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Archive for January, 2011

Our Associate Chef and Instructor Training is finished  for this session, and I’ m sad to see it go.  It was a great time with a really fun group!  I know that they will put their training to good use –  some of them are already beginning!

Official Class Photo with Instructors Cherie Soria, Amber West and Martine Lussier

Chef and Instructor Graduate Stephanie Schlosser

Super ambitious Stephanie Schlosser not only completed all of her homework assignments and prepared for her demo, but also managed to post a culinary video in our Hot Raw Chef Sweet Valentine Video Recipe Contest.  I’ve posted her video below so that you can see what a great job she’s done.  She also teaches raw food classes to children. Check out her ideas and recipes!

Another impressive student is Ayana Medley, owner of 

Chef and Instructor Graduate Ayana

 Sassy Chef.  Ayana is already a classically trained vegan chef.  She specializes in healthy vegan versions of traditional comfort food.  Ayana came to Living Light in order to learn more about raw vegan foods so that she can incorporate them into her business!  Now that she’s a Certified Raw Food Associate Chef and Instructor, not only will she be making more great foods, she’s gained more experience and confidence to teach classes as well!

It was great to meet each of our students,  and I look forward to hearing about their continued journey and success stories as they travel the raw food road.

 

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I was so impressed with the student’s demos yesterday!  They all put a lot of effort into becoming great teachers and did an amazing job!  Today they have their big test and then it’s graduation, complete with graduation cake – Chocolate Mousse Tart with Strawberry Coulis.  Yum!

Demo Coordinator Barbaraw excited about her slice of Chocolate Mousse Tart!

Some of our students are staying on for Gourmet Chef Certification for the next three weeks, and some are leaving us to go out into the world and spread the joy of raw foods.  One of our  students,  Alan White, is  doing both.

Chef and Instructor Graduate Alan White

He is dedicated to becoming a teacher, and he’s planning to go home and put his teacher training to use, then return for our Gourmet Raw Food Chef certification program. I’m inspired by his drive and ambition.  Alan has worked on several farms, including a coffee bean and macadamia nut farm in Hawaii.  He will spend some time honing the  chef skills he learned at Living Light while teaching his own classes, and then finish “gourmet” and the Dina’s Science of Raw Food Nutrition Series.  He was very inspired by Jennifer Cornbleet and plans to follow in her footsteps!  I wish him the best of luck in the future!

An After Graduation Group Photo

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The Group Dynamics have certainly changed in class!

Last week the students were struggling a bit, while learning a lot about who they are and how to deal with each others’ personalities. There were some groups who had challenges, and although  everyone in the group would agree that they were growing and learning, there were times when it was tough.  As a teacher I want to guide students and provide structure, while giving them room to develop, thrive, and cultivate their own ideas.

The students rotate groups about once a week. They weren’t supposed to change groups until Tuesday, but by Monday this group was chomping at the bit, so we changed groups early and what a difference it has made!

Yesterday the groups finished 10 minutes early during every hands on session.  Some groups finished 30 minutes early and were  helping other groups.  The students are really happy and working as a team again, and they’ve learned a lot about how to work together in a group setting.  Everyone is smiling today.  This self knowledge is priceless in the work place.  I feel very confident that this group is going to go out into the world and do great things!

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Fruit bowls are complicated things.  My fruit bowl at home is a giant art piece made of many pieces of round metal and  o-rings welded together.  It’s huge, a full foot and a half in diameter at its widest point, which is good as it’s often overflowing with fruit, vegetables, legumes and squash.

When it is full it is vibrant and lush, a welcoming centerpiece on our dining table. Within this cornucopia may be firm produce like broccoli, radishes, and beets.  Denser fruits and vegetables add support to the bottom of the bowl.  There may also be a variety of soft fruits,  like tomatoes, plums and peaches.  These fruits are sweet and bright, a treat for the eye and palate. There are smart veggies that can bend a little here and there to fit in, like beans, peas and small peppers.  Then there are large ones that are hefty and take a lot of space, like butternut squash, melons and onions.  These you must be careful with, because if not placed correctly they will crush something below.  There are others that appear strong and tough, but are really soft on the inside, like avocados and oranges.

If I compare my dining room table to life, then my fruit bowl could be likened to many social situations—a classroom, restaurant, or busy kitchen.  Working with others within the constraints  of social and creative pressures, timelines, and other tricky situations can be challenging. Sometimes we bump each other, sometimes one of us gets moved, and sometimes we get crushed in the melee. But we keep coming back to these situations because when we work together and it’s good, we can create such beauty, and become a part of a really magnificent arrangement! We see that a lot here at Living Light. As our students come together, they learn the lessons of fruit dynamics and life.

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The student catered meal was a total success, with a large turnout of 42 people, including quite a few guests.

Student Chefs Lim Kang and Stephanie Schlosser taking a break to smile for the camera!

The food was great (menu below)  and the event ran  smoothly.  It was such a fun night!  I attended the dinner as a guest, and was able to see it from a completely new perspective.  Many Living Light employees attended, along with some family members of the  students.  Friends and family are always invited to the catered meal, but some of our students travel from far away, and their friends and family aren’t able to make the trip. It’s always exciting to have new visitors for the event.

Instructor Martine Lussier and student Sean Moylan going over the details for dinner

We had a surprise guest, Kimmy Everett, who is a Lifemax Independent Distributor.  She is in town to speak to the students on  Saturday morning about Lifemax’s product MILA and was invited by Cherie.

Student Dawn Bitterman had her son and daughter-in-law as guests.  They’ll be in town for the weekend, visiting from Martinez, California in order to support “Mom”.  They’re actually the reason why Dawn is here at school, since her son got into raw foods and inspired the whole family.  Dawn says that once she tasted raw chocolate mousse she was hooked, and now she’s becoming a raw chef!

Dawn Bitterman and her son at the Catered Meal

It was a beautiful weekend in Fort Bragg, bright, sunny, and surprisingly warm for January, and spirits were bright when guests tasted our delicious menu:

Student Catered Dinner Menu

A Light Mediterranean Menu of Live Organic Foods

Canapé

Golden Flax Shards & Almond Pesto Torte

Starter

Avocado, English Cucumber & Pepper Confetti Atop Chilled Gazpacho Soup

Entrée

Classic Caesar Salad

Organic Romaine Hearts, Tossed with Creamy Caesar Dressing, with Herb Croutons

Beverages

Hibiscus Cooler and Lemony Water

Dessert

Vanilla Ice Cream, Brownie Crumble, Chocolate Sauce, and Raspberry Coulis

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    As we come to the end of the first week of chef the students are a mix of emotions. They’ve been busy all week learning new recipes, working on  demos to present next week, creating new recipes and absorbing information on how to create their own teaching business.   

    Working Hard on the Catered Dinner

    Today is one of the hardest days, but also one of the most fun!  They get to see Jennifer Cornbleet in action, giving a Why Raw? talk to the public, then they’ll enjoy a full brunch, including delicious scones. They’ll watch some talks, get a tour of the Living Light kitchen, and an inside look at how to use the audio/visual equipment at Living Light.  This is all to prepare them for next week when they become the teachers!  Right now they are working on the pinnacle of the week, the student catered meal, which they’ll serve tonight to 40+ guests.  It’s very exciting but also a lot of information to absorb.  I’m very proud of how hard they are working!

    Polishing the Wine Glasses for Dinner

    They are excited!  About the new recipes they’ve developed this week!

    They are organized! For the catered meal tonight!
    They are happy! Because the sun is shining outside!
    They are nervous!  About their demos next week (but they’re gonna be fine)!
    They are energized!  By all of the great tips they received today on how to market themselves!
    They are ready!  For the weekend, because they’ve worked SO hard this last week!

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So I’m back at Living Light this week and the next, shadowing Jennifer Cornbleet and learning to teach Raw Culinary Arts Associate Chef and Instructor Training (which we commonly call “Associate Chef” or just “Chef”). 

I’m really enjoying reconnecting with so many of my favorite and beloved staff at Living Light and meeting the new students and future chefs.   This really interesting thing happened when I was assisting Jenny while she was teaching a demonstration on how to make Not-Tuna Pâté.  I found my mouth salivating and my eyes glazing over as I looked on lustfully at this food.  It’s true that this is one of my favorite recipes, but that was a very odd reaction to something that I’ve made a thousand times.   Later on I found myself getting very excited about bloomed wild rice.  As I went through my various daily tasks I searched to for the roots of this odd enthusiasm.  In the last month or so I’ve been busy, very busy!  In fact, between work, moving and the holidays I haven’t had much play time in the kitchen.  As I’m thinking about this, I’m looking back at the food that I’ve been making lately and I think I’ve been in a rut.  My salads have basically consisted of the same 5 ingredients, and last week I made the same soup 3 nights!  It’s no wonder that I’m drooling over something new!

It’s good to be inspired!  I can’t wait to get home and get cookin’!

First thing I’ll make?  I think I’ll start with some Not-Tuna Pâté!

For those of you interested above is a video of Jenny teaching this recipe on youtube.

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