Diane Carlson, Founder, Director and Chef Instructor

For nearly 30 years Diane has taught hundreds of health supportive cooking and theory classes in a variety of venues. She is an inspiring teacher, sharing her passion, skills and knowledge with her students. Her studies have led her to incorporate a variety of nutritional approaches and how our food choices contribute to physical, mental and emotional health.

Diane faced numerous health challenges including candida, allergies, high blood pressure, a perforated ulcer and much more. She became aware of the connection between her health and her diet while enrolled in a traditional Chef’s Training Program in Minneapolis. Her life changed dramatically when she turned to alternative medicine and a whole foods style of eating to regain her health. She often remarks that she would would not be living today had she not changed her diet.

Diane’s journey led her to study with Annemarie Colbin, founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City.  Upon graduating she began teaching in the Institute’s public class program. She returned to Minneapolis to found Five Seasons Whole Foods Cookery and Education Center teaching classes and lecturing throughout the five-state area and developed a Teacher’s Training Program in natural foods cooking.

In 1993 she returned to the Natural Gourmet to serve as Co-President, Director and Chef Instructor for 12 years. In 2005 she founded The Conscious Gourmet focusing on culinary retreats in unique vacation destinations and her Culinary Instructor Training Program. Diane now lives in the Southwest with her dog, Shadow. Her upcoming book and training manual, The Culinary Classroom is due to be published in 2016.

Diane’s personal consultations and lifestyle programs incorporate her training as a Certified Integrated Health Coach, as well as her graduate studies in energy medicine with the Four Winds Society – Healing The Light Body School, and as an EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Reiki practitioner.

Guest chefs have included book authors such as the late Annemarie Colbin, (Food and Healing), Myra Kornfeld (The Voluptuous Vegan and The Healthy Hedonist), and Peter Berley (The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen and Fresh Food Fast).

“Your (Diane) years of knowledge and experience show. You are a perfectionist, and expect high standards from your students as well. Your professionalism shows from the very first moment of contact!”   Cathy, FL

“(Diane) Very patient, kind, honest and a sponge of information, not to mention a great chef to boot!”  Samantha, CA


What is a Conscious Gourmet?

All too often our daily food choices are based upon familiarity, availability, lack of time, convenience, and ease of preparation. Unaware of the effects of our food choices we experience weight gain, mood swings, decreased energy and attention levels, and cravings for nutrition deficient food. We unconsciously create food sensitivities, accelerate the aging process and repeatedly make choices that contribute to numerous life diminishing conditions that sabotage our best efforts to maintain a healthy diet.

A conscious gourmet is a lover of good food who has discovered the connection between the food they eat and how it affects their physical, mental and emotional health. Their food choices are based upon this conscious awareness.

The Conscious Gourmet programs immerse participants in the hands-on preparation of delicious, organic foods as well as lecture classes that teach a variety of nutritional approaches to assist you in choosing foods that balance you and support your personal goals.

You’ll learn new and exciting kitchen friendly recipes and culinary techniques, how to have more energy, think more clearly, look and feel better, eliminate cravings and maintain or lose weight—often a by-product of a healthier diet.

Food Philosophy

We use the highest quality foods available that sustain both the individual and the planet including whole, fresh, natural, seasonal, REAL food—organic whenever possible, without the use of refined sugar, wheat and dairy. Additional dietary restrictions upon request.

Who Attends Our Programs?

People of all ages have attended Diane’s programs–participants as young as 10 and as elderly as 80 with a variety of experience levels. People who love to cook and eat and choose to do so healthfully—singles, couples, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, sisters, groups of friends, you and me.