Some people make you feel healthier just talking to them. That's the case with raw/vegan food chef Rachel Fracassa -- who, in addition to catering, teaches a series of food preparation and healthy living classes. Fat City caught up with Fracassa via e-mail to talk about the raw food movement in Kansas City and how someone's diet might change while working with her.
Fat City: Why Raw Food?
Rachel Fracassa: Raw food is in its natural state, no
processing, no preservatives or chemicals, just whole foods. These
foods are loaded with live enzymes, vitamins, phytonutrients and lots
of water. It isn't an all-or-nothing lifestyle. Even small changes in
your diet can make you feel so much better. Replacing your coffee with
a green smoothie, eating a salad before lunch, these are simple ways to
add more unprocessed produce to your diet without feeling restricted. The more raw you eat, the more you crave.
What's your approach to working with new clients?
RF: Although I'm not personally 100 percent vegan, I find it very beneficial to teach people how easy a vegan lifestyle is so, one, they can wean themselves from processed animal products and get a chance to see how they feel without that in their systems and, two, they can selectively add animal products back in based on their health and/or ethical stance. For some this may mean remaining vegan and for others it may mean adding some fresh local dairy.
FC: As far as training or education, can you talk about your background as a chef?
RF: My love of cooking started at a young age, but I didn't
really get good at it until I had a family of my own to cook for.
Although it had always been a dream of mine, I never had the
opportunity to go to culinary school. When i started learning more
about raw foods I stumbled across Living Light's Raw Chef program
by Cherie Soria. It was exactly what I had been looking for, so I
jumped at the chance. It was a great experience and I learned a lot;
but honestly, passion alone will get you pretty far in this field.
FC: Are there any obstacles to pursuing a raw food diet locally?
For beginners it can be a challenge. The amount of information out
there is overwhelming and many time raw food enthusiasts preach strict
100 percent raw veganism, which just isn't practical for most people. There
aren't many places that offer prepared raw foods yet in KC, but they're
on their way. We do however have several individuals offering classes
and coaching sessions to help with transitioning. Plus, we're lucky to
have one of the biggest raw food meetup groups in the country, thanks to organizer Maureen Veto-Slater
FC: What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
RF: Ha, well I'm a pretty self-indulgent person so the list could go on and on. I'd have to say my favorite would be a plateful of Green Dirt Farm's Dirt Lover sheep's cheese and homemade wild blackberry preserves.
On Wednesday, Fat City will have Fracassa's recipe for summer gazpacho.