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What is a Raw Food Chef?

By B. Miller
Updated May 17, 2024
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A raw food chef is one who works in a restaurant or for a catering company preparing dishes made with raw foods. The raw food movement, also known as raw foodism, is a fairly popular diet. There are many restaurants that serve only raw foods, so it is necessary for a raw food chef to be able to create many different delicious recipes.

In a raw food diet, food must not be heated above temperatures between 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) and 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Raw foodists believe that foods cooked above these temperatures experience a significant drop in nutritional value, and can actually cause harm to the body. For this reason, a raw food diet is primarily vegetarian or vegan. Proponents of this diet believe that eating this way gives the body more energy, improves skin, and increases overall health, particularly in regard to cardiovascular health and blood sugar.

Vegans do not eat any animal products, including meat or dairy, whereas vegetarians may avoid meat and fish, but still eat dairy products such as non-pasteurized milk or eggs. Raw food diets primarily consist of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains, but each diet may vary depending on the individual dieter's preferences. A raw food chef must know how to create different recipes depending on the strictness of the diet, as well as how to modify any dishes to make them more acceptable. Thus, a considerable amount of flexibility is required. Some people become raw foodists because of various food allergies, so a chef must understand these considerations as well.

Someone who wants to become a raw food chef will need to attend culinary school to complete a training program. He or she will learn the culinary arts of preparing all types of raw foods, including main dishes, side dishes, sauces, beverages, and even desserts. Culinary schools heavily involve hands-on practice to better prepare potential chefs for gainful employment.

He or she may then work in a restaurant as a sous chef before being able to become a head chef in a raw food restaurant. A raw food chef might also choose not to focus on raw foods exclusively, but will instead make it part of a more comprehensive training program. This might be a good idea, should the raw food movement become less trendy in a few years. Another option is to work for a catering company, or create one's own company that specializes in creating gourmet raw food dishes.

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