A practicing internist in northern Virginia, Tim's love of food preparation began as a teenager working in the restaurant business. Starting as a dishwasher, he worked his way up to managing his first restaurant by the age of eighteen. Along the way he learned cooking from many fine chefs, and at age twenty-two opened his own restaurant: a small country-French café.
Three years operating Le Petit Café—creating menus, being a chef and teaching cooking classes—were challenging and creative. Closing the restaurant to return to school was an important turning point. Dr. Harlan originally intended to pursue a degree in hotel and restaurant management, but events led him toward medicine and a decision to become a physician.
After finishing an undergraduate degree in anthropology and biology at Emory University, Dr. Harlan went on to study at Emory University School of Medicine. Working as a caterer throughout school, he continued to be involved with food and cooking but noticed a lack of knowledge about eating healthy and eating well. Neither patients nor health care providers understood much about a healthful diet. Patients, it seemed, were usually told not what they could eat but, rather, what they could not eat.
In medical school, Dr. Harlan wrote It's Heartly Fare, a book best characterized as a food manual for patients with cardiovascular disease. It is published by Pritchett & Hull Associates.
His latest book, Hand on Heart , is published by ENDpapers in the UK.