Student Stories: Pablo Garcia

Check out this Q&A with Pablo Garcia, a recent graduate of the NGI's Chef's Training Program, health coach, and co-founder of

How did you know culinary school was the right step for you? I’ve always loved eating good food, ever since I was a child. As an adult - especially after becoming a health and lifestyle coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition - I’ve come to appreciate good food even more. In conjunction with living in NYC, where there are so many great restaurants and good food available at a moment’s notice, I became more and more curious about what it would take to be behind the scenes as a more knowledgeable cook.

Since you were in the part-time program, did you find it difficult to balance school and other elements of your life? It did take some getting used to since I’m not exactly a type A personality - my approach is more laid back. One of my biggest lessons to learn was how to find balance between getting more organized and maintaining a sense of freedom that I treasure so much. But, coming to NGI two days per week turned out to be totally doable.

What was your favorite aspect of the program? I loved the health-focused approach of the program. I think it’s leaps and bounds ahead of what other schools are doing with their culinary training. I’m also happy to see that the school is always looking for ways to update the curriculum based on current industry needs and emerging health and wellness information, while continuing to cook with high quality whole foods.

With your coaching business and blog, The Vital Guide, you aim to inspire other men to take control of their health and wellbeing. How do you plan to use your culinary education in your business? At The Vital Guide, our mission is to provide men with simple, effective tools to optimize their health and upgrade their lives for good. A huge part of that is showing men that eating healthfully does not mean boring and bland, and that it does not have to be intimidating. With my new skill set, we’re creating a digital video channel where we’ll be posting fun and engaging cooking videos. Another way we’ll be incorporating what I learned at NGI is by doing retreats with live cooking demos, where nourishing, healthy and satisfying meals are part of the curriculum.

What is your favorite dish to cook?  I love rustic home-style cooking. The kind of food that wafts through the air and makes its way into your nostrils, signaling to your gut that something awesome is in the works. For me, that is usually in the vein of a Cuban/Spanish, French/American-influenced one-pot stew. There’s nothing like loading up a pot with fresh herbs, vegetables and a great quality cut of meat like ox tails (that is rich in collagen) for keeping warm in the cold Northeast months.


This post was originally published by the Natural Gourmet Institute. Learn more about today's Natural Gourmet Center.

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