Chef Michael Ferraro teams up with pancreatic program
Pancreatic cancer accounts for only 2% of cancers diagnosed in the United States each year; however, it is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in this country.
Pancreatic cancer affects the food you eat and drink regardless of the stage of the cancer or treatments being received, making diet and nutrition a challenge.
To make diet and nutrition easier nationally recognized culinary expert Chef Michael Ferraro Executive Chef of New York City’s Delicatessen has partner with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Meals to Heal and Celgene to create the Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight program.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I recently talked with Chef Ferraro who shared his story and discussed his involvement with Cooking, Comfort, Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight program. Also, joining in the discussion was Jessica A. Iannotta, MS, RD, CSO, CDN, Chief Operating Officer from Meals to Heal.
DN: Jessica, could you tell us a few of the difficulties pancreatic cancer patients have when it comes to diet and Nutriton?
JL: Nutriton and diet are so important for people managing pancreatic cancer. But in particular with pancreatic cancer, eating, nutrition and diet are often even more of a challenge. Simply because, these patients are living with ongoing symptoms that are either from their cancer, their surgery, their treatment and all these things can impact their ability to digest normally, to maintain proper nutrition. In particular they are dealing with a really bothering digestive system. Things like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, and loss of appetite. So that’s where the nutrition tips we’ve come up with the recipes we developed are aimed at really helping these patients to manage these symptoms and really optimize their nutrition.
DN: A specially focused nutrition program to fight pancreatic cancer called Cooking, Comfort, Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight, Jessica can you tell us a little bit about this program and hot it helps pancreatic patients?
JL: The Cooking, Comfort, Care program was developed with Chef Ferraro, Celgene, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, myself and the team at Meals to Heal. We developed a wealth of recipes and tips. In particular for Mother’s Day, this month, Chef Michael is featuring his moms favorite recipe and we’re doing some really great things around this time of the year to help patients with holidays and really to learn some tips, some suggestions some recopies on how to optimize their nutrition and how to really sit down with their family and really enjoy a meal. I think that Chef Michael has some great information to share with us on that too. Sit down with your family, enjoy a meal and really be able to take the tips that we provided to do that. To find foods that you can tolerate and you can enjoy. And this program has really got some great information and great awareness for the pancreatic cancer community.
DN: Chef Ferraro for many of us our best memories with our moms is spent in the kitchen and spending mother’s day in the kitchen and cooking with your mom is your best memory. These memories in the kitchen and family recipes are important traditions to carry on. Could you tell us a favorite recipe you and your mother had shared?
CF: Sure, you know of course it was a special time growing up. I’m from a cooking family, food was a very important thing and it was our family time really. A lot of the focus spent in the kitchen, that’s where we talked, go over things and of course enjoyed a meal together. As Jessica was saying for Mother’s Day I go to a dish that my mom requested. We were at a restaurant and they had shrimp and pasta and she’d request a Shrimp Pomodoro. Now before she got diagnosed she loved spice and it was a dish that was traditionally made basically with tomatoes, olive oil, a lot garlic and spice. But as the years went on we had to kind of tote back the spice and this recipe in particular, we basically eliminated it. And then thought that people could tolerate some, its optional. So her diet changed through the years but it was more about adapting instead of completely cutting out. So just about working around what really bothered her. But I mean especially that food being an important part of your life something that you enjoy so much. You spend so much time being with your family and loved ones and having to cut that out completely is a really tough thing. So basically that’s why I’m so excited to join the program. And to let patients know that it’s not a 100 percent change over to the world of bland food and not being able to enjoy those meals that we use to love especially around holidays and special occasions. So it’s one of the main reasons why I was really excited to come aboard.
DN; Chef Ferraro, where can people find out about these tasty nutritious meals that are easy to prepare and where did your inspiration for these meals come from?
CF: Well we developed the website the Cooking, Comfort, Care website. So on there are recipes and we started the campaign back around the holidays. So we started with some Thanksgiving dishes, some nice holiday dishes, this one of course is inspired by Mother’s day and the dishes were inspired a lot by what she enjoyed. The one we did for Thanksgiving time was a Turkey Tortellini Soup and it was something that was kind of a staple in my household around the holidays. And then from there we just adapted it and were able to take some stuff out and still make it so people can still enjoy the recipes. And people can go on the site there is a lot of variations for the recipes. Like I said before if there is something in your diet that is really affecting you there are options to take stuff out or to put more of something in. So I think not everybody’s case is not the same so it’s just something you know kind of a trial and error.
DN: Jessica, what would you like to tell people about cooking, comfort, care, nourishment for the pancreatic cancer fight?
JL: Well i encourage you to go to the website definitely. You can find all the information, the great tips the recipes at pancan.org and in addition just a fun thing to look forward to we’re also going to be releasing a mobile app as a companion to our program in the near future coming this year. So some really exciting things coming forward as well. So the great recipes, the great tips. The great recipes like Chef Michael said and the great information to help you adapt the recipes, adapt your diet so you really can maintain proper nutrition and feel your best
Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells from in the tissues of the pancreas. The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for pancreatic cancer in the United States are for 2015:
About 48,960 people (24,840 men and 24,120 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
About 40,560 people (20,710 men and 19,850 women) will die of pancreatic cancer
Many people with pancreatic cancer experience significant challenges in the area of diet and nutrition. With the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, patients should incorporate a healthy diet and nutritional plan, developed together with a doctor or registered dietitian.
Last fall, the Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight program tapped into the expertise of a panel of professionals to develop special recipes and tips to help pancreatic cancer patients manage the unique nutritional challenges they may face during the holiday season – while enjoying delicious meals.
Cooking. Comfort. Care. Is expanding to provide patients and their caregivers with a wide range of recipes – including breakfast, lunch, dinner and side options – to make sure they have the resources to make healthy, tasty, memorable dishes for any meal of the day.
Visit Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight