My name is Ayelet Barak–Nahum and I'm a Culinary Art Therapist, a social worker (PhD) and a cook.
I live in Tel Aviv with my husband and two children. Since 2003 I've been developing the unique combination of cooking and therapy, both on a practical and research level.
Culinary Art Therapy (CAT) is the result of the union of two passions and two biographical paths: when graduating from a BA in Social Work and after years of practice in the kitchen (first as a hobby and then as a professional), I decided to apply academic tools to test the intuition of many cooks who swear that cooking is a form of therapy.
After practicing Culinary Art Therapy with varied publics (a group for the blind and impaired vision, cancer patients and survivors, and children with autism spectrum disorders in a special education school) I wrote my MA and PhD thesis on Culinary Art Therapy in Tel Aviv University’s Bob Shapell School of Social Work. In both academic studies I validated and conceptualized the mechanisms through which cooking influences people dealing with diverse issues and life challenges.
When I think of how Culinary Art Therapy was developed I visualize a slow-cooking process, a cauldron containing a stew in which the important ingredients consist of a therapeutic education (PhD in Social Work from Tel Aviv University, a diploma in Art Therapy from Bar Ilan University and a Teaching Certificate for paramedical professions from Levinsky College of Education) and a culinary education from Tadmor–Israeli Central School for Culinary Arts, working in the acclaimed Artichoke restaurant in Tel Aviv and managing my own catering business. The stew is still simmering, allowing new insights and techniques to be endlessly added.
I love cooking and always have… as a child with my mother, with my partner, with friends and with my own children. Culinary Art Therapy allows me to continue this passion with my patients as well.
Ayelet Barak-Nahum | PhD
Culinary Art Therapist