Meet our Faculty

Teaching, Guiding, and Inspiring using Macrobiotics

Alex Jack, Macrobiotic Teacher and Counselor, is the Executive Director of the Kushi Institute. He was born in Chicago and grew up in Evanston, IL. and Scarsdale, NY. He received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and did his 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 in the Berkshires with his daughter and her family.

Edward Esko, Macrobiotic Teacher, Counselor, and Author, serves as Associate Director of the Kushi Institute as well as the K.I. Dean of Faculty. Edward was 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 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.

Amber Maisano, Kushi Institute Teacher, has been formally studying macrobiotics for 11 years. She is a graduate of the Academy of Massage & Bodywork in Bear, DE, a graduate of the Level 4 Macrobiotic Leadership Program at Kushi Institute in Becket, MA, and a Certified Level 2 Reiki Practitioner. Amber has served as KIs Kitchen Manager and Head Chef, and along with Teaching since 2011, currently serves as the institute’s Bodywork Practitioner. She has taught at Kushi Institute’s Summer Conference in the U.S. and is currently working on a cookbook. She also has experience with catering and currently serves as a personal chef and counselor in the Berkshires in addition to her role at the institute.

Propelled by her own journey of self discovery and healing, and a deep realization of all of life’s interconnectedness, Amber has a love of sharing tools that can help facilitate an experience of true health and wholeness with others. As part of a well rounded macrobiotic lifestyle Amber practices QiGong, Amazonian and Tibetan Transformational Breathwork, and Vipassana.

Chris Jenkins, Macrobiotic Teacher, originally from Long Island, New York, went to study at Kushi Institute in Massachusetts in 1997. He is a Level 4 graduate of the KIs Macrobiotic Leadership Program. Chris began teaching at the Kushi Institute in 2005. He has worked as chef and manager of the KI kitchen. Chris worked at two Japanese restaurants one in Asheville, North Carolina, and one in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He has worked as a personal chef in the US, abroad and he has taught classes at macrobiotic conferences in both the US and Europe.

You can read some of his recipes and thoughts on healthy eating at, Six