I want 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.
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’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.
That said, it wasn’t 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 – such as biscotti, panna cotta, ice creams and cakes even cheeses, chutneys and smoked foods like coconut bacon.
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?
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 and I am one of very few people in the world to have completed Matthew’s Professional Applications (Level 3) programme. If you don’t know Matthew, he founded Pure Food and Wine in New York and MAKE in Santa Monica, and currently has Plant Food and Wine in Venice, CA, White Lotus Miami and The Gothic in Belfast Maine. I worked the Gothic in Maine after my training and I am really proud to say that I have trained with the best.
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.
In 2012, I combined my interests as a lifelong passionate foodie with a keen interest in a raw plant-based diet to found Deliciously Raw. I now manage and teach at the Deliciously Raw Culinary School 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, two exuberant deerhounds and a cat that tolerates all of us.
I have a culinary studio in Longhope where I run my one to one sessions and develop and test new ideas.
If you are interested in such things: I’m a Qualified Chef in Advanced Raw and Living Cuisine, a qualified coach and change practitioner, I hold 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.