The mission of the Metabolic Kitchen core is to support nutritional research as an integrated component of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center by designing, preparing, and serving meals to meet study-specific criteria and produce valid scientific results.
The Research Kitchen Core is located on the second floor of the Clinical Research Building. It is a state-of-the-art facility that is equipped to provide quality service and is ideal for conducting simultaneous study protocols. Approximately 225 meals per day can be prepared in the facility. The cores dietitians use a nutritional analysis program to precisely plan menus and recipes to meet the requirements of each study protocol. The Research Kitchen is integrated into the clinic scheduling system at Pennington Biomedical, and its dieticians work directly with principal investigators as they plan research and design study protocols. The Research Kitchen works closely with the Inpatient Clinic and Ingestive Behavior Laboratory, providing meals to these entities, collecting food intake data by weighing food provision and plate waste, and entering these data into the Centers Central Database.
The core employs a director who oversees menu planning, food production, and daily management of the operation, while research dietitians are responsible for managing the dietary component of specific study protocols. Research specialists and a food service worker prepare and serve the research-designated diets. Meal monitors sit with participants during meal times to ensure that participants are being compliant. The Research Kitchen receives oversight by a users committee.