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JOURNAL// "Matthew Kenney Culinary School" // by Kelly Mason

"Braised Leeks in a Shallot & Brazil Nut Cream"

Throughout 2017 I was looking in ways in which I could progress within the field of or complimentary of my lifestyle and my profession.

The signs for me linked to taking this MK cuisine training came to me long before I even knew this offer would be available.

It began back in 2016 when I took my most recent trip to Germany, I found myself in Berlin for two weeks before I was to start a new life in America. Throughout my stay in Berlin, like my usual practices in other cities I have visited, I spent my days in various vegan cafes around the city and practising at the studios in the city.

It was in one of these spaces, just around the corner from where I was living, a place serving up raw vegan cuisine, that I came across an individual who would open the doors for me to the Plant based cuisine world.

Lucky for me I got to spend quite some time in this space and I signed up for one of the restaurants "Introduction to Raw Desserts" workshop. A few days after the workshop and one I had become antiquated with one of the chefs I approached her as I was intrigued and eager to learn more about training in raw and plant-based cuisine. This was my first exposure to the possibility of training in this field when she mentioned various training's throughout the world when it came to plant based and vegan cooking.

After leaving Berlin and with my brain ticking over, I began doing my research and came across Matthew Kenney Culinary school based in Venice beach in LA.

The location could not have been better and within the next few days I was registered with the school and my training began not long after.

The training lasted a period of four months where I dedicated daily time to the theory behind plant based cuisine inclusive of pantry stock, cooking techniques, and the fundamentals & philosophies of various plant-based diets. I also spent hours upon hours a day in the practical execution of many raw and plant-based dishes.

"Activated Almond, Cinnamon Sweet Caramelised Pop corn"

Each day had an incredible amount of theory and much time was dedicated to intense reading and listening to online recordings.

And after both theory and practical sessions for the day were complete I would be exhausted! But throughout I maintained enthusiasm and pace.

I remained committed and consistent in knowing each day I was learning, refining and perfecting my understanding of plant-based cooking.

"Trio of Nut Cheeses. Cashew, Almond & Macadamia"

Before the training I was always in the kitchen, I was always the host - It gave me pleasure and enjoyment not only to prepare meals but to watch my friends and family enjoy what I had created.

When I shifted over to a plant-based diet during 2014 a whole new world of cuisine was opened to me and I would be the first to admit my curiosity and eagerness to learn more began to grow.

This training taught me to tone down my creative and impulsive side but allowed me to discover new depth of understanding through theory and structure.

The training enabled me to refine the more logical side of my mind.

"Vegan Homemade Tacos with Cacao Tahini Dressing"

The dishes created were of all kinds from simple to complex, from sweet to savoury, from food you put in your mouth to the food you apply to your skin. The training covered it all and more.

The theory for me provided structure, it provided knowledge, knowledge on various complimentary diets and culture influenced dishes such as exposing me to the rules and principles behind Traditional Chinese medicine & Ayurveda approaches to cuisine.

"Sauteed Bok Choy With Garlic, Ginger & Tamari"

Of course my favourite time of each day would be the implementation, presentation, capturing and tasting of each of the dissected dishes but the theory was necessary as the theory is the back bone of any practice or skill.

The training taught me of slight differences, extra details, further understandings of each dishes process', the intentions behind the dishes and the way in which the dish is executed greatly reflects the quality of the final result further refining my already existing skills in cuisine.

"Seared Pineapple W Mango Cream, Homemade Chocolate Nest & Trio of Sesame Brittle"

Throughout the four months I completed training in 'Plant based Culinary Nutrition', 'Fundamentals of Plant Based Cuisine' & 'Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine.

At the end of each course I would create & execute my own dishes from scratch which was exciting for me as I was eager to see how my already existing skills and understanding had been highlighted which showed in the results of each dish I created.

"Goji Berry Cashew Ice Cream with Cacao Drizzle"

After I completed the course, I received my certificates. It was official. I had graduated.

To this day my everyday cooking remains almost the same accept I understand fully the various techniques I have to hand. I understand the little subtleties I can include within the final presentation of the dishes to make them that little more special than they would have been before and above all, my overall understanding and appreciation for plant-based cuisine has grown and so has my interest in this field of work.

"Fennel & Dill Salad"

"Cucumber & Parsley Salad with Wasabi Tahini Dressing"

"Sauteed Carrots with Chipotle Dressing & Toasted Sesame seeds"

"Crispy Basil Leaves with fresh Avocado, Seared Tomato & Chilli Infused Oil "

"Raw Chamomile Lemon Tart with Cashew Cream, Dehydrated Lemons & Fresh Berries"

"Raw Chocolate Orange Ganache with Dehydrated Fruit paper & Raspberry Cashew Cream "

"Seared Pear with Thyme infused Syrup"

"Super-food, High energy pre/post Workout Granola"

"Sweet Potato Chips with Chipotle Aoli & Lime Cashew Dip"

The training was a phenomenal experience.

I already had the passion and enthusiasm for plant based & raw cuisine but the course kept that ignited fire going throughout highlighting to me that this is something I want to pursue in some way in the future.

It gave me the tools and the depth to allow me to move forward professionally with future ventures in the culinary world.

I always refer to my manuals and use what I have learnt and have since learnt to adapt and improve my style and approach to cooking.

When it comes to further developments in offerings of plant-based cuisine there are exciting things to come. I can see it. I can feel it.


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