The Chalkboard team is all too thrilled to have raw chef Matthew Kenney opening his raw food academy and restaurant just blocks from our headquarters in Santa Monica! We can’t wait to get our hands on all the raw goodness this school will offer our community and to share it with our readers. Even more thrilling, our friend Anna Getty has shared with us an inside look at the workshop she and the raw chef threw this summer in the Italian country-side. Could there be a more dreamy way for us to announce and celebrate the academy’s opening? We don’t think so! For more information on the academy and restaurant, M.A.K.E., see the link at the end of this post.
I first heard about raw food chef extraordinaire Matthew Kenney in 2005 just after he and his ex-partner and fellow raw food chef came out with their book Raw Food, Real World. I was writing a monthly parenting column for Yogi Times magazine and happened to be perusing an issue where I spotted a review on their book. Raw food was relatively new to the culture as a lifestyle trend and the review praised the book and quite frankly made this way of eating sound very appealing and sexy. I was sold. I have been learning about, preparing and eating a large portion of my food in its raw or living form ever since.
Simultaneously, I have been collecting every book out there on the raw lifestyle, many of them having been authored by Matthew Kenney and his team. He has quite a collection out there, including Entertaining in the Raw, Everyday Rawand Everyday Raw Desserts, with more books on the horizon.
I love his books – the recipes are amazing and incredibly doable (most of them!) and the photos are beautiful. A few years ago I learned that Matthew had opened up a raw food school but was dismayed to learn that it was in Oklahoma. Say what? He purposely chose a place that was in need of the information, unlike the health-saturated or uber-aware coasts, so Oklahoma City it was. With two children, a national campaign, my many endeavors and an already robust traveling schedule, Oklahoma City was just not going to happen for me. I cold-called Matthew and was able to convince him to come to Tuscany, where I live part of the year, to conduct a one-week raw food workshop for me and my friends. I mean, who wouldn’t want to come to the Tuscan countryside? It was a dream come true.
This year in August, Matthew and his assistants Meredith Baird (be on the lookout for this talented raw food chef in her own right, as she is coming out with her own books in the near future) and Italian raw food celebrity chef Vito Cortese conducted a wonderful week of raw food preparation (remember, nothing is cooked). The setting was a beautiful villa in an old village called Monteverdi in the Val D’Orcia, one of the most beautiful parts of Tuscany.
My friends, family and I were utterly blown away and walked away with many more skills and recipes to add to our repertoire. Every day for six days we had a specific cuisine on which we focused. On Day 1 we did Italian food, Day 2 Thai, Day 3 Mexican, Day 4 Mediterranean, Day 5 Moroccan and Day 6 Israeli Food. We traveled the globe through our raw kitchen experience. We also learned to make raw tempered chocolate, ice cream bases, nut milks, smoothies, coconut Kefir and raw granola (I have been making my own version for months). It was great to add a new recipe to my back pocket.
All eight of us women floated in a sea of gratitude and wonder, amazed by what could be done with basic raw food ingredients, a dehydrator, a high speed blender, a mini food processor and a whole lot of love, intention and artistry. We left the experience full of ideas, wisdom, experience and new-found enthusiasm for a way of eating that is growing in the Zeitgeist. What we all loved most about Matthew and his team was that their approach was not dogmatic; it’s not ‘all raw food or nothing’. One can eat mostly raw and on occasion add cooked items like soups, pastas, etc. into the mix. Alternatively, one can eat mostly cooked foods and incorporates a few raw food elements into one’s diet.
Matthew Kenney Cuisine is a conscious lifestyle brand that includes books, upcoming products (to help make raw food preparation even easier), online and hands on classes in Oklahoma and – drum roll, please – an upcoming academy, marketplace and restaurant in our beloved Santa Monica! You will be sure to see me there as a regular. Check into matthewkenneycuisine.com for upcoming information and for now enjoy the photos from my Matthew Kenney Raw Food Tuscany Workshop.
To give you just a taste of all the deliciousness we experienced with Matthew in the kitchen, find a recipe from Matthew’s upcoming book on teh next page! Click through to find this drool-worthy preview just for Chalkboard readers. Raw Pisachio Nougatine will knock your socks off.
(Follow the click to experience Sicilian Pistachio Nougatine with Dark Chocolate and Apricot Marmalade)
Cut the nougat into 1/2 ” slices. Serve with marmalade.
Find out more about The Matthew Kenney Academy and M.A.K.E. restaurant here and stay tuned for more on the Chalkboard!