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Posts Tagged ‘raw food school’

All Raw, All Good!

When I moved from New York a couple years ago, I felt like I was escaping the rat race, the concrete jungle felt like it – along with its loud noises – was beating me down. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely LOVE New York.. but you have to understand I’m an outdoorsy gal, who loves to be in nature. True Central Park gave an immediate outlet but you still could hear sirens and such. So my move to California was desperately needed for me to grow and learn more about self-care and my own health. That transformation happened and is still happening in California. Everyone always asks me which I like better NY or CA.. they are apple and

Super Savory and all raw

oranges to me – both beautiful and radiant in their own way.

Being raw and surviving raw is quite easy when you are living in the mecca of health in Santa Monica. Even the Whole foods has one aisle of raw, not to mention whatever pro-biotic drink you’d like. The Coop has “ready to go” raw meals and there are 5 raw restaurants within 5 miles of the beach. Yes, it’s the easy spot. New York however, I knew would be different. New York you can find thousands of tiny restaurants each serving up wonderful specialty items.. and they are all within walking distance. So to get residents of the big apple to stop for just  a second and think about what they are putting in their mouth, well, I knew it would be a challenge.. but you know me, challenge is my middle name!

Promoting Raw at Equinox, New York City

Annie, my wonderful friend who’s been helping get Raw Trips off the ground, had set up demos at Equinox gyms all over manhattan – from early morning until late at night,  I sat behind a table and urged love through smoothies, granola protein bars with goji berries and lovely kale chips. It was a case of human behavior. First the look, the swing wide in their path to the gym, enough to take a gander what was on the table. Then maybe a stop in or a “I’ll come back”. Most always come back. First off, humans in the US never turn down free food. I think everyone works sooo hard, that when they see something for free, whether they want it or not, they jump in as a present. I’m confident enough to know that once they get a taste, they’ll want more. And so it goes. Little by little, questions came, another taste, some more questions – yes – interest is there, especially when you start explaining how raw food gives you raw energy and will take your workouts over the edge! Gyms, I haven’t been in one for years – I’d rather ride bikes, run on the beach, go to yoga studio.. but in NYC I completely believe in them for a good solid workout. There’s way too much traffic and way too many people on the streets to get a good workout in sometimes. Not to mention, New York in August, hot an humid!
The biggest positive reaction came from the Equinox down in SoHo.. I mean they were yearning for information. I have to share this funny story with you. Soooo.. we had a table set up in the lobby… directly across from us was another free sampling of a new Vodka. We couldn’t be more opposites.. almost come to the lights side away from the dark side kind of thing. As soon as I got the table set up – it was swarmed. It did my heart good to look at see so many people at my table and the poor vodka guy was alone. To me, it was another sign from the universe that yes indeed, sharing knowledge about raw food, whole food, natural food in a natural state is part of  my journey. Oh yea, of course I took some yummy raw treats over to the vodka guy.. and he loved them!!!

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I finally – by popular demand – started some raw food classes down here in Vilcabamba. It’s such a sweet and conscious minded community, I

The gang right on task!

am honored to be helping these lovely individuals learn some new skills on their way to optimum health.

Word started getting around town that I was a gourmet raw food chef. Actually I think it was catering the Raw Food World Conference that helped introduce Jan and I to the ex-pat and Ecuadorian community. Once they tasted what we can do, they are ready to listen and learn… one of those idealistic times to teach. I decided a 4-class series would be a good introduction.. and I wanted them to be a celebration, so Friday evening, it was “Raw and Ready” time. Although I have non of my own yet, children are of utmost importance to me. I want to teach them and hopefully change the bad pattern that’s happening all over the world. Children today are a product of the knowledge we grew up on. We thought we were doing right, we thought we could trust that great information was getting past onto us. I now know that wasn’t so.. and still isn’t. If I’ve learned anything on my journey toward optimum health, it’s been think for yourself. Read and investigate all you can, then experiment and settle somewhat on an opinion, with full rights to change at any moment in time. I made sure my clients know that children always come free.  I had many of my friends bring

Casiopia was the best roller in the class

their Ecuadorian friends and employees too. My Spanish is not so good.. but I appreciate the

Fernanda & little bold Amar.. the youngest raw student

challenge and they appreciate my effort. It’s been a couple weeks now worth of classes and I look forward to every one of  them. What a fantastic set of energy that lands in the house every Friday night. All happy, open and loving. Our first week was a quick introduction where I taught my personal favorite breakfast.. a green drink extra-ordinaire. My motto is stick everything and anything you can in your mouth at all times of the day. Seriously, it’s the color of the milenium! It’s the only way to optimum health. I also taught them wonderful nut milk, kale salad and some other goodies.

The next week  I met guests with  challenge of  stuffed mushrooms, wraps and sushi. I honestly only believe in hands-on when it comes to raw food prep. The entire experience is one of texture, feel and balance. Although many people are aware and LOVE wraps, those rice papers and nori sheets can be intimidating and difficult without proper instruction. This is one of the classes I find (more…)

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Celebrating with Miyumi

Shizouka is one of those cities off the beaten tourist track, but I’m not here to sight see – although I did take an afternoon to go stare at Mt. Fuji (see my “Au Naturel” blog kirstengum.com). I’m here to teach a class for my student and friend Miyumi. Miyumi has a food studio called “Anne Duex”

Food Studio, Shizouka, Japan

where she regularly teaches raw and vegetarian cooking courses. It’s named after her nickname “Anne” which I refused to call her and her cute little pup named “Duex”. Talk about a great facility, this woman has really put some time, effort and money into her studio. A commercial kitchen with two big stainless steal working tables and a cute little reception area. She’s also planning on opening up her own raw food restaurant in Shizouka some time in the spring.

I felt like I was in heaven. Truly I wish I owned a facility like this to teach classes in every week, no

Fantastic Studio to teach in!

more lugging all my ingredients to random places.. just bring the students here – it’s awesome and I’m completely jealous and happy for her at the same time. Miyumi and I decided not to do a dessert course but a recipe quick and easy – and of course healthy. She had a potluck party planned after my demonstration. When we arrived she had two assistants there to help me get prepped… what? help? I’m in heaven!! Students started arriving early so they could prep their own creations for the party.

I taught them (more…)

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IMG_4459So today was a test like no other — to cater a gourmet lunch for the public. Yes, a paid gig – not that we see the money. Our payment is in the experience. It was a huge hit. I may be weird because I love this kind of thing. To me, it’s just like working in television. It’s a production and has to be treated like a production. You need everyone to have their “game faces” on. Every item needs to be double checked, every dish scrutinized before heading out to a table. And you have to be right on time. A wise friend told me a very long time ago when I was just starting out in TV.. when you appear in front of a group, you must own it, make it all yours. That’s what me and my fellow chefs did. We owned it. Not just in the amazing food we made them, but in the presentation, the explanation, the table settings, the menus… we were like rock stars in our own head. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t all that. But after spending three days preparing the 4 course meal with every ounce of love we had, it was a pleasure to see the smiles form throughout the room. I was in charge of the dessert. My friend Sydney and I had spent hours delicately putting each layer together. A lovely apple and walnut Baklava. Cutting it without it falling IMG_4498apart took a steady hand. I just kept saying to  myself, I do this with love. I want to infuse this blessed dessert with all the love I can — and oh yeah universe can you please keep all the layers together? Please, pretty please let this knife slice right through it with ease. Please let the apples all stay in line. Lot’s of concentration – but it was worth it. The crowd loved it and I have to say (more…)

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The 5 gringo RAW tamale makers

The 5 gringo RAW tamale makers

Wow did I take a chance with my recipe today. So we are working on cutting the fat waaaaay down this week and our challenge is to only have less than 30% fat in an entire 5 course meal. Extremely tough when you start analyzing how much fat we consume in one day. Oh, don’t worry it’s scary, just not as scary when you are a raw foodie. I may have mentioned in these advance classes we only get 7 ingredients for the entire menu too. They want us to think outside the box. That’s what I did.

I decided to make all RAW Tamales without using corn, avocado, tomatoes your usual Mexican stuff. What did I have to work with??? Cauliflower. Yep that white flowerhead vegetable which is related to the cabbage family. It has a distinct taste and texture — which I decided to make smooth and creamy like the maiz of a tamale. This was a very labor intensive dish made with big love from a very dedicated team. The class voted my entree in. I was surprised how many wanted to try to work on this creation. Honestly it felt like one step away from disaster. I mean in my head it all should work with the right binders and processing —

RAW creation

RAW creation

 again WITHOUT cooking. I really just jumped out on a ledge with this ambitious meal. We had 90 minutes to make it. Just as I was starting to doubt that the recipe in my head and now on paper could actually work, one of my assistant Chef’s Sherri from Texas leaned over and said the angelic words I needed to hear. “I’m so thrilled to be on your team because you always come up with the most inventive dishes. I’m honored to work for you.” You talking to me sista? Cause I’m about to have a breakdown as I lead my team of 5 down a tamale torcher fest!! She’s the best. She wanted to work with me and was willing to do whatever it took to make this recipe succeed. This is the type of comraderie  that happens in culinary school. It’s like going into food battle. You need a good team and we all need to be on the same page before we get to the kitchen. From the get go, I told everyone we were going to have to work balls-to-the-wall for our entire time. I laid (more…)

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