2018 Tillman Scholar

Valarie Carter

Military Spouse
University of Oklahoma

“I’m working to reconcile the great disconnect between food and health through nutrition information and basic culinary skills.”

While Valarie Carter’s culinary background includes predictable restaurant, hotel, and country club experiences, she has been helping others lead healthier lives by providing information about nutrition and teaching cooking skills.

Valarie currently works at Cooking for Kids, an organization funded by the USDA and tasked with changing the food paradigm in Oklahoma by educating child nutrition professionals in public school cafeterias statewide. She also assists the OU School of Community Medicine faculty plan and implement culinary medicine into the school’s medical education programs. Her involvement in both programs has fueled her interest in public health, specifically designing health programs to optimize nutrition behaviors.

As a board member and current vice president of the Tulsa Farmers’ Market, Valarie has assumed a leadership role in an organization that strives to meet the nutritional needs of underserved and impoverished communities by implementing health outreach strategies like the newly formed Tulsa Farmers’ Market Transit Program and Double Up Oklahoma, a matching program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.

Valarie’s culinary background and academic preparation have equipped her with the knowledge and skills needed to teach people how to cook, which she believes is the missing link between food and health. By applying her passion for the culinary arts and helping others through public health initiatives, she will continue working to find practical and economical methods to remedy our country’s food-related health problems to achieve her ultimate goal of a healthier world through culinary education.