On May 19. 2011 I got to visit Seattle along my tour for Ani’s Raw Food Asia. First stop was with host Margaret Larson at King 5 TV’s NewDay Northwest Show. Everyone in the studio audience received a copy of Ani’s Raw Food Asia.
Next was Evergreen Radio’s Kitchen Corner Show where I had a pleasantly challenging conversation with host Jo Ann Henderson. Jo was skeptical at first, but I hope I was able to convince her that raw foods are simply a way to enjoy more whole, fresh, organic ingredients.
At the same time, another pre-recorded radio program aired on Seattle radio where I spoke with host Keesha Ewers on her Healthy You! Radio Show.
By lunch I was hungry for some local raw food treats, and we stopped at Thrive Cafe for a meet-and-great and book signing, and they fed me delicious salad, green juice, and desserts.
Next stop was KOMO Newsradio where we aired during afternoon drive-time traffic. The hosts Herb Weisbaum & Jane Shannon are already into raw foods, and were already making their own kale chips. I love how main stream kale chips have become!
Our final destination for the day was the Woodmark Hotel and Yacht Club in Kirkland, on the lake. This was the view from my room, you can see snow topped mountains in the distance.
The Woodmark Hotel hosted what they call “Happy Hour and a Half”. They made 2 recipes from Ani’s Raw Food Asia, I gave a talk, answered questions, and then signed books. It was another clear, sunny, dry, warm day in the Seattle. After this final event, I went on a long walk along the lake front. The air was fresh, clean, and crisp. And I felt grateful for all the wonderful people who welcomed me to their beautiful city.
This was the awesome lady who made this day happen for me, Joy. In addition to shuttling me around town, she also hooked me up with a food assistant so that I didn’t have to carry all my food, plates, props with me on the airplane! Plus, she kept the car stocked with cut, prepared veggies of all sorts for me to snack on all day long.
This was Joy’s assistant Lee, who had shopped for props and ingredients, and helped me prep for my TV appearance. Thank you Joy and Lee!! You’ve officially spoiled me.
Top Chef Alex Reznik (from Bravo’s popular cooking show) invited me, a raw vegan chef, into the Top Chef kitchen to assist with a celebrity chef dinner made along side Top Chef Betty Fraser and Top Chef CJ Jacobson. This event was at the Test Kitchen here in Los Angeles, where I’ll be hosting a Raw Vegan Fine Dining experience on November 17 + 18, 2010 called Ani Phyo’s Gastrawnomique. I’ll be presenting molecular gastronomy inspired techniques, without the chemicals. All natural, of course! Please rsvp asap if you can join us for this ground breaking event.
Top Chef Betty Fraser was on Bravo’s hit show season 2. She has a cute restaurant in Hollywood called Grub.
Top Chef CJ Jacobson was on season 3, and Top Chef Alex Reznik season 7. TV may make these chefs seem mean, but they’re all super cool in real life. TV=drama.
Michelin-starred Chef Ricardo Zarate had to show me how to deep fry super thinly sliced leeks so they stay green in color. The night before, Chef Alex put me on deep fryer duty (me, a raw chef…it was my first time using a deep fryer!). I found out later the oil was too hot, so my leeks turned brown. But Chef Alex didn’t say anything about my burnt leeks garnishing his dishes because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. What a sweetheart!
Chef Alex and I plating the dish he called Cow. It was made up of beef, bone marrow, liver, and tongue.
You can see the burnt leeks…oops! This dish was inspired by Chef Alex’s Russian heritage. At least he was using every part of the cow. Definitely tested my boundaries, but I grew tons….and Kanga my dog loved the way I smelled when I got home.
There was even a bit of vegan raw on the plate….me laying down a strand of cucumber with beautiful beet puree.
A few days prior to the Top Chef Test Kitchen event at Test Kitchen LA, I got to meet celebrity Top Chef Marcel Vigneron, who was on season 2 showing off his molecular gastronomy skills. What a cutie pie.
Test Kitchen is chock full of celebrity chefs. Here I am with Chef Walter Manzke.
I’m stoked for my raw vegan dinner on November 17 + 18th, 2010. So far, Top Chef Alex Reznik and Next Food Network Star Doreen Fang have confirmed they’ll be assisting me in my un-cook kitchen creating vegan raw foods for their first time. This will be a star studded event with a Green Carpet on the first night, and we’re going to have so much fun! Hope you’ll join us for 6-courses of raw food presented in a brand new way ($55 fixe prix). Make sure to rsvp for Ani Phyo’s Gastrawnomique soon because it’s filling up fast, and space is limited.
Here’s a sneak peak into one of my favorite recipes from my new book, Ani’s Raw Food Essentials (available June 1st). We shot this recipe last Thursday for TV, cable, and web.
I’ve been craving raw Tomato Chili the past few days, so I made sure to pick up some beautiful tomatoes, bell pepper, and fresh oregano at the farmers’ market. When I went to make this last night, I realized I had run out of chili powder, so I used chipotle powder instead. It turned out spicy hot. To help cool it down, I made a batch of raw Taco Nut Meat, which helped a bit, but not enough. So then I added some Cashew Sour Kream, and that helped. It was delicious, and energized me to write late into the night.
This recipes is simple and quick to make. I enjoy the mediation of chopping with my knife. But you can also just place ingredients into your food processor and let it do the chopping for you for an even shorter prep time.
Tomato Chili with Taco Nut Meat
Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, toss to mix well.
Place half of your mixture into your food processor or blender and puree. Scoop back into bowl with mixture and toss to mix well.
Place all ingredients into your food processor, and process into small pieces.
To serve, scoop raw Tomato Chili into bowls. Top with Taco Nut Meat. Enjoy.
Tomato Chili will keep for 1-2 days in fridge. Taco Nut Meat will keep for a week or more.
The proof of the raw pudding is in Phuket
Mon 29 Mar 2010
The Raw Food movement started, as so many modern health fads seem to, on the west coast of the USA in sun-baked, and some would say half-baked, California.
Perhaps surprisingly, the movement has led to a huge amount of controversy and criticism, with its detractors claiming that acolytes are mad primitivists who deprive themselves, or worse yet, their children, of the comforts and nutritional benefits that evolved 21st century culture afford us.
On its surface the movement is a retreat to a simpler more primitive way of eating. Raw foodists posit that not solong ago in evolutionary terms, say forty thousand years or so, humans ate whatever they could find, where and when they actually found it. This usually meant that we ate either carbohydrate or protein at each sitting and we often ate it raw as soon as we found or killed it.
Time wipe to today’s complex society in which food often travels vast distances before it reaches our plates and is processed, packaged and adulterated in a multitude of ways before we eat it. Our bodies now receive a chemical blast from ingested food that often bears little resemblance to the clean, raw food for which our digestive chemistry was designed and so, unsurprisingly, diseases like diabetes, obesity and associated heart failure and alimentary cancers have reached epidemic proportions.
If you need proof of this depressing ideological pudding, then the fact that these diseases are most prevalent in the most advanced cultures, provides it. Great affluence brings greater food adulteration and therefore greater instance of disease.. .and there the raw foodist’s case conveniently rests!
That hallowed institution of fine culinary pyrotechnics, Mon Tri’s Villa Royale recently brought Ani Phyo along to conduct a workshop on raw food leaving the participants to make up their own minds about the ongoing debate.
Ani Phyo is a very attractive Korean-Californian American and a perfect advertisement for the benefits of a healthy raw food diet if ever there was one. She happily revealed her age as coming up to 42 as an exclamation of appreciative surprise rang around the room. Ani is now one of the premier raw food chefs. She is the author of ‘Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen’, ‘Ani’s Raw Food Desserts’, and ‘Return on Design’ and founder of SmartMonkey Foods.
As she explains on her website, “My belief is that illness is created by toxins we put into our bodies. Eating raw foods helps me detoxify, stay healthy, strong, fit, maintain my ideal weight and look my best.
“When I eat whole fresh organic foods, manufacturers can’t sneak chemicals, preservatives, artificial colours, flavourings, or other toxins into my diet. I go straight to Mother Nature as my source for nutrient-rich foods.”
Ani showed the large group of attendees at her workshop how to whip-up simple, fresh recipes using what you’re likely to have in your kitchen while also offering tips on dehydrating and more sophisticated techniques. She also offered everything from classic comfort foods like nachos and burgers, to Reuben sandwiches and bacon, along with more gourmet dishes like risotto and angel hair pasta.
Her central message, appropriately enough for Buddhist Thailand, is the “middle way” of raw foodism so that you can have your cake and eat it too with her innovative, delicious recipes and desserts.
Ani’s Raw Food Essentials proves that you don’t have to sacrifice taste to reap the benefits of raw foods, all while living a greener lifestyle. Additionally, Ani has developed living food vegan menus for Carnival Cruise Lines, Adidas headquarters, STOMP, and Whole Foods Markets, to name a few. Adidas fitness centres depend on Ani to educate their athletes on how to ‘fuel up’ with raw nutrition for optimal performance. She also organises cooking play shops for children.
While raw foodism seems to be on the rise, it’s unlikely to become as big a culinary trend as, say, nouvelle cuisine. Vegetarians are a minority of the population, and rawists are a very small minority of that group. Comparatively few people are completely committed to it. For those who are, health is a motivating factor.
There are certain mainstream restaurants that are beginning to offer special “raw vegan” and “organic vegan” menus. The Six Senses Destination Spa at Evason, Rawai is one of them and already offers an internationally inspired Spa Cuisine in which they use many ingredients from their own ecologically grown garden. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in their al fresco Ton Sai restaurant where guests can enjoy succulent fishetarian dishes from the best the sea has to offer.
Now there’s even a new raw food cafe over in Rawai, which serves delicious local foods drawing on Phuket’s abundant fruit, vegetable and seafoods. Just as the poularity of once esoteric food such as sushi grew and became increasingly popular, perhaps raw foods can do the same. Ani Phyo certainly thinks that this could be the case and will do her utmost to make it happen.
Ani is currently working on her next book and shows for TV, DVD, and Web. To watch Ani’s videos, for free recipes, and to keep track of her latest projects, visit her at www.AniPhyo.com
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