Mark Bittman, cookbook guru and former New York Times columnist for those who self-identify as being the latest nutritional trend followers, has had success telling other people how to run their business - but was a giant flop when he actually had to implement his own vegan beliefs.

That has led to a sweet teaching gig at Columbia University, which tells you everything you need to know about the quality of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health education you are taking out $72,000 per year in student loans to get.

It used to be said, 'those who can't do, teach', but that is a slam on all of the good teachers out there. However, taking practical food advice from Mark Bittman about the "availability, sustainability and equitable distribution of nutritious food" is like taking financial advice from someone driving a Yugo. He can claim he will be able to teach students about the real world of food success, and his dubious claims about his diet's links to public health will be dismissed by actual experts, but this seems like a real hit on the credibility of Columbia. 

Of course, it could be that the lack of success of Bittman's food start-up was not his fault; he must be a great salesman to convince that school he knows anything at all about the real world. Yet maybe it's just nutrition, and evidence-based thinking long ago left the field, outside scholars like Dr. Ruth Kava at the American Council on Science and Health.

Maybe Columbia doesn't care, they keep Dr. Oz on the faculty despite his promotion of miracle vegetables, so perhaps they just want Bittman's food acolytes to follow him and generate some cash and repeat his claims. As Joanna Blythman The Guardian succinctly noted, "public health advice is just like any other socially constructed wisdom in that it gains authority through endless repetition."