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Making The Real Thing

  For past edition of the Tip Of the Week visit my archive 

Let’s start this week with a little story as it can put things into perspective. Back in late 1997 I was introduced to fasting and internal cleansing. The fasting I did really had an enormous effect on me and I felt I didn’t want to go back to eating as it would destroy the awesome way I was feeling from the fast. This led me into eating raw. More raw food after my fasts revealed less recoil back to my old sluggish self. Raw foods at this time were really undeveloped, almost nowhere to be found and almost no one heard of it. I and my partner at the time were pretty much on our own. In fact every one we knew who was getting into raw was pretty much on their own. The only time we had a chance to have someone else’s raw creations was at a potluck which were few and far between. Once in a while a special dinner would be offered by the local vegetarian restaurant which I think was a total of about 3 times in 2 years. There were also a few classes here and there, several of which our local guru David Jubb held or some transient raw foodie from California or Maui would swing through town to teach a class and then disappear. It was all very exciting at the time but to tell you the truth nearly all the food was very disappointing to say the least. Much of it was downright terrible. The thing is, at that time the food was being created and taught (even the 2 or 3 books available then) were not by chefs or anyone with a developed pallet but by health enthusiast that tooted the raw food horn. Great for them, they had a captive audience but I

wanted more; much more. I knew the concept of raw was OK, it was the recipes that needed some help. Sorry to say gents, thanks for the intro but I’ll take it from here! OK so the recipes need the hand of a real chef and that was that. But the other thing that really disappointed me many times, many many times was that things were named common names of dishes I know and love but the Raw dishes I filled my plate with were nothing of the sort. Now for trying to turn myself or a friend on to raw food this is a HUGE PROBLEM. When you I grab what is call Hummus and I really wanted Hummus and it turned out to be nothing like Hummus I was really turned off to “Raw Food” This was so common place in raw food I began to wonder what people were thinking. I remember ordering a Raw Ravioli at one of these restaurant sponsored events and getting a huge plat of salad topped with a pate sandwiched between two layers of another pate. WHAT THE BAJEEBUS IS THAT?

When I heard there was a new place in San Francisco that was a raw food restaurant, I had to go check it out! By now I was of course making much of my own creations that really tasted great and satisfied my cravings so my expectations were high. “These guys have a restaurant, they must really know what they are doing”. Well I went and let’s just say I learned more what not to do then what I could do.
So what is my point to all this? What am I saying here?

If you want to satisfy your taste buds as well as impress / influence others with raw food, make pizza that looks and taste like Pizza; make a Burrito that looks and taste like a Burrito, make a Hummus that is Hummus. Make dishes that you and others are familiar with and not some crazy wacky creation called Sunny Day Seed loaf. I saw a video on YouTube the other day of a raw Hummus and the only thing in the whole recipe that was common with real Hummus was Garlic. It may have been a tasty pate but it wasn’t Hummus.  I once bought a Lebanese Cook Book of traditional Lebanese recipe some of which dated back to biblical times and guess what the recipe for Hummus was? That’s right, almost identical to the Hummus I make for Quintessence Restaurant. Sprouted Chick Peas, (Garbanzo) Raw Sesame Tahini, Garlic, Lemon Juice (Not Lime) Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Toasted Sesame Oil. Now of course Toasted Sesame Oil won’t work for raw foods so I use Austria’s Finest Pumpkin Seed Oil but for the most part Quintessence makes REAL Hummus and even the most critical patrons love the Hummus and are never disappointed. I constantly pick dishes I want to eat and look up there real recipes and then make them raw. After all it is what I want, what I am craving and just because it is raw doesn’t mean it can’t taste and feel the same as the traditional one. Next week I will give you specific example of how to find the real thing and convert it to raw!

Till Next Week
Raw Chef Dan



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