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.


Pa Pa’s Pumpkin Pie

Who says pumpkin pie is just for the holidays? Whip this dessert up for a sweet and savory treat. Get the recipe.


Root Vegetable Au Gratin

One bite of this delicious recipe will have you rooting for more. Root vegetables grow underground, absorb loads of nutrients directly from the soil and become nutritional storehouses. They contain essential…


Gluten-Free Waffles

It’s true, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for various reasons, including its ability to fight obesity and diabetes. This gluten-free waffle recipe is a fun and nutritious…


JP’Z Kale Kakes

It’s always a great idea to find ways to “sneak” more greens into your diet, and this sweet treat lets you do just that. Kale contains tons of nutrients, including…


Mediterranean Pan-Seared Cod

Make this light and flaky fish in a flash for a healthy weeknight dinner. Cod is a heavy source of protein, and this recipe is filled with healthy ingredients, including garlic,…


Exotic Rice Blend with Grilled Pineapple

This rice recipe is loaded with flavor, fiber and protein. Research shows that a spoonful of black rice bran, or 10 spoonfuls of cooked black rice, contains more health-promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than…


Beans and Farro

Low in calories and high in fiber, this recipe sends you on a quick trip to the Mediterranean. Perfect for an easy side or lunch, this grain dish is filled with…


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this creamy combo that’s light and fluffy. This treat is low in sugar but high in healthy fats, fiber and protein. Get the recipe.


Chocolate Bark

This dark-chocolate dessert provides tons of heart-healthy benefits while keeping your waistline intact. Skip the store-bought stuff and whip this up at home instead. Get the recipe.


Chia Banana Cake

This cake cuts out the sugar and delivers natural sweetness with bananas, honey and vanilla. Plus, the chia seeds in this cake are packed with omega-3s and anti-inflammatory properties, making this…