For most of my adult life, I've dreamt of doing some kind of culinary training - not necessarily with the idea of becoming a chef, mostly just for the sheer joy of it, and of course always with the hope of developing new skills and becoming a better cook.
Several months ago when I discovered the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, which offered courses (both onsite and online) that bring together innovate and creative culinary arts with optimal, plant-based nutrition, I was completely captivated and I really felt that this was my ticket to realising that dream.
Finally, last month I had the opportunity to complete Level 1 of the Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine through Matthew Kenney's online academy, and to say this was an extraordinary experience would be an understatement.
Of course, the food was fabulous, but it was also very satisfying to learn classical techniques - knife skills, food safety, flavour balancing, plating and presentation - skills that you would learn in any typical culinary training, and with techniques that were applied to raw food. Typically raw food is not heated above 45 degrees C (115 degrees F) to preserve the enzymes in food which are normally destroyed during cooking.
You might think that this would mean going without a lot of things, but it was very inspiring to find new and creative ways to ensure that this food was highly enriching rather than any form of deprivation.
Working through the online academy, I did miss the camaraderie of working in the kitchen with others; however, there is plenty of opportunity for students to connect with each other online, and tutors are incredibly helpful and supportive. Every effort really is made to make students feel as connected as possible.
So, I'm sure you're all dying to know what I learnt - well, I can now safely say that raw food is so much more than just 100 ways to chop lettuce! From tacos to tarts, soups to salads, and everything in between - here's a little glimpse of some of the things we made.
Juices, Smoothies and Almond Milk ...
Blueberry Bee Smoothie
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Beautiful salads ...
Sesame Noodle Salad, with tamari almonds and spicy almond sauce
A simple but delicious Butter Lettuce Salad
Kale Caesar Salad, with rosemary croutons, pine nut "parmesan" crisps and shiitake "anchovies
Seaweed Salad, citrus laden and very fresh
We pickled and fermented ...
We made sushi ...
Nori Rolls with chipotle mayonnaise
Spicy Tuber Hand Rolls with mango chutney
You don't need pasta to make ravioli, lasagne or dumplings ...
Red Beet Ravioli, with cashew cheese filling, pistachio pesto and yellow pepper sauce
Heirloom Tomato Lasagne, with macadamia ricotta, tomato marinara, and pistachio pesto
Kimchi Dumplings, made with coconut wrappers and served with a sesame ginger foam
This Bahian-style soup, was a taste sensation and one of my favourite dishes of the course, and it was the inspiration for this Quick Curry Noodle Soup
Breads, cookies and pancakes didn't escape the raw food treatment either ...
Tostadas with pico de gallo, guacamole, and cacao mole
Portobello Sliders with bbq sauce and caramelised shallots
Sweet Maple Pancakes
Chocolate Chip Cookies
We made cheeses out of nuts ...
Cashew Nut Cheese & Macadamia Ricotta
And, of course, there were sweet treats ...
Banana Chia Chai Pudding
and a Lemon Chamomile Meringue Tart
The course also offered plenty of opportunity for creative expression, giving us the ability to explore our own ideas around the various techniques we learnt. I'll share some of my own creations with you in Part 2 of this story later in the week, along with a glimpse of the dishes I made for my final project.
If you would like some more information about this course, or one of the many other courses offered through the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, please email your contact details to me at yoga(dot)tapas(at)gmail(dot)com, and I'll get in touch with you.