Cooking For Chemo… During Cancer Awareness Month

Why did Chef Ryan Callahan, aka The Cancer Chef, and a multi-award-winning chef decide to write a cookbook for patients, including children, undergoing chemotherapy? Chef Ryan had a very good and extremely personal reason for writing the book Cooking for Chemo…And After.

It had to do with a son’s love for his mother.

During his mother’s battle with breast cancer, he watched her suffer even more when she tried to eat.

Eating was difficult for Mom because of nausea and mouth sores, a frequent side-effect of chemotherapy. She would just pick at her food. And everything tastes so different during treatment because chemo affects your taste buds.

As a three-time breast cancer survivor, I knew what he was saying was true.

It was during this difficult time while Chef Ryan watched his mother begin to “wither away” from the illness and treatment that he decided to cook Chick-n-Dumplings to see if he could coax her to eat a life-sustaining size meal. When she finished her third helping Chef Ryan realized he was onto something important and wrote a cookbook that contained his mother’s favorite food which he described as “Chicken and Dumplings done right.”

Besides the winner of his mother’s love, he is the proud winner of the 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Award: Best New Health and Nutrition Cookbook, USA; for his ground-breaking book, Cooking for Chemo…and After! Chef Ryan is the author of 4 cookbooks, two of which won Gourmand International Cookbook Awards.

It all began on under “Our Story.”

Then cooking for chemo built into a movement that surprised even the hospitality industry veteran with over fifteen years of hands-on culinary experience in the kitchen. During this candid LIVR Video Podcast interview Chef Ryan shares his heart and soul with you, the audience, about the importance of not only cooking for chemo but the necessity of eating healthy food during chemo…and after.

My recipes are so easy a child could make them…with adult supervision of course… because there is some cutting of vegetables and meats involved with knives…but the point is my recipes are very easy to prepare and cook.

I did some research on Chef Ryan using his website before the interview and found it to be extremely educational. He shares, “If someone were to ask you to define the idea of flavor to someone who had never eaten before, how would you describe it?”

Then he answers his question using a combination of science, logic, art, and a love for food. 

Flavor is both scientific and artistic. Scientifically, it is a series of chemical compounds that are created or broken down during the cooking and preparatory process in the creation of edible and digestible compounds. Artistically, it is defined as the human experience of eating and drinking. This experience evokes emotional responses and fills the brain with associations both past and present.

When Chef Ryan is not cooking, eating, talking or thinking about food you can usually find him nestled up with some “manga” or playing video games on his computer. As you will see in this short fifteen-minute video podcast long on information, Chef Ryan is so full of life in his Chartreuse-Green chef-coat, and glowing with his love of food, that I will bet you anything he watches cooking videos, too, and talks to the computer.

So, the next time you think cooking…think Callihan.

You can learn more about Chef Callahan, his cooking videos, and his cooking classes @


Kat O'Keefe-Kanavos
Kat O'Keefe-Kanavos
Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is the award-winning author of Surviving Cancerland, and co-author of Dreams That Can Save Your Life. She’s a three-time cancer survivor, and co-publisher/editor of WEBE Books Publishing. Her dreams diagnosed her illness as seen on Dr. Oz, Doctors, NBC News, American Express Open, in Newspapers and magazines. She’s a Contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, TV/Radio Host/Producer- Dreaming Healing on DV7Radio/TV Network, Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod™, Kat Kanavos Show, Internationally Syndicated Columnist in BIZCATALYST 360°, Dream Columnist in Positive Tribe Magazine, and Desert Health Magazine, Keynote Speaker, Performance Coach who taught Special Ed & Psychology @USF, and Lecturer who promotes patient advocacy and Spiritual guidance. She is co-author to the inspiring books; Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change and Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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