07/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Fat Can Be Good For You

Jenny Matthau stands in front of hundreds of students at the Natural Gourmet School and speaks heresy. The New York City culinary program specializes in "health-supportive, whole-foods cuisine" with a "plant-based curriculum." Beef and pork aren't on the syllabus, to say nothing of veal--and the school's alumni run kitchens at health spas and work in restaurants with names like Organic Planet. So when Matthau, who's president of the school and teaches the core nutrition class, delivers her lecture in praise of fat, students are often surprised.

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