My Friday Night Dinner at The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC

The Natural Gourmet Institute, a cooking school in NYC that places a very strong emphasis on organic, hosts Friday night dinners that are open to the public.

I had been hearing very good things about these fixed-price, four-course dinners at The Natural Gourmet Institute and finally decided to check it out last week. Here’s what I had:


This was a very clever use of hijiki, a sea vegetable that I enjoy a lot.


While the salad may appear to have a heavy cream sauce, the dressing is actually dairy-free and made from cashew milk. The soup provided great balance to the crisp and refreshing salad.


It was a little embarrassing when this meal was served because I devoured it in about 10 seconds while everyone else had barely eaten a bite of their food.

I have had a ton of quinoa and a decent amount of tempeh in my life but never together in a loaf. It really worked and had fantastic texture and flavors.

Alongside the quinoa-tempeh loaf were kale, green beans, onion rings, and a potato, Jerusalem artichoke and cauliflower duchesse.


As with everything else in this meal, the dessert was dairy-free. Coconut milk was the base ingredient, and brown rice syrup was the main sweetener.

This dairy-free/sugar-free ice cream sundae was rich and decadent.

Overall, I was very impressed with the meal at The Natural Gourmet Institute. Everything was incredibly fresh, and I really liked the variety of the flavors presented in each course.

And once the meal was over, the chefs came out and we were able to ask them questions about how the food was prepared. How great is that?

While I have never taken any cooking classes at The Natural Gourmet Institute, I would like to do so soon and left my Friday dinner with an extremely favorable impression of the school.

If you’re ever looking for something fun and different to do on a weekend in NYC, definitely give these Friday night dinners at The Natural Gourmet Institute a try. You’ll eat some fantastic food and meet some really interesting people.

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  • stephanie haughey says:

    Greetings Max,

    I can’t wait to check this out in NYC! It would be cool for WFM to
    integrate a similar program at the stores with a Wellness Club.
    BTW what are some of your favorite meals/foods to eat at GustOrganics?

    Looks very delicious!

    All the best,

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      The WFM Wellness Clubs do have weekly dinners (open to both members and non-members alike) and is something that I have been meaning to try out. I’ll let you know when I do.

      At GustOrganics, I like the salads and veggie burgers a lot.

      Live well,

  • kerry surface says:

    that food looks amazing. wish i could be there. i enjoy your site very much!

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Kerry,

      Thanks very much for you kind words! Yes, the food was great. That quinoa-tempeh loaf lasted about two seconds on my plate.

      Live well,

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