Chef Karla Giboyeaux-Berlingeri, M.A., R.D., recognized and pursued her passion for cooking and education during her youth in Puerto Rico and later when she entered college. She earned a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Puerto Rico, followed by a Master of Arts in Food Studies at New York University. In 2013, Karla completed the Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York, NY, while working full-time as a nutritionist at CRI partner Urban Health Plan, Inc. (UHP).
Karla joined UHP in 2010. UHP is a network of federally qualified community health centers in Queens and the Bronx, NY, where Karla provides nutritional counseling to low-income patients. She is part of the Nutrition Department at UHP led by Elvira Rella, R.D., one of the original Core Team members of the first-ever CRI Life Enhancement Program. At UHP, Karla conducts nutrition assessments and consultations with patients, presents informational lectures and food demonstrations, and assists in preparing nutrition education materials. With the opening of the Urban Health Plan-Canyon Ranch Institute Demonstration Kitchen designed by Canyon Ranch chefs and architects as part of a major expansion at UHP, Karla’s responsibilities expanded to include an increased emphasis on providing cooking demonstrations as well as maintaining all aspects of the new UHP-CRI Demonstration Kitchen.
To help prepare Karla to lead the UHP-CRI Demonstration Kitchen, Elvira asked CRI to support a culinary internship for Karla. CRI Founder and Board member Jerry Cohen offered to sponsor Karla to experience her culinary internship with Canyon Ranch’s award-winning chefs at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. Karla trained under the leadership of Canyon Ranch Corporate Chef Scott Uehlein, Canyon Ranch in Tucson Executive Chef Justin Morrow, and Canyon Ranch Demonstration Chef Shawn Brisby. She experienced all aspects of food preparation and presentation under the guidance of these Canyon Ranch leaders and numerous other Canyon Ranch culinary experts.
Following her three-week culinary internship, Karla joined the Canyon Ranch Institute team as the first Janice L. McIntire Fellow. Karla’s fellowship included in-depth discussions and practicums related to effective interpersonal and professional communications, practical ways to engage colleagues and work collaboratively, and CRI communication best practices.
Karla is fluent in English and Spanish and focuses on writing and painting in her free time. The theme of her large-format artwork echoes her profession and features colorful representations of food. She loves to reconnect Puerto Ricans and all people with their traditional food cultures.