Student Stories

Valarie Carter

Valarie Carter

Valarie Carter is classically trained chef, culinary educator, food and wine writer, food stylist, wife, mom, sister, and daughter of a farm family.  Originally from Webbers Falls, OK, she graduated from Fort Gibson High School a really, really long time ago.  She went on to earn a B.A. in English from Oklahoma State University and an Associate of Arts in Culinary Arts from the Art Institute of Atlanta. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health Degree from OU-Tulsa.

As a chef, Valarie’s background includes the predictable restaurant, hotel, and country club experiences, but more recently she’s been fortunate to assist others in attempting to lead healthier lives by providing nutrition information and teaching cooking skills.

She currently works for 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 throughout the state. Most recently, she has been assisting the OU School of Community Medicine faculty in planning and implementing culinary medicine into the school’s medical education programs.  Her involvement has led to an interest in public health and the designing of health programs to address the disconnect between food and health that is prevalent in our region.

“My academic preparation to date has equipped me with the knowledge needed to teach people to cook, what I believe is the missing link between food and health”, said Carter. “A degree in public health will give me new skills for implementing strategies for assessing community health needs and risks, designing health programs to optimize nutrition behaviors, and evaluating the impact of these interventions. I feel that specifically an interdisciplinary degree is the best fit for me because it provides a broad and far reaching approach to both the health and nutrition problems in our community.”

Through her leadership experiences as a board member and current vice president of the Tulsa Farmers’ Market, she’s proud to be a part of an organization that strives to meet the nutrition needs of many underserved and impoverished populations by working with various health outreach strategies, including the newly formed Tulsa Farmers’ Market Transit Program and Double Up Oklahoma, a matching program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.

Valarie has a passion for local sustainable food and tries to implement these values in her kitchen. Valarie lives in Bixby, OK with her husband, Brian, and their two young children. When she’s not doing all of the above, she enjoys gardening, refinishing furniture, and entertaining at her home.

To find out more about Valarie and her work with Culinary Medicine at School of Medicine at OU-Tulsa, visit: