Let’s retake control of our health with a well-balanced diet!
You have been a naturopath for 30 years and a raw chef since 2012, how would you define Raw Food? And what are its origins?
“Raw” defines all that is unrefined, pure and uncooked. It’s about privileging unprocessed foods, keeping them the least dehydrated possible, never heating them over 42°C, which isn’t really cooking, and allowing them to preserve their supply of vitamins, nutrients and certain elements like enzymes.
Dr Ann Wigmore remains a reference in the history of this kind of food. Her goal in the 1960s was not only to “eat raw” but to regain a health status along with a healthy mental and spiritual condition. I have a complementary approach to hers today.
How did you reach the Raw Food conclusion?
Raw food wasn’t a theoretical choice, but it came to me in the silence of a long fast at the end of which I couldn’t eat anything that was cooked or transformed.
I remember the first thing I ate: an apple, of which each bite seemed to have a different taste. The appeal of fruits, vegetables and everything in the plant world has inspired me so deeply. This diet has changed my life and I have changed my life for it! I did some culinary tourism in California with Matthew Kenney, the raw food businessman. I stayed at Leaving Light so as to have an academic approach to this kind of food, and I understood what it would do for me and how I was to serve it.
You mentioned that your approach is complementary to the origins of this cuisine, how is your approach different and what is your added value?
First of all, I have the good fortune of being fond of good food, of loving and knowing how to cook. It’s a discipline that combines the rigor of mathematics, creation and research, three things that are very dear to me. Finally I had the chance of going to famous Michelin-starred restaurants, which has beautifully sharpened my palate.
So I equated raw cooking in an incredibly gourmet way by creating recognizable and unprecedented textures and flavors. My “Gastrawnomy” allows me to restore vitality but also the pleasure of eating healthily. Since luxury is the melting point between matter and spirit, I wish to raise awareness and share the pleasures and benefits of my vegetal and uncooked cuisine. My added value would be the creativity of my recipes in a certain appreciation of what already exists and above all, the taste. My recipes summon the senses in an exceptional, surprising way, with a boldness, frankness and vivacity of taste that do not exist in traditional cooked cuisine.
You talk about restoring vitality, eating healthier, what are the benefits of this cuisine?
I’ll quote my friend Philippe Stefanni, a CNRS researcher specializing in “sustainable” food. He also wrote the foreword to my first book: “Cooking fruits and vegetables means using a weapon of mass destruction to vitamins, minerals, and especially enzymes that are essential for digestion. These are irretrievably destroyed if heated over 47.8°C.” I do not urge people to eat exclusively raw, but to incorporate more and more fruits, vegetables and raw seeds into their diet with delicious recipes. It’s so much healthier to eat raw and vegetal food. However, you don’t have to go over your body’s needs for a concept. It’s not a theory, feeding should also remain… or become a pleasure. You can start a meal with a raw dish, usually recommended for digestion, and then enjoy a grilled salmon…
Educating children and adolescents to eat better is one of the food challenges of this century; do you think your cuisine has a contribution to make?
Absolutely, this cuisine is so good, not only for the body but also for the protection of the original taste of fruits and vegetables. I would say that it would be well-founded for the elderly, I am referring in particular to “Homes for Senior and Dependent Persons”. However, in order for this cuisine to develop it must also be taught to future chefs. In this regard, I teach at the Ferrandi School of Paris with Chef Thierry Marx. It’s a very educational experience, the young chefs and the adults alike are always surprised by the gustative quality of my recipes.
Raw food is also a lifestyle and it is becoming a real “hype cycle”. How does your professional approach and common sense agree with that?
I think that the “hype cycle” is not to its advantage. Everyone seizes it to film themselves in their kitchen without any real training or technical approach, whilst it’s actually a real job to cook “raw” food. I remember some journalists paid me a visit on my houseboat. At first they were curious and sceptical, but then they were surprised by the quality and respect of the product and especially the scents and textures they discovered. This is the significance of my approach and my work.
You have developed an economic model around your passion, what could be more normal? Can you explain to us how it works? Who are your clients?
I not only wanted to live my passion, but I also wanted to share what I was doing. Today, after 7 years of work and courage, meetings, evangelizations, feedback is very much present. I have been rewarded with success; my recipes are not the greatest but are very much recognized. My highly frequented website gets me many clients. My clients are women like me, ranging between 40 years of age and ……, they are also business leaders, sportspersons. I have in mind the tennis player Victoria Azarenka, who came one day to visit my houseboat and taste my recipes; she then became a regular customer. I even accompanied her to Rolland Garros and then to Wimbledon, she was mindful of the increase of her sporting abilities and really enjoyed my recipes.
You often refer to “traditional” recipes in the presentation of your recipes, why is that?
If we raise it to the rank of gastronomy as I do, I will answer you 1000 times YES! I also notice that countries like Belgium, Switzerland and even France are very interested in my cooking.
What are your upcoming projects?
California, the cradle of culinary trends and especially that of Raw Food, is interested in my work. I’m planning a trip there in December to examine the opportunities available to me. I also have an exceptional participation planned during Michel Pascal’s concert at Carnegie Hall in New York in December to present my cooking with Deepack Choppra, Mickael Beckwith and accompanied by the group Earth Wind & Fire. I’m turning to the United States today because I think it’s a good timing for me and there is a genuine recognition of my work there.
To conclude, do you have a message for the European institutions, the member states and the European private sectors that make up our readership?
- Transfer part of the health care budget toward food!
- Allow families to eat better so they can seek less treatment!
- If you can’t afford to be sick, invest in your vitality with a good diet. Let’s retake control of our health! Joyfully!