Meet our Faculty

Teaching, Guiding, and Inspiring using Macrobiotics

Michio-Staff-Photo2Michio Kushi, founder and chairman of the Kushi Institute, is a pioneer of the macrobiotic community, the natural and organic foods movement, and alternative and complementary medicine.  Since coming to America from Japan in 1949, he has lectured all over the world on macrobiotic philosophy, social health and world peace.  In the early 1960s, in Boston, with his wife Aveline (1923 – 2001), he began Erewhon, one of the earliest natural food companies, and in the 1970s and 1980s founded the East West Foundation, Kushi Foundation and the One Peaceful World Society.  In 1985 he became General President of the World Federation of Natural Alternative Medicine, an association of 300 organizations with international headquarters in Madrid.

Michio has inspired research on the macrobiotic approach to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic disorders at Harvard Medical School, the Framingham Heart Study, the National Institutes of Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other universities, medical associations and government agencies.  The Smithsonian Institution created a permanent Kushi Family Collection on Macrobiotics and Alternative Health Care at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. in 1999 and held a gala celebration in honor of him, his wife and the macrobiotic community.  The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution praising his contribution to the health and well being of modern society.

Over the years, Michio has written more than fifty books on personal and planetary health, including The Cancer Prevention Diet, One Peaceful World, and The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health and received the Award of Excellence from the United Nation’s Writer’s Society.  Michio resides in the Boston area with his wife Midori and at age 87, continues to teach, counsel and speak around the world.  Read more about Michio Kushi on our founders page.

AJack__1Alex Jack, Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor, is the General Manager of the Kushi Institute. He was born in Chicago and grew up in Evanston, Ill. and Scarsdale, N.Y. He graduated from Oberlin College and did graduate work at Boston University. In the mid-1960s, he served as a civil rights worker in Mississippi, participated in the March in Selma, and went to Vietnam as a reporter. He has served as editor-in-chief of East West Journal, director of the One Peaceful World Society, and president of Amberwaves, a macrobiotic network devoted to preserving brown rice, wheat, and other grains from genetic engineering and climate change. Alex helped introduce modern macrobiotics to China and Russia. He has co-authored many books with Michio Kushi, including The Cancer-Prevention Diet, Diet for a Strong Heart, The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health, and The Book of Macrobiotics. He also co-wrote Aveline Kushi’s Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking, The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit with Don Campbell, and edited a new edition of Hamlet that he introduced at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. He is on the visiting faculty of the Kushi Institute in Amsterdam and Rosas Contemporary Dance Company in Brussels. He lives with his wife and family in the Berkshires.

EdwardEsko_faculty72Edward Esko, Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor, is a key personality in the macrobiotic diet /health revolution. Edward trained extensively with Michio Kushi, and in 1972 became vice president of the East West Foundation, the non-profit macrobiotic educational organization founded by Michio Kushi.

Edward has lectured in over a dozen countries, guiding thousands of people toward better health through the macrobiotic diet. Authoring and editing more than twenty texts on macrobiotic philosophy and cooking, many of which have been translated into different languages, he was honored with the Aveline Kushi Award in 2006 for his contributions. With Michio, he co-authored, among others, Macrobiotic Approach to Cancer (1982), and Nine Star Ki (1991). Edward has served as a Kushi Institute faculty member since 1977, devoting much of his energy to the Macrobiotic Leadership Program.

Bettina New PictureBettina Zumdick, Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor, has been involved in macrobiotics for over twenty-five years. A native of the Baltic Sea area in Germany, she studied food science at the University of Muenster. Bettina has taught macrobiotics and other mind-body-spirit related topics such as meditation, Tao Yin Yoga and chanting throughout Europe and the United States.

Realizing the complex interconnections between mind, body, and spirit through her own healing journey from Lyme disease, Bettina knows that it is possible to improve your health and to deepen the quality of all your experiences in life. It is her intent to share the knowledge and wisdom of this path for better health, vitality, and being able to pursue your most passionate dreams in life.

JudyMCopyfaculty72AJudy MacKenney, Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Counselor and Teacher, began her practice in 1992 under the auspices of Kushi Institute counselors, with the medial diagnosis of Stage IV inoperable non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Judy recovered thoroughly through macrobiotics. A holistic health educator and counselor, and a member of the American Society of Alternative Therapies (ASAT), Judy and her husband, Larry, ran a macrobiotic health and wellness center in Florida prior to their involvement with Kushi Institute.

Judy studied with Michio Kushi and now hosts Kushi Institute’s Way To Health program in addition to counseling and lecturing in southwest Florida. In 2009 she received the Aveline Kushi Award. Her recovery through macrobiotics was one of the case studies presented by Kushi Institute to the National Institute on Cancer.

Ambercloseup72longAmber Maisano, Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Teacher, has been formally studying macrobiotics for almost a decade which includes graduating from Kushi Institute’s Macrobiotic Leadership program in 2006. Macrobiotic teachers she has studied under include: Charles Millman, Lucci Barranda, John Kozinski, Bettina Zumdick, Ed Esko, Carrie Wolf, Alex Jack, Diane Avoli, Bob Carr and Naoki Sakaguchi.

In addition to teaching; Amber has served as Kushi Institute’s Kitchen Manager and Head Chef. Other experiences and qualifications include:
-        Personal macrobiotic chef and catering experience
-        2007 graduate from The Academy of Massage & Bodywork in Bear, DE
Amber also enjoys singing, dancing, prayer, meditation, nature and hiking.


Chris Jenkins, Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Teacher, originally from Long Island, New York, went to study at Kushi Institute in Massachusetts in 1997. He then worked as the kitchen manager for two years. Between 1999 and 2001, Chris worked at two Japanese restaurants – one in Asheville, North Carolina, and one in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He returned to work as chef and manager of the KI kitchen from 2002 to 2012. Chris completed the Macrobiotic Leadership Program in 2003, and started teaching at Kushi Institute in 2005. He has worked as a personal chef in the US and abroad. He taught classes at the 2012 KI Summer Conference in New Jersey, and at the Kushi Institute of Europe’s Summer Conference in August 2013. You can read some of his recipes and thoughts on healthy eating at

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