Last week I began Module 1 of The Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training Program. When I was telling people that I was going to do a cooking course a recurring comment was, ‘But you already know how to cook’. True! But you can always learn something new. I wanted to take my skills to the next level as I keep trying to be creative in the kitchen. I have never been formally trained, having taught myself along the way and now I wanted to be immersed in some formal training that provides both inspiration and a deeper understanding of cooking.
I found Veet’s Vegan Cooking School online and read her prospectus and decided to enrol immediately. The problem was I had to wait until this year for the course to begin. As an overview, there are 9 modules which provide a thorough ‘ethical, vegetarian chef’s training program’. What I loved about the course was that it was using ethically sourced, organic produce from local suppliers. We used produce that was in season, which meant the food was rich in vitamins and minerals and provided abundant flavour.
I especially love this part of the Vision for the school, which is available in the prospectus:
The overall vision of The Vegetarian Cooking School is that people become trained in healthy vegan and vegetarian cooking. Feeling confident when creating delicious food, knowing that it is also nutritionally good to eat, using local, organic and ethical produce every step of the way.
I was lucky as the course is held in Mullumbimby which is in the Northern Rivers District of New South Wales which is only an hour’s drive from my home. Some people travel from interstate and even overseas to attend, so it’s not just me that rates this course highly. Mullumbimby is on the Brunswick River surrounded by sub-tropical hills. It has a warm climate and rich soil which supports many growers of tropical fruits and vegetables. One morning we went to the farmer’s markets to source our produce for the following days.
Veet is a wonderful host and teacher for this course, sharing her years of experience in the food industry. I think that anyone can cut a tomato and cook it, but what is inherent in The Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training program is the presence of mind, body and spirit in the prepping and cooking process. There is definitely no swearing in this kitchen, instead a peaceful blend of mindfulness, presence and regular grounding to ensure the food is prepared, cooked and shared at its best.
The first day we made some delicious balls and chocolate which were for snacking on whenever there was a slump in energy. In a short time we were able to create different balls to cater for individual dietary needs: nut free, fruit free, stimulant free and even balls for those on a Keto diet. We created a whole foods lunch with black bean burgers, salads, 5 essential sauces (all with variations, so in essence more than five) and dinner stacks using vegetables, tofu, tempeh, beans and grains.
Sometimes people come to Veet looking for ways to change their diet for health reasons, but the group doing Module One with me were all foodies. And I’m sure you know what happens when foodies get around food, right before it is about to be eaten … they take photos. It was the perfect environment to do it in. We didn’t have to worry about what other people would think if we re-arranged the plates in ten different ways, or move the plate to better light, or pick it up, or put it down just to get the right photo. It was almost expected!
We went to the markets, we made smoothies, we created a vegan breakfast feast without smashed avo on toast or an acai bowl in sight. And the pancakes were to die for. We made gluten free scones and cookies and enjoyed them with an abundance of tea.
We made cakes and a tapas lunch. We modified existing recipes to cater for vegans, nut allergy sufferers and those with gluten intolerance. Over the four days I learnt so much about food, organics and ethics. And I fell in love with food even more. There are 8 more modules and I can’t wait to attend each and every one of them. There is also some work I need to do at home to consolidate the first module and to prepare for further modules.
So, if you don’t mind I will be sharing some more amazing food, based on Veet’s Cuisine and her Vegetarian Cooking School in the coming months. If you’ve been thinking about attending a cooking course I can’t recommend this one highly enough.
Module 2 of The Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training focused on raw food. You can read about it here.
Module 3 of The Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training was all about Ayurveda. You can read about it here as well as get the recipe for a delicious lemon rice.
Module 4 of the Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training covered Macrobiotics. Find out more in this blog post.
Module 5 of The Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training was the reason I signed up to complete the whole course. It was 2 days of Fermentation. Have a read here.
Module 6 of The Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training looked at dietary requirements and how to adapt recipes to ensure your meals are inclusive for everyone.
Module 7 and 8 of The Vegan Chef and Lifestyle Training was about Menu Planning and Advanced baking and Gourmet Vegan. Find it here.