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Posts Tagged ‘cherie soria’

Raw Food Chef and Instructor Nina CurtisNina Curtis, Founder and President of The Nile Institute in West Hollywood, CA, has over 25 years experience in the professional personal care and wellness industry. She is a well-respected Holistic Esthetician, certified Natural Health Professional, certified Health and Wellness Coach, certified Health and Fitness Professional and now a certified Living Light Institute Associate Chef and Instructor.

Get to know Nina Curtis in Living Light’s Chef Spotlight.
Chef Experience: How did you get interested in raw foods?
Nina Curtis: My journey with raw food started 12 years ago. I was ready for something new in my life. I jumped in feet first, read every book available, took every class I could find, with the best of the best, throughout Los Angeles, attended potlucks, lectures and traveled miles to eat at raw food restaurants.

CE: Are you currently eating a raw food diet? If so, how long have you been eating raw foods?
NC: I am currently eating an 80/20 raw, vegan food diet, (80% raw, plant-based foods). Three years into my all raw food diet, my acupuncturist told me that my ‘earth’ element needed some warmth. Always, one to let the pendulum swing, I said, “What the heck?” I listened to him and began eating cooked grains and other cooked carbs… I now concentrate on being a ‘Conscious’ plant-based eater, as I don’t like ‘labels’ and I like to listen to what my body needs.

CE: How has raw foods changed your life?
NC: It’s made me realized the power behind the quote, “Let food be thy medicine”. I love trying as many new plant-based foods as I can get my hands on as variety is key with this food style!

CE: When did you know that you wanted to be a raw vegan chef?
NC: Once I realized that so many of my family, friends and clients where more interested in this way of eating and they trusted my experiences. I wanted to really be able to prepare gourmet meals that would appeal to all of their senses.

CE: How did you find out about Living Light Culinary Institute?
NC: Many of the people I took classes from early on in my journey had studied with Cherie Soria and that was before Living Light moved to Fort Bragg. I knew when the time was right I would attend Living Light as it is the premiere raw food culinary school of choice!

CE: When deciding on a school, what were the major factors that played a part in your decision? What were you looking for?
NC: The quality of training is key; I likened it to my decision to attend Pepperdine University for my MBA. I wanted to attend a school that was not only on the cutting edge, but could offer me ‘real’ time experience. I wanted personal attention to my specific needs and goals, and the success of previous graduates was also important to me. When I looked at what many of the graduates of the Living Light Culinary Institute were accomplishing, and so many are accomplishing great and exciting things, I knew this was where I wanted to attend school.

Another factor important to me was the emphasis put on chef and instructor skill sets. I am a business owner, teacher, writer and lecturer in the spa and wellness industry and my certification as a Raw Culinary Arts Associate Chef and Instructor, allows me to expand my business offerings in many innovative ways! I am working on a rebranding of my business and there are some very exciting things to come!

CE: What was your first week at the Living Light Culinary Institute like?
NC: It was fast paced, lots of learning and teaming up with people from all over the continent. There was no messing around! We jumped right in and started making all kinds of dishes. I loved it!

CE: What is your favorite dish that you have created so far?
NC: I really enjoyed so many dishes, but if I have to narrow it down to one, I would say it’s been the Mediterranean Dolmas as it’s a favorite food of mine.

Living Light Mediterranean mealCE: What was so special about this particular dish?
NC: I had pretty much given ‘traditional’ dolmas up as I did not want the rice it contained. When I saw that we were going to make it in class with zucchini as a rice replacement, I was a bit skeptical? I thought, let’s just leave well enough alone but I was pleasantly surprised that the mouthfeel of the zucchini was much like the rice. I’m enjoying making it at home, along with the savory zucchini hummus!

CE: Which Living Light courses are you most looking forward to taking? Why?
NC: Armed with the Living Light Culinary training that I currently have, I am really looking forward to attending the Gourmet series, especially the ‘Rawfusion Spa Cuisine’. This is right up my alley as I am in the spa industry and I will be able to offer this specialty to many spas across the globe. It fits so well with my current consulting and training services and I think more consumers and spas want to learn about this style of cuisine.

CE: What was your typical day at school like?
NC: I was up at about 5:30 a.m. each morning and I volunteered to work in the kitchen at 7:30 am before class started every chance I got (you learn so much by observing the management operations of the kitchen). Green smoothies were served at 8:45am and Instructor training commenced at 9 a.m. By 10 a.m. we started our demos and hands on, which continued all the way through to gastronomy and lunch. More demos and hands on after lunch with the day ending with gastronomy and facility management. Don’t think I’m done yet, as we had plenty of home work; reading, research and recipe development to complete. I think that the lights went out in my room on average by midnight. This program is not a vacation. What you put into it, you get out of it!

CE: What do you like most about attending Living Light?
NC: The team at Living Light, including the teachers, administrators and advisors are truly passionate about what they do and they are sincerely interested in each ‘student’s success. I was very impressed that Cherie Soria, the founder of Living Light, was very involved with our training when she was in town. She is truly the Mother of Raw Gourmet Cuisine, she taught classes, was very hands on in our development and she is a stickler for detail and perfection! I truly appreciated that. I feel that I have received a strong foundation to continue to build on.

CE: What is the most challenging?
NC: Having to leave until next time…

CE: Where do you see yourself after graduation from Living Light Culinary Institute?
NC: I am currently working on my business plan to include; offering lectures, workshops, writing and private and business consultation. I am ‘breaking where I am the strongest’, as they say, in the spa industry and then I plan to expand from there.

Nina Curtis at Living Light Culinary InstituteCE: What advice do you have for anyone thinking about a career in the raw foods?
NC: I think it’s important to identify your passion and be clear on what you want, not what others want of you. I love teaching, so my emphasis will be on teaching about the raw food lifestyle, through many different mediums.

CE: Do you have any exciting projects in the works?
NC: Yes, I am very excited as I will be speaking to a group of about 150 spa owners, directors, and estheticians on the benefits of a raw food, plant-based diet. I want people to really start thinking about beauty and wellness from the inside out and what that truly means? “You Are What You Eat” and “Eat Right for Your Skin Type” concepts. When I started my raw food journey 12 years ago, people looked at me with a ‘raised brow’, now some of those same people are interested with what I have to say, that’s exciting!

CE: Where do you see yourself five years from now and what path will you take to get there?
NC: I love to plan but I’ve also learned to stay open to the Universe. I have a lot of ideas which I look forward to bring to fruition such as authoring a couple of books, raw food travel and possibly a line of ‘skin food’.

I constantly remind myself that, “I’m not in a hurry for anything, but on time for everything!” ~Nina Curtis

The Nile Institute 620 1/2 North Doheny Drive West Hollywood, CA 90069 310-275-NILE (6453) http://www.styleseat.com/ninacurtis

 
If you would like further information on attending Living Light classes, please call an Enrollment Specialist at 707-964-2420

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Over the next two months, Living Light will be taking its FUNdamentals class on the road. This class is the foundation of all our other classes – our flagship, as we like to call it. It’s absolutely packed with information about raw culinary arts and is designed to give anyone the base upon which to make a lifestyle change to whole, living, planet friendly foods. But is this base enough?

Most recently, we took FUNdamentals to San Diego where it was taught by two of our shining stars: Alicia Ojeda and Brenda Hinton. I spoke with one of our recent graduates, Kristen Johnson, about her experience both at the class in San Diego and how it led her to Living Light. Kristen grew up in San Diego, so she combined a trip to see her family with the opportunity to give Living Light a try. She and a friend attended the class and were impressed with both of the instructors’ knowledge and love for Living Light. Alicia brought the history to life while Brenda explained how the school works and what it can do for you. Both Kristen and her friend left the class with a kindled passion for raw foods – and Kristen with the intention to learn more.

Kristen is now a certified Associate Raw Food Chef and Instructor and Raw Pastry Chef. When she returned home to Brooklyn, New York after the FUNdamentals class, she got to work right away – putting her new knowledge into practice. But she knew she needed more. Her journey began at an “on the road” class, and in just a couple months’ time it included a Living Light certification. Fabulous!

Whether you’re as driven as Kristen or if you just want to get your feet wet, keep an eye on our website for a FUNdamentals class on a road near you. It’s a great way to get started and will send you home ready to do your own sprouting, juicing and more. And who knows – it may begin a raw culinary education that will change your life path forever.

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Sunday April 17.

Now, when I am heading home from the culinary paradise Living Light, I have to share one thing with you. I came here very well updated and I work with a lot of raw people that are always a step ahead with all the new things when it comes to raw material. So coming back to the school again, 6 years after my graduation, and joining a class, I honestly did not know what to expect. And I have to say: I am soooo amazed how well updated they are at the school. They have their “heels” where most of us have our “toes” when talking about raw materials in raw food. I enjoyed every minute of my stay, and I learned more than I could ever imagine.

 My return to the school was a 50 years birthday gift from friends and family and it was the best gift ever! I’m going home with my head filled with sooo many new ideas. And with some of them I could not wait and already tried out at the Living Light Inn kitchen where I stayed. To all you graduated students: I really encourage you to come back and update your knowledge and get new inspiration. It is every minute and penny’s worth. I am so grateful!  Thank you Cherie, you are the best. Martine and Vinnette, you take teaching to a new level, helping us to take our ideas out of our heads and plate them beautifully on the dish spiced with LOVE. And the biggest bonus is:  lots and lots of new lifelong friends. To all the staff and kitchen angels: TAKK¨*•.¸¸☼ (means “thank you” in Icelandic).

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Today is  graduation day and it is such a special day. Although I’m looking forward to going home to see my family and friends, I’m finding it hard to say goodbye to all of my new Living Light family. Most of the students are feeling emotional in a beautiful way. We are all going home with our heads filled with new ideas and we’re excited to try the many new things we’ve learned. At the same time we’re grateful for the memories we’ll keep in our hearts forever, and we all feel just a little bit sad to be separating from new found friends. Graduation is a beautiful and touching time for all of the students, and the graduation cake was THE BEST EVER¨*•.¸¸☼  It took us all to another dimension, and the recipe was all organic + RAW with a most important secret ingredient: lots and lots of LOVE!graduation cake

Yuka – from Japan – living in Australia

I heard about raw foods from one of my Yoga students. I’ve had an amazing time here at Living Light, and especially loved all of the hands on experience!

Ophelia – from Hong Kong

I was not raw or vegan before I came to Living Light but I decided to give myself this trip for my 48th birthday. I’ve loved this trip. It’s been the most memorable in my life and I will miss everyone so much.

Hristina – from Bulgaria

A very close friend of mine cured herself from leukemia about 2 years ago and told me that the miracle that helped her do it was eating raw food. This completely changed my life for good. I started making more raw food meals at home, using every opportunity to learn more from books, TV shows, and the internet. Living Light is the greatest experience I’ve had in my life. I just love everything here.

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Enchiladas con Chile Colorado

At Living Light, the students connect in a very beautiful and special way. Here you find like minded people on a similar track in life. I am from Iceland, and now, 6 years later, I still have contact with several of the students and teachers I met when I came here the first time. In them I’ve made lifelong friends. Some have been to visit me and we’ve taught classes together, and some are staying in touch on Facebook or by e-mail. All the rest have their place in my heart. One of the wonderful things about the Associate Chef course, is that we experience amazing international dishes with students from all over the world.

DolmasFirst dish is Enchiladas with Chili Colarado sauce, and the next are Greek Dolmas and Horiatiki….mmmm goodness from the raw food kitchen. We certainly enjoy sharing the wonderful good together, and repeat the Living Light “family prayer” before each meal.

Through this food and this family

We give ourselves strength to hold ourselves high

In the Light that surrounds us

And is within us

For this is the water

Of the Spring of Life!

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There are students from all over the world at the Living Light Associate Chef and Instructor Training.  That is a very good news for RAW food lovers around the world, because these students will take the knowledge and experience back to their homes and communities. It is so beautiful to see RAW culinary wisdom spread like a wave on a water all around the world.  THANK YOU Cherie for being such a great and inspiring pioneer for all of us¨*•.¸¸☼

I was curious to know more about our foreign friends. When did they first hear about RAW food? Where did they hear about Living Light, and what are they learning while here at school ?

Szymon from Poland Currently  living in Australia

I first heard about raw food when I was living in Cusco, Peru. A lifelong bowel problem was flaring up and causing bloating and intestinal pain, when a friend suggested a raw food diet. I had been traveling through Peru for almost nine months, learning from various ‘curanderos’ or healers, hoping to work with alternative medicine in the future. I had always had a feeling that food could be used as a medicine, so I was very happy to learn that this is what people around the world were doing. Since then, my life has been all about food, and now I am living every day more and more excited about working with good, sustainable food that can help heal our bodies and the body of our planet.

Andree from Belgium Andree Belgium

I heard about raw food 4 years ago in a search to find solutions for my kids’ food allergy problems. I heard about Living Light on the internet and wanted to learn to prepare raw food dishes that would appealing to my whole family. Being here has been an amazing experience. I have been delightfully  surprised by the professional approach here at Living Light.

Astrid from Chile

Astrid from Chile I heard about raw foods in Oregon. People in Eugene love organic produce and I learned about vegan, then fruitarian, and then the raw food diet from Pattie´s Pies at The Country Faire. After my first juice fast  I ate Pattie´s Raw Pies and I felt great. Then a friend died and his mother was looking for positive things for me to do and recommended Living Light.  I decided to give the raw food diet a try and what a better way to start than by coming to the best gourmet raw culinary institute in the world. The school is awesome, and people are very positive here. The staff is very friendly and I would love to work here someday.

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Jennifer Cornbleet

Wednesday April 6.

The day started with Living Light Chef Jennifer Cornbleet and her talk about marketing your classes and building  your client base.  I took the class in 2005 and thought it was good then. But 6 years later I realized how brilliant this talk is. This is absolutely wonderful and important information she is sharing, and to be very realistic, the truth is that it definitely works if you are willing to make the effort.

Zoom Burger

The students started to create their demos. They will be the chefs and raw food educators of the future, and the people who are going to carry the message and inspire people on the healthy path of raw cuisine and nutrition. The students were absolutely wonderful. I really was amazed. Then Cherie herself appeared.

cherie fruits of the mother

She is the First Lady of raw foods and¨she presented a perfect demo. While watching her, I realized why the students are doing so beautifully. They are getting a great and professional education and training while staying at the school, and that is provided with so much love and care. It is the perfect mixture to create the best results for each student.

The menu for lunch was:

Spinach Mushroom Quiche with salad & sprouts & Red Pepper Remoulade. This was way above my expectations and my taste buds made a trip straight to heaven…….:)* Speaking about the food, the evening menu was also delicious:  Zoomburgers with Hot Mustard, Cashew Mayo, Ketchup, Onion Rings, and Kale Coleslaw. All prepared by Living Light students, and totally the worth living for! I’m already looking forward to another day in this culinary Paradise.

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