I wouldn’t say I’m adverse to raw food—I eat a lot of it without trying (especially in the summer), and I’ve had some damn tasty uncooked food. It’s just that over the years—working at a vegan magazine, having lots of encounters with vegans online, having been to several underwhelming and occasionally straight up preachy raw restaurants, I’ve developed a bit of a cynicism toward those who tell me I’m not treating my body right when I opt to steam, roast, and fry my vegetables. I am famously more than a little bit over the gazillions of recipes on blogs for date ballz. Fortunately, I am still interested in vegans enthusiastic about raw foods, and always willing to learn some new techniques even if I’m not planning on dishing out a thousand dollars for a Vita-Mix and a dehydrator anytime soon (though, for the record, I am not above receiving a free Vita-Mix).
My small island doesn’t appear to host many more vegans than myself and a handful of extremely kind raw foodists. Chris and Jim of Rawsome Living Foods first came on my radar when they offered a raw class a couple of years ago after travelling to Japan. I attended, and was blown away by the delicious Japanese-inspired raw menu we created: miso soup with marinated shiitakes, teriyaki vegetables, raw sushi rolls, and probably something else! Since then, the company has grown. They’ve held many cooking classes and have even hosted apprentices, they host a “not-a-cafe” cafe in the summer, they sell their homegrown wheatgrass and some other raw goodies at the Salt Spring Saturday Market, and Chris offers lifestyle coaching. They even offer a personal chef service, which one of our fellow workshop attendees raved about.
Despite his trepidation, I dragged my boyfriend to a “Make It and Take It” workshop at Rawsome this past Sunday. At $25/person and resulting in a four course raw meal to take home, I couldn’t resist, despite the fact that it was cold, raining, and we had a six pack of beer in the fridge to undo all of the health benefits of our rawsome meal to drink while watching the hockey game. But we ended up having a blast.
Our meal consistent of a chocolate milkshake (dates, cacao, banana, homemade almond milk, vanilla), the best kale chips I’ve ever tasted (kale dehydrated in a vegan Caesar dressing), sunflower seed-based burgers in a lettuce “bun” with sprouts and amazing dehydrated heirloom tomatoes, and an insanely decadent chocolate “cake” with chocolate ganache and raspberry coulis. Chris and Jim are enthusiastic, friendly, helpful and not at all preachy instructors, and the workshop was a nice blend of hands-on technique and information. Full disclosure: we had a second dinner around 11pm, but we always do that!
Now, I know that none of you readers live on my little island (if you do, HI! Let’s hang out!), but if you check out Rawsome’s website you can find some interesting information and recipes in the newsletters. Moreover, I encourage you to find someone in your area offering vegan cooking workshops and go support them.
Thanks Jim and Chris for being such fun and inspiring vegans on the move!