Last Friday marked the end of our second week at Matthew Kenney Culinary. We still have two more to go and the best recipes are yet to be covered: Raw vegan cheeses and chocolate!!! How about that?! For every soul outthere who uses "addiction to cheese and chocolate" as a reason not to go vegan, that excuse has reached its expiration date my friends. NO VALIDA anymore! Honestly guys... possibilities are endless! We can pretty much make any non-vegan recipe vegan and even raw vegan.
A few things you should know about MKC's Raw Vegan Cuisine courses:
-You don't have to be a raw vegan or vegan (there's probably only two or three vegan students out of the 12 of us in class), a food expert, or a Chef (I've never taken a cooking class in my life!) to take this course. You just have to have the right attitude and be serious about it since you'll be surrounded by people who are actually looking to become Chefs. You are expected to wear your Chef uniform at all times, have your hair tied up and nails clean (no polish), do dishes, clean your station and be present in class every day from 8-2. Yes! You are a student again and expected to show respect towards your teachers and classmates, and take exams almost every Friday. I know I know... I freaked out too but the minute we started going over the recipes and the MKC methodology I immediately knew I had made the right choice.
Let's start with the MKC methodology:
-A raw vegan cuisine course (no animal bi-products are used and no ingredient is heated over 115F to preserve enzymes and nutrients)
-Any leftovers of ingredients or recipes you don't want to take home go directly into the compost bin, which is later given to the school across the street to be used for their soil.
-MKC works only with local farmers
-EVERYTHING is made from scratch (nothing processed, chemical or toxic)
-Colors are everything & you can create masterpieces on your plate (my favorite part!)
-Their restaurant "Plant Food & Wine" (below the MKC "lab" on Abbot Kinney) grows its own herbs and flowers.
And I could go on for hours but let's just leave it at Matthew Kenney Culinary had me at hello!
Something else I've practiced a lot throughout the past two weeks is meditation/patience, discipline and "ahimsa". Three things I was not expecting to encounter while cooking. The whole discipline concept starts with me getting up every day around 5.30/6am. I haven't done that since I left the corporate world almost 8 months ago! To be honest, a part of me is loving it! I get to enjoy my morning coffee in LA's cold sunrise temperatures, walk Coco around Venice, practice yoga, make myself a Vanilla Chai vegan protein shake, and then head out to class, which is only an 8-minute walk from where I'm staying. Now, meditation and patience...two tricky words that are inseperable. I had my first encounter with patience the day we were told we would have to practice our knife skills (and exact cut measurements) on veggies and fruits for 60 minutes. Right there I knew it! Patience would be key. And the beautiful part about patience is that, once you've accepted and befriended it, meditation follows and takes over your body out of the blue. Specially in cuisine where you NEED to be fully present while cutting, cooking and plating. If you are not there- patiently- and you don't connect with the veggies, fruits, colors, and scents not only will you be missing an incredible experience but you won't be able achieve the results you are looking for.
And lastly, "ahimsa". As most of you yogis might know, "ahimsa" means non-harm in Sanskrit. And believe it or not, is the name I've given my knife. I've realized that if I treat my knife (above all its blade) with proper care, respect and love, it will show the same respect, love and care towards me. As crazy and funny as it may sound, I haven't cut myself a single time throughout the past two weeks. Let's hope this love affair grows strong!
Now that I've covered all those points, here are some of the recipes I learned last week. :)
ps: To read more about Week 1 at MKC or to find out more about their courses, click here.