PlantBased talks to Eva from CNM (the College of Naturopathic Medicine) about their new Vegan Natural Chef Training course
This month, we head to the College of Naturopathic Medicine to hear all about their new Vegan Natural Chef Training course, which encompasses everything you could possibly need to know about the world of plant based cooking and nutrition. We asked Nutritionist Eva Killeen who directs the course to tell us more about it.
Hi Eva, can you tell us a little about the background of the school?
CNM is the natural health training college famous for its holistic food-based approach to health. As food is one of the most important natural tools we can harness to help the body regain balance, all CNM Diploma students are taught to understand and respect the therapeutic power of organic, minimally processed food.
Why do you believe that somebody wanting to learn about plant based cooking should sign up to CNM?
The CNM Vegan Natural Chef Diploma is unique. Students gain an understanding of how the body functions. They see how food choices impact our immunity, cognitive abilities and energy levels. They learn about food therapeutics to enhance health generally, and specific ways to support different organs. Of course, they also acquire the normal cooking and chef skills needed to create delicious food that satisfies these criteria. Towards the middle of the course they begin their internship so they can put their newly acquired skills into action in a professional setting. The course concludes with a business module to help would-be entrepreneurs turn their knowledge into a successful career.
Classes are taught by Natural Chef Lecturers who are current industry professionals, in bright, well-equipped kitchens at CNM’s central London college near King’s Cross, which is easily accessible from many parts of the UK. After every class there is an assignment to be done at home.
What are the most important aspects of plant based cooking and how do you tackle these on the course?
On a plant based diet, it is possible to miss out on things we need, or potentially to resort to unnatural sources of ‘topping up’ that may not do us any good. Our students learn the nutritional and therapeutic value of individual foods and will know the answers to questions such as: How do I make sure that I am providing enough protein from a healthy source? How can I increase the vitamin B12 content of this dish? What herbs can be included to increase immunity? What are the best gut-healing foods? What mood-lifting ingredients can I include? What spices can improve circulation and induce warmth? They also learn techniques for preparation, cooking and storage to fully benefit from the power of plant based cooking.
What is the main aim for people who join the school?
The course is open to all food-lovers. Some people take the course purely for their own interest or to be able to serve up delicious and more nutritious plant based meals for themselves and their families. More often, however, it’s about a career change or step up the ladder, with students having a business plan in mind for running a food business such as a café, restaurant or spa, working as a private chef, developing their own healthy food catering business or working as a cooking instructor, product developer, recipe writer or food blogger. CNM’s course equips students to make a success of their chosen culinary career. The business planning class is an important part of the course. Professionals such as nutritionists, naturopaths, nurses or fitness instructors also find it a useful qualification to further develop their existing businesses.
How much experience do applicants need?
You don’t need any prior culinary or nutritional experience to join the course. You do have to grasp the basics of nutrition and the body’s systems and pass some exams in these subjects, but most people who are passionate about food and health enjoy this.
One of the renowned chefs who lectures on CNM’s Vegan Natural Chef course is Private Chef and Nutritionist Olivier Sanchez. Olivier teaches cooking and cooking methods, knife skills, presentation, tastes and flavours.
What are your favourite plants to cook with in the kitchen?
Herbs! They are the basis of all my dishes for flavour but I also use them therapeutically.
Fresh, organic herbs are amazing for health, containing highly concentrated levels of vitamins and minerals. Weight for weight, parsley can contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges.
Growing your own herbs can be easily done on a window sill or a balcony if you do not have a garden. Picking them fresh is ideal to benefit from the active ingredients contained in the essential oils of herbs. When I have a glut of fresh herbs, I blitz them in the food-processor with garlic, seasoning and a little olive oil. I freeze this mixture in ice cube trays and defrost a cube as a salad dressing or let it melt over hot dishes when I can’t get fresh herbs. Herbs frozen like this can keep for up to 3 months.
What areas of nutrition do plant based eaters need to be aware of when choosing things to cook in the kitchen?
For me, it’s the difference between organic and non-organic plants.
Non-organic plants may have been sprayed many times with pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or other chemicals. An average apple may have been sprayed up to seventeen times or more. Research shows that the beneficial effects of plants may actually be undermined by these chemicals.
An organic plant has had the chance to grow without any interference. It creates its own natural defences; ensuring a complete array of health-giving phytonutrients to protect it from the sun, bugs and neighbouring plants, to ensure its survival. Plants that have been sprayed with toxic chemicals have no reason to create natural protection, so the phytonutrient content of these plants may be reduced. With non-organic plants, we may also consume residues from the toxic chemicals used, requiring the body to work harder to detoxify and deal with these substances. I personally prefer to use Bio-dynamic certified foods because producers work with and respect nature, and fruits and vegetables are never sprayed.
Which cuisines are you most inspired by in the kitchen and what is your signature dish?
Despite my Michelin-star training in Classic French Cuisine, my evolution quickly and naturally went from Mediterranean-inspired to Japanese-style cooking; walking away from the usual cream and butter-laden recipes. As a private chef, I have been able to develop my own repertoire, creating exquisite recipes which are also healthy. This sets me apart from other chefs, and means that I can provide exactly what my high- profile clients want: nutrient-dense and delicious food.
Today, my style of cuisine could be called a ‘nutritious fusion’, encompassing the best and healthiest foods and methods from all around the world, to create dishes which burst with taste and flavour, and can also be used therapeutically.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with variations of a full Vegan Soufflé, both sweet and savoury, devoid of any thickener or additives. I think I’m set to make that one my new signature dish.
- CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) is the UK’s leading training provider in a range of natural therapies, including Diploma Courses in Naturopathic Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, CNM Natural Chef and CNM Vegan Natural Chef Training, all based on the naturopathic approach. Colleges across the UK and Ireland. For further information visit naturopathy-uk.com or call 01342 410 505.
CNM’s Vegan Natural Chef Training
The CNM Vegan Natural Chef is a 3 part course covering everything you need to know to become a successful plant-based chef, from how the digestive process works, to working with plant-based proteins, to building a culinary career! CNM’s Vegan Natural Chef Training consists of 420 hours of life-changing education. You will then need to complete an internship of an additional 100 hours.
CNM’s Vegan Natural Chef Training has been developed to meet the growing demands of a society increasingly interested in plant-based food that supports and promotes health.
CNM Vegan Natural Chef Students are taught to prepare delicious gourmet meals that focus on nutritional value. Whole, organic, fresh and minimally processed foods are procured in season. As no single dietary regimen is appropriate for everyone, we teach how individualised food can enhance health.
The number of people living a plant-based life is soaring with no signs of slowing down. This course is for you if you already eat a plant-based diet or if you want to learn everything you need to do so. Whether you want to know more simply so that you can serve up truly healthy and delicious plant-based food for your family, or you want to turn your knowledge into a successful career – this course is for you.
Length of study: 9-10 months, 520 hours, part-time
Anatomy & Physiology: 60 hours
Basics of Nutrition: 60 hours
Kitchen: 140 hours + 160 hours home assignments
Internship: 100 hours
CNM Diploma: Dip. Vegan Natural Chef