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As many of you might have heard already, there is a new movement sweeping through many fine restaurants embracing the philosophy of raw foods or living foods. Sure, as a veggie head, I can appreciate any chance for bringing vegetarian/vegan options to fine cuisine, but does it work? Can you pull off raw food as fine cuisine?

Now with the publication of Trotter's new cookbook (written with Roxanne Klein), "Raw" it seems that this movement has hit the big time. I've never been to Roxanne's restaurant in CA nor opted for the raw menu at Trotter's, but after flipping through the book, I have to admit I am very intrigued. I've always loved the veggie menu at Trotter's, and have tried to adapt a lot of my cooking in his style. But using cashew cheese in a terrine? Has anybody tried these dishes before?

If you are unfamiliar with raw foods, it is the concept that when processed, foods lose much of their nutritional value. Hence, raw cuisine prohibits using foods that have been "processed," in other words, the temp of the food is not allowed to reach 118 deg F. This also precludes the use of any meat, poultry, fish, or animal product (cheese, milk, cream, eggs). The thought goes on to say that all foods inherently have the requisite digestive enzymes to break itself down. When you cook food, these enzymes are then denatured and lost. This translates into "more stress" for our GI tract and less complete breakdown and use of the food.

Grape Lakes Wine Appreciation Guild
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I've heard of this before, I think certain individuals have been doing it for a decade or so.

We wanted a juicer and went crazy on research and got the "Green Life" or whatever they're calling it now (maybe "Green Power" or something), and so then got a juice "cookbook" - that's the biggest basis of my raw foods introduction.

Unfortunalty MY GI tract wasn't too hot about raw veggie juice, maybe I should have had more time to get used to it, but who knows.

The most appealing part of it to me is that I'm one of those individuals who finds the aromas of certain cookes vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus...) to be nauseating, but they seem fine raw. But still seem SO hard to digest.

Anybody else manage to convert to this after initial difficulty? Though I have to admit I didn't intend to do this all the time, was just trying to add more veggies to my diet.

I don't know about you but if I am going to a fine place to eat and am going to pay the kind of $$$ Trotters wants I could care less if the food gets above 118 degrees. Who goes to Trotters and thinks about nutrition? I think the whole thing is silly but if you want to do it at home...OK. When I visit such an eatery I care about only one thing. TASTE. If you ask me Trotter is bored and trying to make some money.(must of got creamed in the divorce) Count me out. Yuck! Razz
Seems to me that DJ Hombre said it best. Having been in the industry, perhaps not a "fine" establishment as Trotter's (careful DebAnne-don't slap me too hard), but kitchen's are always looking for less-labor intensive dishes to help cool (pun intended) their efforts. Exciting and new, sure, but I think it is just a fad; people starving (pun) for the newest and latest trend in foods. I even once read somewhere that restaurants in LA (remaining anonymous due to health code standards) are serving Chicken style sushi.......That is right, raw chicken carpaccio or sashimi. I know I read it, think it was GQ or something, but come on, I like Salmon, not Salmonella.
What is next, pick and eat, the same way we do with fish at Milos?
Huh, I guess I get in the habit of posting and running. I gotta stop doing that. Sorry for the less than prompt responses, people...

Thanks for the tip! I assume from the magazine it is in, that the article focuses on the "haute cuisine" emphasis of raw foods? To clarify this topic, I am not interested in reading about if or if not the concept of raw foods is sound, I am interested if raw foods can be prepared in such a way so that it can be considered "fine dining." In other words, I don't want to eat a raw carrot, I want to eat bleeding heart beet ravioli with a morel mushroom and black truffle emulsion.

The book is available in any of the larger bookstores in the Chicago area...Even if you don't agree with the concept of raw foods, the book is a treatise on culinary inventiveness and flavor matching. An incredible education!

Yup, that's what eating a lot of fiber can do to a person...Our normal diet is usually so deficient in fiber, when we "fiber load" our GI tract goes hay-wire for a bit before it can handle the excessive (relative) amounts of indigestible plant material. Smile But not to worry, it is a temporary effect, and should subside in time. Just take it slow.

Aside from the comment regarding the reason for writing the book, you basically mirror what I feel. I did not mean for this thread to be about nutrition, but rather if this type of cuisine can be made in such a way to rival (in taste and complexity) other known bastions of culinary delight.

DJ Hombre:
I can understand how you feel, and that was what my initial response to idea was. However, knowing what high standards Trotter uses, and after reading the book, I have to say, I am intrigued. I would even go to say that if you are trying to prepare a gourmet meal using the raw foodist philosophy, it is more difficult to do and requires a much higher amount of culinary skill. I mean, imagine what you would have to do to make a few raw carrots, beets, mushrooms, and nuts taste just as good as say, "South Dakota Veal Loin with Short Rib Tortellini, White Runner Beans, Black Trumpet Mushrooms & Sage Infused Veal Reduction" a current offering on the Grand menu at Trotter's.

Tee-hee...As do I. Although I keep saying, take a look at this book...the recipes sound amazing...Next time I see you, I'll try to remember to bring it.

Believe it or not, the raw menu at Trotter's is the most expensive option...$200 per person as opposed to the Kitchen at $150, Grand at $125, Vegetable at $100. And, it looks, without a doubt, the most time consuming. Having spent some time as a guest chef in the kitchen, and knowing the difficulty level in preparing the regular menus, after reading the raw recipes, I can't imagine how this restaurant could do that much work for one meal.

As for raw chicken...that's a disaster waiting to happen! Big Grin

Grape Lakes Wine Appreciation Guild

I was into the whole raw food thing for about a year, my sister, for about 3 years. I have never felt better in my life. I lost about 45lbs in under six weeks and had so much energy. I was eating 100% raw(except for wine which the hard cores do not drink). Nothing could ever be heated over a certain temperature which I cannot recall now, but that was only when dehydrating.

I ate at Juliano's restaurant when it used to be in Sunset in San Francisco(really enjoyable). I would hardly call Juliano the leader more like an eccentric that has his face out there.

The major downside to this lifestyle is that it is extremely anti social. You cannot really go out to eat, and since you have to eat a lot more, constantly through out the day you have to carry food with you at all times. It was a true test of self and will power to eat that way for a year. I do not think that this lifestyle will ever catch on to the masses because it is not as easy as it sounds.

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