Posts Tagged ‘food love’

Living Light Culinary Institute Kitchen Angel Leslie JonesLeslie Jones is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and currently lives in the woods in Central New York, near Ithaca.  Leslie recently completed Essentials of Raw Culinary Arts™, a five-day hands-on Living Light Culinary Institute course.  After her training, Leslie experienced what it is like to run a raw vegan kitchen when she became a Living Light Kitchen Angel during the Raw Culinary Arts Associate Chef and Instructor Training™ and Pastry Arts-Unbaked! ™ classes.

Chef Experience: How did you get interested in raw foods?
Leslie Jones: I became interested in live foods in late 2001 when I was introduced to the idea by a farmer friend. My partner supported the idea and helped me to research and purchase equipment and supplies by mid 2002. During this time, we were also transitioning from city life to living off the grid (relying predominantly on natural resources like solar power for electricity) in the woods. I was not able to take on two new lifestyle changes at once (while also changing jobs) so we put away our brand new equipment (the Green Life juicer, K-Tec blender, and our Excalibur 4-tray dehydrator still wrapped in its packaging) for another time.

In the Fall of 2010, my mother’s serious medical diagnosis heightened my sense of urgency to become as self sufficient with my health (and that of my family) as I am with my living conditions. I was also experiencing increasing difficulties with my digestion of cooked food and other health challenges. For the next year I studied with Queen Afua, a holistic health practitioner in Brooklyn, and she offered me a transitional road map towards live foods.

CE: How long have you been eating raw food diet?
LJ: I have been eating high raw (90% – 100%) since December 2010.

CE: How has raw foods changed your life?
LJ: Eating live foods has connected me to all life on the planet, and it has been a life-changing experience. Even though I am in my 10th year living in the woods in almost full reliance (about 75%) on the natural world, before I committed to a raw diet I was still disconnected. Live foods allowed me to expand my consciousness and to connect with the truth of who I am and the reason why I am on the planet. I will be starting a sustainable farming certificate program in April when I return home, and I am looking forward to building an even stronger connection to the land as I learn how to grow more of my own food and appreciate/identify the natural “grocery store/pharmacy” that surrounds me in the woods.

CE: How did you find out about Living Light Culinary Institute?
LJ: I found Living Light while looking for raw recipes on the internet, and then two people I know entered the Hot Raw Chef contest in 2011. Another friend from high school I connected with on Facebook (who I did not even know was interested in raw food) mentioned the Kitchen Angel program to me in September last year.

CE: What made you decide to become a Kitchen Angel?
LJ: I want to learn as much as I can about live foods because I engage in community work regarding sustainable lifestyle choices. When I called Living Light International to ask about the program (following an e-Newsletter announcement) and share my overall vision for community transformation, Karen suggested that I do a combination of culinary study with the Kitchen Angel program. It was an excellent suggestion and I am blessed that it all worked out. The basic culinary and nutrition classes followed by the hands-on applications in the LLCI kitchen has been life changing!

CE: What is your typical day as a Kitchen Angel?
LJ: A typical day as a Kitchen Angel involves being ready and able to do what is necessary to support the kitchen staff and instructors in supporting the students. From helping to prep for breakfast or lunch, to putting away produce orders, to keeping the kitchen and studio towels clean and properly stored, to gathering the raw materials for mis en place, to watching culinary demos, to cleaning up the kitchen after a productive day of preparing tasty raw foods… each day is unique and offers many opportunities for personal and professional growth and development.

CE: What do you like most about being an angel?
LJ: I liked the variety of each day offered (based on the diversity inside the culinary curriculum). I loved interacting with the kitchen staff, who were very supportive of my interest in learning and experiencing all that I could. I was encouraged to explore every opportunity available to me to build my skills in live foods preparation. I felt like a part of the team! I also enjoyed engaging with the students at lunch, during the culinary demos, and back at the Inn.

CE: What are your plans after you leave Living Light?
LJ: I am the co-founder/co-director of a nonprofit that has been implementing a constituency-led criminal/environmental justice initiative for under-served communities since 2004. Drawing from our experience using healthy food as a gateway to a larger conversation on social justice and sustainable living, we recently ended a 2-year, national biodiesel/veggie-oil bus tour which culminated in a solar-powered, vegan farm-to-fork dinner in Detroit with local foods, kids cooking, and culinary-related multi-media arts. Beginning in April 2012, we will be offering food demonstrations to youth/adults/seniors that will include the science behind plant-based nutrition; community cooking classes; farm/garden tours; recipes as remedies to encourage overall wellness and vitality; and, food shopping trips. Eventually, we want to collaborate with the local alternative/integrative medicine community, our regional food justice network and area restaurants, local/county drug courts, organic farmers around the state, and rural school districts. Our work supports raising the general public’s awareness of the causal connection between diet and disease to encourage connecting the dots between personal power, personal purpose, and planetary peace.

CE: You have an interesting way of reducing your carbon footprint, living off the grid. Can you share what that is?
LJ: My partner and I left city life for rural living off grid – solar power (for electricity), wood heat (for warmth), well water (for life), composting toilets (for health and wealth), family farming (for local/organic food), and waste vegetable oil/biodiesel (for fuel) – in 2002 to learn from the natural world how to develop practical strategies for manifesting abundance, clarity, and well-being in all aspects of our lives, and for community empowerment.

CE: What made you did you decide to live off the grid?
LJ: My partner and I wanted to experience a stronger bridge between the woods and our hoods through sustainable and self-determined lives in balance with the natural world when it comes to food, clothes, shelter, and community. Since moving off-grid, we have created a national network for people of color to promote living unplugged (renewable energy, permaculture, dry toilets, community food security, cooperative economics, rainwater collection, holistic medicine, composting and recycling, grey water systems, green building) while maintaining our cultural identities and power as people shifting our consciousness and renewing our spirits in honor of our ancestors and future generations.

CE: How long have you been living this way?
LJ: This September, we will celebrate 10 years living on the land. Living off grid does not mean that we live in total isolation. It just means that we have the unique opportunity to live more aligned with the natural world… and encourage others (through our example) to do the same!

CE: Is it easy eating raw and living off the grid?
LJ: It is easier in the warmer months, but still very doable even when it is cold. Eating in season makes eating raw on the East Coast interesting, and encourages creativity and flexibility. For example, being off grid means that my raw food preparation equipment (blender, dehydrator, food processor) is solar powered. In the Winter when there is less Sun, my ability to use these tools is dependent upon the amount of solar power available in balance with my other electrical needs. As a result, I dehydrate much less from November through February… but I find that during those months I am much more creative and open in thinking about my options to create tasty and healthy food.

CE: What advice can you offer those who would like to incorporate more raw foods into their life?
LJ: Start when you are ready; love yourself during your transition; and, add live foods to your menu planning in the amount (and with the regularity) that will support your success… and define success for yourself! We are all different and unique. No size fits all… so do what works for you and your lifestyle. Shifts are infinite, and health and wealth are lifetime journeys that support dynamic processes of growth and development in our lives. Be flexible and eat to live while you enjoy and savor every experience!

If you would like further information on attending Living Light classes or becoming a kitchen angel, please call an Enrollment Advisor 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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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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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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