Matthew Kenney’s raw school in Santa Monica is in full swing and once again we’re sharing a peek into the test kitchen with an enthused bunch of students from around the world.  We’re asking these raw food enthusiasts from around the globe a few questions about what they’re learning and to share a recipe with us!

This month, that recipe is a sophisticated version of the classic dragon roll. Raw food recipes can range from the utterly simplistic to the intensely complicated and this dish lays right about in the middle. It requires one piece of very special kitchen equipment that raw foodies love: the smoking gun! By applying a touch of wood smoke to uncooked foods you regain some of that winter warmth you may miss from cooked and oven-roasted foods. If you are looking for something completely new in the kitchen this is it!

TCM: why is it so important to you to eat raw and to learn to make raw food for others?

Mary, Los Angeles, CA: I’m a Registered Dietitian. My choice to go raw is because I want to eat as close to the source as possible. I’ve also dropped my cholesterol by 21 points. It’s great to turn people on to a different way of eating. People feel good after eating a raw meal. If I can influence one person to make a positive change towards health then I’ve done something good.

Kate, Australia: I’m not actually fully raw. I like to eat clean every day. This past weekend I made red beet ravioli with pesto sauce and walnut-mushroom filling, a thai salad, kale chips and chocolate chip cookies – all raw, but another week might look differently. You have to listen to your body about what you need.

TCM: which can you not live without: raw Juices or raw smoothies?

Stacy, San Diego, CA: Love them both, but because I hate cleaning the juicer I usually have more smoothies! My go-to easy smoothie is spinach, frozen mango, water and a pinch of salt. And I love green smoothies with fresh herbs.

Cat Brown, UK: Juice for alkalizing benefits: cucumber, celery, kale, apple, lime, ginger. Smoothies for ease of preparation: banana, cacao, cinnamon, chia, date, nut milk or water.

TCM: If you were trying to convert someone to raw food, what would you
make for them?

Braden, Berkeley CA: Even though I’m a chocolatier, I would convince with plain celery juice.

Kate, Irelend: Kimchee dumplings, raspberry and chocolate ganache tart, vegan goat cheese…. I’ve actually blown friends away with something relatively simple like zucchini spaghetti in lemon tahini sauce – they actually thought it was pasta! So much of food is in the presentation and description.

  • SMOKED SHIITAKE DRAGON ROLL with Compressed Sesame Spinach, Yuzu Tamari

  • RICE

    1 ½ cup peeled and chopped jicama
    ½ cup peeled and chopped parsnip
    1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
    1 teaspoon agave
    ½ teaspoon salt

    Pulse the chopped jicama in food processor you have reached a rice like consistency.  Using a fine mesh strainer drain any excess liquid out of the rice. Transfer the rice to a metal mixing bowl and add the brown rice vinegar, agave and salt.


    2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
    ½ tablespoon tamari
    ½ tablespoon sesame oil

    Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and smoke with smoking gun.


    1 cup spinach
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    pinch of salt
    white sesame seeds

    Mix spinach, oil and salt by hand in mixing bowl. Press into small ring mold (a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter works as well). Sprinkle with white sesame seeds.


    ½ bottle of tamari
    1/8 cup yuzu
    1/8 cup brown rice vinegar

    Use plain tamari if you'd like to keep it simple. Otherwise, this tamari recipe will make enough of the condiment to keep on hand for several rolls. Mix all ingredients and store. Put in a squeeze bottle or dipping cups to serve.

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