This is a guest article written for Edible Goddess by Lauren Amerson. Lauren is an eclectic, self-taught artist and raw-vegan chef with a background in massage therapy, dance, and yoga. She’s blessed with an abundance of creative energy, a desire to learn, a barefoot non-conformist attitude, Indigo intensity, and a fairy spirit. She’s also 1 of my best girl friends!
If you have a passion for making healthy food, becoming a self-trained natural food chef may appeal to you. There’s no one way to go about it. Look to your own inner guidance and approach it in a way that feels great to you. In my experience, I have noticed some key elements that come in handy. They might surprise and delight you!
Find some people who are already doing it, that you admire or that inspire you. Consider what it is that you like about them. Try some of their recipes. Try other people’s recipes. Notice what you might change or tweak in someone else recipes. Exposing yourself to the foods you’d like to train yourself in is an opportunity to pick up tips and tricks from the more experienced and tunes you into what you like and don’t like. This process will also, in the long-term, contribute to forming your own style and finding yourself in the context of others.
Experiment, experiment, experiment! Play, play, play! This is the key to learning. Spend A LOT of time with food – playing with food, making food, eating food, sharing food. Get intimate with it. Use ingredients over and over again in different ways. Play with different textures and mouth-feels. Does a certain preparation bring out the juices more, does it taste sweeter when it’s raw versus cooked, is it too fibrous, how can you smooth it out? And don’t be afraid to mess it up. Making something that tastes badly can give you great insight and even spark new ideas. It also challenges you to remain fearless, gutsy and creative with your food. In the learning process, making something gross is just as valuable as making something that tastes amazing. A good metaphor for life, I think.
Originality is definitely a key distinction and advantage to being self-taught. When you approach anything through exploration and experimentation, your creative “problem solving” skills are used and this allows you to see more options. When making food becomes a creative act, you’ve made it an art and you’ve become an artist! This gives you an advantage and your unique twist becomes the foundation of your “branding” (what people think of when they hear your name).
Enjoy the process!