance: Please read the required materials related to that day's lecture before attending the class so you can participate in the meaningful class discussion. Since HES doesn't allow recording of these lectures you will have to attend lectures at the time they are happening live and participate in activities during the lecture in order to earn your participation grade. This class will count toward your on-campus requirement courses so your attendance at Live Zoom lectures is necessary. If you run occasionally into some obstacles that prevent you to attend a lecture please e-mail your head TA (Irena Matanovic) as soon as you become aware of the problem.

Sections: There will be weekly sections on-line via the Zoom meeting.  If you want to discuss more on topics covered during the week or ask about upcoming assignments attending sections' live meetings will enable you to do that. Sections will be taped and it is highly recommended that you viewed them, as material presented in sections will be very beneficial to complete your assignments properly.


Course Outline and Schedule  



January 28

Professor Beth Frates introducing Culinary Psychology, Stelios Kiosses, Neil Rippington, and guest speakers

Lecture 1-1: Stelios Kiosses

Introduction to Culinary Psychology

An introduction to Culinary Psychology and a chronological depiction of events throughout history that have a direct or indirect influence on food, wine, and related topics (Including the Philosophy of the Human Diet).

 “Food is such a powerful dimension of our consciousness as living things, to omit it from the study of human behavior would be egregious.” (Distinguished anthropologist Sidney Mintz)

Lecture 1-2: Beth Frates

Introduction to Lifestyle Medicine



February 4

Lecture 2-1: Stelios Kiosses

Neurogastronomy: The Study of How the Brain Processes Sensory Information Relating to Flavor.

Neurogastronomy is a new science of how our brains ‘taste’ food, through our senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and even sound as you eat your food or making a connection with your cutlery or hands.

Neurogastronomy can be harnessed to help food taste better and improve portion control. We will cover:

  • Introduction to Neurogastronomy
  • From the oven to the brain or what exactly is taste?
  • Why are we the only species on the planet that prepares a meal?
  • The art of flavor.
  • How the mouth fools the brain.

Lecture 2-2: Neil Rippington

Practical Neurogastronomy

This session will put our senses to the test and experiment on how our senses interconnect with aspects of our DNA.

We will explore how:

  • Chefs are using sensory science to create new experiences.
  • Nostalgia can play a part in our enjoyment of food.
  • We distinguish the difference between taste and flavor.
  • Science and technology is being used to develop contemporary dishes and healthier foods

February 11

Lecture 3-1: Stelios Kiosses

Do Food Aphrodisiacs Really Work? The Psychology of Sex and Food.

“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” — Buddha

“The old are kind. The young are hot. Love may be blind. Desire is not.” — Leonard Cohen

We are living in a time where we learn how to truly nourish ourselves with food and have a deeper understanding of our sexuality. However, what we eat can greatly affect our sex lives - Think About This!

In this lecture, you will learn why your brain is your greatest sex organ and why certain foods that can help people improve their libido are commonly called aphrodisiacs. Learn why the idea that enjoying food or the act of sharing a meal can be a profoundly sensual experience. Learn the difference between synthetic aphrodisiacs and naturally occurring aphrodisiacs and find out whether certain foods truly stimulate sexual desire, or is it all in our heads?

  • The Nature of Aphrodisiacs
  • The Other F-Word
  • The Ancient Traditions: Greeks, Arabs, Romans, Chinese, and Hindus
  • Sex, Food, and Magic
  • Sex and Food: What do they have in Common?
  • Food Porn: From WAM (Wet and Messy) to Feeders
  • The science of Sex and Aphrodisiacs: What really works?
  • Quackery including pseudo-science and the Rhinoceros Horn
  • Food, Sex, and Money.

Conclusion: Should you think about food like you think about Sex?

Lecture 3-2: Neil Rippington

Dishes That Include Aphrodisiacs

In this session, we investigate ingredients and commodities that are reputed to stimulate the mind and body. We will explore the truth behind each claim, whilst creating dishes to demonstrate the use of the ingredients to increase the sensory attractiveness of their use.

February 18

Lecture 4-1: Beth Frates, MD

Stress and its Impact on Food Intake.

When we are stressed, we tend to behave differently in general and around food. Some people over-eat when they are stressed. Others don’t eat when they are stressed. We will discuss comfort foods and how palatable foods impact the brain.

Lecture 4-2: Stelios Kiosses

Why we eat more than we think: The unconscious influences on dietary intake

An overview of evidence-based approaches that may help when choosing a diet, dealing with cravings, and deciding what foods to purchase and consume.

February 25

Lecture 5-1: Stelios Kiosses

The Link Between Diet, Crime and Mental Health

In this lecture we will try and answer questions like:

  • Why stressed and/or neurotic individuals may be more prone to unhealthy dietary habits? (which in turn may contribute to depression and anxiety).
  • Is there a relationship between diet, nutrition, and criminality?
  • Is there a link between diet and aggression?
  • The relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents.

Lecture 5-2:  Beth Frates, MD

Yoga, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Meditation, and Deep Breathing for Healthy Eating.

We will explore ways to move our biology away from the stress response. Switching the autonomic nervous system from the fight or flight response to the rest and digest response can have an impact on our food consumption. What can we do to reduce stress and feel more in control when we eat? We will identify healthy options for managing stress so that stress eating is not our first response or our routine response.

March 4

Lecture 6-1: Stelios Kiosses

The relationship between religion and food.

Within our culture and religious affiliation, the terms we use for food reflect on many occasions our idiosyncratic dietary faiths including our religion and spirituality.

  • Religion and lifestyle food consumption
  • The Spirituality of Eating
  • Holy dietary practices around the world
  • Food and the Holy Inquisition
  • Foods with religious symbolism
  • The Holly Cow and the Evil Pig

Lecture 6-2: Neil Rippington

A Match Made in Heaven - The Correct Cutlery for the Specific Dish.

A practical session to explore how the instruments and mediums we use to eat and can influence our senses and enjoyment of food.

The significance of weight and color, shape and size

Practical ideas to enhance the enjoyment of eating and drinking by stimulating our senses

March 11

Lecture 7-1: Stelios Kiosses

Food as a Form of Self-expression and Communication

  • Food as Art
  • Scientific expression of food
  • The expression of food including idioms, food blogging, and other forms.
  • Autonomous sensory meridian response. What is it? Video ASMR
  • Is food the perfect expression of love?


Lecture 7-2: Beth Frates, MD

How Mindset and Positive Psychology Can Play a Role in Food Preferences and Consumption.

We will explore the connection between how we think and how we eat. Specifically, we will discuss the growth mindset, our self-talk, and self-compassion.  Self-esteem and social media influence our mindset, our body image, and our food consumption. Intuitive eating and its impact on weight and food consumption. In addition, we will explore future thinking can impact food choices

March 25

Lecture 8-1: Guest Speaker:  Professor Anna Marmodoro, University of Oxford

The ancient roots of Culinary Psychology in the West.

Lifestyle Medicine has its roots in ancient Greek thought, in the way philosophers and even ancient doctors were conceiving of the mind and the body in some way (to be philosophically analyzed) as one, so that taking care of the body was a way of taking care of the mind and vice versa. The means for taking care of bodily wellbeing as well as mental wellbeing (because the two were thought to be interconnected) included food and also more generally a holistic approach in medical therapy. There is evidence in ancient Greek texts by philosophers and ancient doctors, and even archeological evidence of this ancient lifestyle medicine (Pythagoras, Zeno, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, etc. all have something to say about which food we should eat to keep well).

Lecture 8-2: Beth Frates, MD

The Influence of Social Connections on Dietary Patterns.

Our friends and family have an impact on our food choices. We will explore how parents and how friends influence the food choices of adolescents. We will review how our social connections impact our weight and our food choices. When we are out to eat at a restaurant, how do our friends’ orders influence ours?

April 1

Lecture 9-1: Stelios Kiosses

The Psychology of Product Branding.

  • What are brand Archetypes?
  • The psychology of color and branding
  • Effects of Fast Food Branding on Young Children's Taste Preferences


Lecture 9-2: Neil Rippington

The Journey from Booking Your Reservation to Leaving the Restaurant.

Dining out isn’t just about eating and exiting, it’s about the dining experience.

How do restaurants plan the journey and deal with the consequences of delivery breakdown? With the influence of technology and trends, a memorable experience is becoming the norm, a necessity, and an expectation, with more people believing that unique dining experiences are worth paying more for.

This session analyses the steps in the journey when dining out. How does restaurant and process design influence the dining experience to produce expectations, memories, and anticipation?

April 8

Lecture 10-1: Neil Rippington

The Art of Flavor: How to Intensify and Develop Flavor

How do we intensify and develop flavor?

This session will explore how products and dishes are created by understanding the layering and development of flavors. It looks at how we can be encouraged to trust our senses and experiment with new foods. It engages with ingredients and develops an understanding of the importance of quality as well as learning the practices and principles to create delicious, healthy food.

The use of flavor wheels to harmonize and develop layers and balance


Lecture 10-2: Beth Frates, MD

What We Eat When We are Sleepy.

When we are sleep deprived, our bodies change. Lack of sleep has an impact on our hormones, our brain, and our food choices. We will explore what types of foods people tend to eat when they are sleepy.

April 15

Lecture 11-1: Beth Frates, MD

How Alcohol Impacts the Types and Quantity of Food We Choose.

Alcohol impacts the physiology of the body. Its impact on the brain lowers inhibitions and may lead to unhealthy food choices and also over-eating. We will explore these concepts. 


Lecture 11-2: Stelios Kiosses

Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR) in the Food Industry

  • How VR and other technology gadgets trick and transfix our taste buds.
  • How food and science fit together
  • VR, food, addiction, and eating disorders.
  • Film on VR.

April 22

Lecture 12-1: Stelios Kiosses

Ethical Eating

  • What is Ethics?
  • What is food Ethics?
  • The Ethics of Consumption
  • Ethics Along the Food Supply
  • Do animals have the right to a certain quality of life?
  • Ethical dilemmas in choosing a healthy diet
  • Is It Ethically Okay to Get Food Delivered during the pandemic of COVID-19?

Lecture 12-2: Beth Frates

Empowering Patients to Enjoy Healthful Eating Patterns

Knowing what is healthy and what foods are recommended for health is important. However, knowledge is not powerful to instill lasting change. In addition to information, people need empowerment, motivation, and self-efficacy. We will review a 5 Step Collaboration Cycle that we can use to counsel others and to coach our self to eat healthy foods.

April 29

Lecture 13-1: Neil Rippington

Chef Training and How to Become a Chef

The journey from chef-school to commis to celebrity. The session will also explore how chefs evolve and break new boundaries. How are culinary food trends developed? Who are the influencers and how has the technology and the media affected our relationship with food?

Lecture 13-2: Beth Frates

How Exercise Routines Impacts Food Choices

We will explore how exercise impacts the brain and how this might impact food choices. Some people feel hungrier when they exercise and others report they have fewer cravings for sweets.

May 6

Lecture 14: Chef Andreas Antona and Chef Georgianna Hiliadaki 

What Do Chefs Really Think about Health and Nutrition?

A panel discussion with all the instructors and guest speaker

May 13

Finals Week




Discussion board: Required postings to the class discussion board due each week. Each week's discussion question will be posted on the day of the lecture. Discussion postings will be used to assess your class attendance engagement with course materials. Guidelines for discussions will be given in discussion postings.

Research Article Analysis: Once during the semester you will be required to find, read, and write about one scientific journal article related to topics covered during lectures.  Graduate students will be expected to provide a more thoughtful quality analysis of the scientific paper. Instructions and grading criteria will be given in the assignment posting.

Scenario Analysis: You will be presented with several scenarios during the semester and asked to use what you learned in class and from course readings to analyze those scenarios.

Semester Long Project and Final Paper: The purpose of the semester project is to facilitate experiential learning and interaction with the topics presented in this course. You will be able to choose one of the few projects we will offer you and personalize it to make this semester project uniquely yours. Each project will have several steps you will have to report on during the semester. Your final paper will be a thoughtful summary of your project, what you learned from it, and how it connects to the course lectures and materials.

Assignment Release Date Due Date
Discussions  Released Thursday after each lecture  Due Wednesday 11:59 pm EST (next week after each lecture)
Scenario Analysis Part 1 Released February 16, 11:59 pm (EST)
Scenario Analysis Part 2 April 12 April 26, 11:59 pm (EST)
Article Analysis March 12 March 26, 11:59 pm (EST)
Project Design and Approval February 8 - Released February 22,11:59 pm (EST)
Project execution                                                   March 8 – April 23
Mid-project short report March 26 April 2, 11:59 pm (EST)

Final Paper – Project Summary

April 26 May 13, 11:59 pm (EST)


 Course Information

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