Watching Food Network is one of my guilty pleasures. Most of the dishes featured on the various shows are not healthy in anyway – my belief because I look for how much life is on my plate (I don’t count calories). The main objective for each chef is to achieve great flavor, certainly a noble endeavor for any chef.
My passion for tasty food is neck and neck with my passion for moviemaking and when I first heard about the raw food lifestyle I didn’t even consider taking it up myself. I was like most people – all I could think of was sprouts, apple slices, or a crudite. I am a chef and a foodie – that would never work for me as a lifestyle!
My mind changed completely after a delicious meal at a restaurant in Santa Cruz. All of the menu items seemed innocent and like something you could get at any restaurant… but my first bite of hummus with a pita bread of indescribable, luscious flavor and texture had me floored. By the time I had the delicious “Yogurt” Parfait for dessert I just had to know…
“What on Earth did they put in this food??”
Ha! That’s precisely what it was: Foods of the Earth! It was a couple of months later in New York City that I discovered what was the “secret” behind that amazing food. My friend, who was in the midst of a completely raw food cleanse, showed me a few of his new “uncook” books and that’s when I looked back on my amazing culinary experience in Santa Cruz and realized what I had eaten. As I leafed through the pages of a whole new world full of decadent desserts with macadamia nut crusts, pasta made from coconut meat, chocolate mousse made from Avocado; my experience in Santa Cruz and the understanding of how to recreate it flooded into my body like sunlight.
After I became a raw food chef I quickly realized that my years of experience as a cook were invaluable for creating and recreating the tastes I loved from my childhood; as well as new, elegant gourmet dishes to impress anyone whether they were “health conscious” or not. I also discovered that flavors often pair very well together when there is a synergistic or alchemical relationship between ingredients; example: cinnamon, which helps to balance blood sugar, and sweets (cinnamon toast, apple pie, blueberry cobbler – YUM!)
Now, when I watch celebrity chefs on the Food Network, I imagine how great their contribution to the raw lifestyle would be. I would love to see their health improve… but imagine what “healthy food” could become with some of the greatest foodie minds on this kick.
Here are the top chefs I’d love to see raw…
||Ina Garten, from the Food Network TV show Barefoot Contessa, is really a classy and savvy lady. Her attention to high quality ingredients is like no other. She often does use local produce and the highest quality ingredients… then she takes these ingredients home and bakes, sautes, or fries the life out of them. Fresh produce and fruits have their own sugar and salt and these flavors stay robust and alive when they are treated with love. Delicious breads, chips, cupcakes or cookies for the dehydrator could easily replace her beloved cobblers, cakes, and baguettes (at least some of the time).|
|Bobby knows flavors, and he certainly knows marinades – there’s a delicate balance between salty, sweet, and sour. He understands how these flavors evolve when heated or cooked because he such a master with the grill. These are the same considerations for the dehydrator, but instead of extreme heat for a short time, you let the food’s texture and flavor develop for hours at a much lower temperature. I can really see him making some delicious cruciferous veggie (broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage) dishes, which are most delicious and digestible when marinated… how about his take on barbecued eggplant (much like steak when marinated and dehydrated) with a delicious “Asian” style coleslaw (creamy with cashew “mayonaise”). Hey! I wanna try that 😉||
||Nigella! – You’re a hottie and we want you to stay that way! Nigella is like Ina in that she knows her ingredients and how they go together in the most efficient and effective way. She’s keen on as, few ingredients as possible, which is a great mindset to have with raw living foods. With every ingredient you’re thinking how do I hit as many notes of texture, flavor balance, nutritional value, digestibility, and aesthetics as possible? This type of thinking also cuts down the prep time and the cost of a raw, living foods lifestyle – another high note|
Guess you could say I have a dream… that one day I will be able to watch a television station of healthy hotties teaching me how to heal myself with delicious foods.