I started Deliciously Raw to break the myth that raw plant-based food is about eating boring salad and show you can enjoy fabulously indulgent food with many nutritional benefits.
Here’s a bit about my story
I’ve always loved being in the kitchen. It’s always been my favourite room in the home. You really will always find me in the kitchen at parties as I’ve always loved any excuse to make food for a gathering. I find the kitchen a sanctuary and an exciting place to hang out and have conversations. Food is always a great leveller. We all need to eat.
I’m a self-confessed foodie who didn’t like kale
I’ve always been really curious about new tastes and flavours; I love new foods and combinations that I’ve not discovered before. For years I tried to eat a high raw and minimally processed diet, but I kept returning to my most favourite cooked foods. I tried lots of wholefoods and raw foods – and I must admit that a lot of it just left me cold and tasted a little bit ‘worthy’. I knew it was good for me but it didn’t taste great. I wasn’t a massive fan of kale, I thought quinoa was a place and I wasn’t that keen on salad.
Then I thought, well what if I put all the energy and devotion that I have into creating amazing cooked food, into creating amazing raw food instead, what would happen? And something became unleashed.
From Brussel sprout hummus to biscotti
That said, it hasn’t been the easiest of journeys. I’ve made many mistakes along the way – I can tell you that Brussel sprout hummus is hideous. I’ve also had those moments where I’ve watched a raw cheesecake slowly collapse into the tablecloth at a friend’s wedding because I didn’t use the right combination of ingredients for the weather. I thought cheesecake was cheesecake, I didn’t know about setting agents. I also didn’t realise before that you can make pretty much everything raw and from plants.
Now I make delicious dehydrated biscotti, panna cotta with just the right amount of ‘wobble’ and ice creams that give Ben and Jerry’s a good run for their money. I make cakes that really have the same texture as cooked cakes, dairy-free cheeses, fermented chutneys and smoked foods like coconut ‘bacon’. You can learn to make them too.
Quite from feeling like raw food is a lifestyle of deprivation, it has become a lifestyle of infinite possibilities when you have fantastic ingredients and some technical knowledge.
So what changed things for me was learning how to make the most amazing, delicious raw and minimally processed foods that taste so good that people don’t even think about the fact that they are raw. It’s easy to eat these foods when they taste great, don’t you think?
Heading West to follow my dream …
After working in the creative sector for 25 years, I eventually decided to follow my dream to train as a chef at the Matthew Kenney Culinary School in Raw and Living Plant-based Cuisine (previously 105 degrees) in Santa Monica CA. I am one of very few people in the world to have completed Matthew’s Professional Applications programme. Matthew Kenney Cuisine now operates plant-based restaurants in 10 cities internationally. I worked at one of Matthew restaurants in Maine after my training and I am really proud to say that I have trained with the best.
Having definitely caught the plant-food bug, I went on to gain my Advanced Vegan Diploma from Demuths – and my Certificate in Patisserie from Ashburton Cookery School so I could learn the exact science and principles of cooking with heat!
That said, I was never that precise as a home cook, a little bit of this and a splash of that. I still make the splashes and people who work with me now say I need somebody trailing me with a damp cloth. But what I’ve learned though is with much of raw food, you do need to be precise, because flavour balance is so important. The laissez faire attitude I had when throwing cooked food together isn’t quite the same with raw and living cuisine, and you do need to follow some broad brush rules.
…and heading East to face up to my responsibilities…
In 2012, I combined my interests as a lifelong passionate foodie with a keen interest in a raw plant-based diet with 25 experience as a coach and trainer to found the Deliciously Raw Culinary School. I now manage and teach running both hands on and online training teaching the science behind the ingredients, not just recipes, so that you can be creative with your food and develop food that suits your own palate. I also offer one to one sessions and consultancy in menu development for health spas and restaurants.
I live in a rambling cottage in rural Gloucestershire UK with my partner, John and two exuberant deerhounds.
I have a few qualifications: I have a Diploma in Advanced Raw and Living Cuisine with Professional Applications, hold an Diploma in Advanced Vegan Cookery and a Certificate in Patisserie. I am a qualified coach and change practitioner holding a Masters Degree in Change Agents Skills and Strategies from the University of Surrey, a Certified Cultural Transformation Tools Consultant™, hold the Four Fields Foundation Qualification in Transactional Analysis and I have a Certificate in Writing Life Narratives from University of Oxford. I’ve picked up a thing or two along the way.