Plant Based Professional Chef & Food Sovereignty

I am so excited. As you may know I have been working very hard on my Plant Based Professional Chef Certification from ROUXBE www.rouxbe.com.

I just completed my final assignments and wrote my final exam. I am so excited to be offering new services as a result of this new certification.

Walnut Taco Salad

Walnut Meat Taco Salad in WonTon Bowl

Plant-Based Personal Chef Services:

  1. Let me prepare a special plant-based dinner for your family and friends. By helping me out in the kitchen you will learn a ton of new techniques that you can then go on to use to improve the quality of the nutrition you serve yourself and your family.
  2. Hire me to help you with your weekly batch cooking, so that meals are healthy and fast throughout your week.

Plant-based Consultating for Restaurants: I am now offering local restaurants a service that will provide the nutritional background and chef skills needed to revamp your menu to be more plant-based and restricted-diet friendly. This is extremely important in a tourist area such as the Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia.

Marinaded Compressed Watermelon

Marinaded Compressed Watermelon

I also offer sensitivity training for your staff.

The inspiration for my consulting service came from a personal experience at the Boston Pizza in Rocky Mountain House AB. They had just added gluten free pizza crust to their menu. My problem was that the vegetarian topping was only offered on the gluten-full crust. I asked the server if she could please use the gluten-free crust for a personal size vegetarian pizza. I added that I didn’t mind paying the extra $2.00 charge for gluten-free crust. She took a deep breath and said, “I don’t think I can do that.” I asked her to please check with her manager. She stomped off to find her manager. When she came back she asked, with attitude “Is that an allergy or JUST a preference?” I responded ‘allergy’ … all the while feeling very assaulted as I do not think my medical situation is anyone’s business but mine. She then said, “I don’t know how to do that!” She stormed off again with an audible “HUFF.” By this time we had already been sitting there for over 20 minutes. We waited another 10 minutes with no response or even eye contact from her as she waited on her other customers. Having not been given an option to place an order, we then left leaving the cash for our drinks on the table.

We have never returned to any Boston Pizza and we will not. I have never felt so disrespected and marginalized as I did that day. I also felt guilty that my poor hungry husband was not able to enjoy the meal that he wanted to order, and that he was subjected to an experience that is becoming complace for me.

Since that experience I have heard of many such experiences from other people working hard to improve their diets.

Businesses should be more aware that …

“People remember how you made them feel.”

Often there is only one item on a menu that a nutrition conscious person can eat, other than a side salad, and whole restaurants that they cannot eat a thing at.

Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado, Leeks and Radish in a Cucumber Bowl

Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado, Leeks and Radish in a Cucumber Bowl

This makes going out with friends a stressful nightmare. Living in a rural area our choices here are even more limited. In fact, one of the assignments with ROUXBE was to eat at a local restaurant offering a global plant-based cuisine. I had to drive over 2 hours to Wolfville to find a restaurant that was not Canadian-Chinese, Seafood, or German.

Add to that the experiences with Search & Rescue. We volunteer with the local Search & Rescue group. When we are on a search we are very fortunate to have a dedicated group of volunteers who prepare hot meals and keep the coffee flowing.

Unfortunately, they have not had nutritional training. As a result the plant-based and gluten-free team members have learned to bring their own food, as there is meat and gluten in most dishes.

This is a tough situation where you have dedicated volunteers that just need a little bit of education to be able to choose menu items that can be easily adapted to accomodate all the members dietary requirements. Without that training the members with dietary restrictions feel marginalized and may eventually leave.

We just celebrated our 40th anniversary as a Search & Rescue Team and had a lovely meal catered. After some discussion and insistance on my part, I was assured that there would be a vegetarian option. As it turns out there were three of us who follow¬† a plant-based diet. We were served exactly the same items and serving size as the carnivours, but without the meat and gravy. The food was lovely, but an extra scoop of potatoes would have gone a long way toward equalizing our serving size. Once again we three left feeling hungry, marginalized and as if we were ‘making a fuss.’

I was attending a local Board of Trade Meeting last summer. It was catered and once again at least two of us in the group had few options. We ate what we could and didn’t make a fuss.

One of the local Bed & Breakfast Owners was speaking about her business and she noted how the dietary requirements of her guests had radically changed in the last five years. She went on to list all the restrictions that she was happy to accomodate. I was feeling hopeful when a voice from the crowd spoke out, “If that was me I would just go out and shoot myself.” Again … we felt marginalized.

food-sovereignty

It is my belief that your right to food sovereignty is sacrosanct.

I believe that we have a right to know:

  1. where our food is coming from.
  2. what is in our food.
  3. if our food contains Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

I believe that we all should have access to fresh local nutritious food.

I believe that we have a right to choose the food that is right for us … without ridicule.

I suspect that the plant-based and gluten-free visitors to our region would agree.

 

~ Judy N Green

www.rawngreen.com