Jim Perko Sr. CEC, AAC

Jim Perko Sr. CEC, AAC

Jim Perko started his career and love of cooking as a child cooking and gardening with his parents. His professional career started 36 years ago when as a student at the Culinary Institute of America Jim was chosen to be one of four apprentices to the 1976 US Culinary Olympic Team.

After graduating, Jim secured a position with the 1977-78 US Antarctic Expedition cooking for scientists in Antarctica. Upon returning home, Jim married his high-school sweetheart, became executive sous chef for Marriott Hotels, and at the age of 26, accepted his first executive chef position for the 489 room Bond Court Hotel. Jim’s career in health care came in 1985 when he took a position as the Executive Chef of Cleveland Clinic’s Lakewood Hospital.

In 1988, Jim founded the national award-winning Food is Knowledge program that is now a signature part of the Cleveland Clinic’s community outreach wellness.

In 1990, after winning two American Culinary Federation (ACF) gold medals, Jim competed and earned a place on the 1992 US Culinary Olympic Team. There, he won five gold medals from the United States tryouts, and competitions in England, Ireland and Germany. Jim and his teammates finished third out of 52 teams from 30 countries in the 1992 Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt.

In 1998, Jim became Executive Chef for Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, servicing the Board of Governors and Medical Staff. Jim now serves as the Executive Chef for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute where he is able to combine his culinary expertise with his passion for healthy cooking and living.  Jim does this by teaching, creating and helping others in the Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program, public school districts, community venues, and personal executive clients.  He is an ACF-certified Judge and the innovative creator of hundreds of deliciously healthy recipes, many of which can be found in the Dr.Oz’s and Dr. Roizen’s YOU book series.

Jim has presented nationally to a variety of venues from Cirque du Soleil troupe at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, the California Walnut Board, The Ohio Dietetic Association, American Culinary Federation, and numerous wellness related events.


Corn Soup

Corn is loaded with fiber and antioxidants. Mix it with this easy vegetable broth for a healthier spin on creamy comfort food. Get the recipe.


Vegetable Tapenade

Made with vitamin C-rich peppers, metabolism-boosting hot sauce and omega-3 rich walnuts – this dip has the zing and flavor that is sure to satisfy. Use it as a vegan…


Chicken Marsala

Who doesn’t love chicken marsala? The rich sauce, the big portions of juicy chicken and the mouthfeel that goes along with the meal. This recipe for two that will cost you…


Grated Vegetable Pasta with Fennel and Clams

High in vitamin C and a good source of fiber, fennel can stand with just about any plant when it comes to its health benefits. Enjoy it daily in salads,…


Western Turkey Cakes

A recent study in the journal Neurology found that individuals that consumed greater amounts of lean sources of protein were less likely to have a stroke. The evidence however was…

Vegetarian paella with corn

Vegan Paella

If you love Paella but prefer to save a few shrimp, have we got a recipe for you! This dish is packed with tons of vegetables that can help boast…

Salsa dip

Tangy Salsa

Next time you’re in the mood for chips and dip, try making your own salsa! Why? Many of the store-bought salsas have added ingredients you just don’t need or want…


Oyster & Shitake Mushroom Salad

Mushrooms are fabulous! They provide flavor, texture and in many recipes, an alternative to meat. Now, mushrooms can boast another big plus! According to research conducted in 2013 mushrooms may also…

Fresh guacamole in bowl on wooden table

Chia Guacamole

What do you get when you mix omega 3’s with monounsaturated fats? Slurry of heart & brain protecting nutrients! That’s exactly what you’ll get with this chia guacamole. Monounsaturated fats…

Pitted Prunes

Fat-Free Prune & Balsamic Dressing

I’m in love with prunes. I love everything about them. The fact that they are an easy snack to throw in my purse in the morning, that they help in…