Alissa Cohen Classes??
Hi I was wondering if anyone had taken any of Alissa Cohen's raw food chef classes and what you thought. I am looking into talking a course but I would love to hear your opinions. Thanks everyone!
or any other classes you know of :)
Type Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Foods Classes in the search box as someone asked that a while ago
Depends how much you already know.
I took her first class... and I learned very few new things related to raw food preparation. I still had fun, though.
Boutenko came out with a new book - Raw Family Signature Dishes, A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE to Essential Live-Food Recipes. I looked at it today... and I would highly recommend it for beginners. She has a picture of just about every step to make all the dishes! http://www.rawfamily.com/products.htm
thanks! I love this site!
Well, here's my opinion.
Most of these these raw food chef 'certifications' will give NOT you the skills you would need in order to work in a professional restaurant setting. I have some friends in the food business, and restaurants are very stressful places that require very long hours, most of which are spent on your feet, and the profit margins are paper-thin. It is a really tough business. In a raw restaurant, it's even tougher.
One of my friends graduated from the Natural Gourmet chef's school in NYC. The program was full-time and lasted 4 months and cost around 18K when she took it (it's more now). She got an internship at Greens (vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco). She learned knife skills, plating, menu planning, how to shop, finances, etc. etc. Natural Gourmet is NOT a raw chef school, but the kind of skills that my friend learned (as well as her internship) are vital for anyone who wants to work in a restaurant setting. Here are some curriculum highlights:
I read a posting on Raw Chef Dan's blog (he owns the raw restaurant Quintessence in NYC) in which he said that graduates from raw chef schools don't have the real-world restaurant chops that he needs:
Sarma Melngailis said in her new book "Living Raw Food":
"Most of the people who work at Pure Food and Wine's kitchen aren't raw or vegan, nor do they come with any specific experience preparing raw vegan food. This is somewhat intentional ... I think that having a traditional food background somehow allows for a more open-minded approach to this process." (p. 9) Later in the book (p. 14-15) she wrote that when word got out that Pure Food and Wine would be opening, she was deluged with applications from raw foodists who thought they should be hired simply because they were raw foodists and not because they had any experience working in a restaurant.
Whether people agree with Dan or Sarma or not, the fact that both of them are professional restauranteurs and both say they would prefer to take people with restaurant experience but not raw food experience and train them from the ground up in raw food preparation says something. In a restaurant, people have to hit the ground running; it's easier to train people who already are familiar with the business.
If you want to work in a restaurant, I'd say that unless the raw chef certification can offer the kind of training that a school like Natural Gourmet or a 'regular' cooking school can, plus offer an internship, you probably should save your money. Check out Cherie Soria's course--it seems to be pretty comprehensive:
RawLibrarian,Thank you so much for the insite
RawLibrarian, that's an interesting thought. So are you saying (that Dan said) the Living Light Culinary Institute graduates "don't have the real-world restaurant chops that he needs".
And agreed, there are raw food restaurants people can internship at.
Check out kniteangel's post on here. She just took the 4 classes with Alissa Cohen:
I'm taking the 4 classes with the Grezzo Training at the end of August. I'm not aspiring to work in a raw restaurant nor would I want to run one. But I do hope to learn a few things as I'd love to teach raw food classes someday.
Here are some more posts about Alissa's classes from her website, Raw Food Talk. Of course you are *only* going to see the positive reviews as Alissa's staff regulate that website pretty well. You'll never see any bad press on there. But the good comments are very promising:
*bump* RawLibrarian, are you still there?
Yep, still here.
*I'm* not saying that Raw Chef Dan doesn't think that raw chef program graduates have the restaurant chops he needs ... HE is saying it. I'm just quoting him.
In my post I said that Cherie Soria's Living Light Program looks to be pretty comprehensive.
Really, it depends on what you want. For personal enrichment, the course doesn't have to be rigorous. But to work in a professional restaurant setting, I think you'd need quite a bit more than what some of these certifications offer, particularly if you have never worked in a restaurant before.
Sorry, I didn't mean to say you said that... I was wondering if that included Living Light.
Yeah, I agree, that Soria's program looks pretty good... it would be 'too bad' if it's not good experience for a professional restaurant setting. I would want to know why.
Chef Dan wasn't specific ... but you could always contact him via his blog and ask what he thinks about Cherie's program.
Of all the ones I have seen, hers looks to me to be the most comprehensive, but whether it would pass muster with someone like Sarma or Dan or Russell James or Matthew Kenney or the owners of Cafe Gratitude is something I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me if someone's prior experience in a regular restaurant or catering company would carry more weight with these people than an applicant who had graduated from a raw chef program but who had no experience in the food industry.
In 'Raw Food Real World', Sarma Melngailis and Matt Kenney wrote that they both attended 'regular' professional chef schools. They read bunches of books about raw food when they decided to go raw and they started experimenting at home, before Pure Food and Wine was a gleam in anyone's eye. Matt was already a very highly-regarded chef and he already had a lot of knowledge about food and how to put different tastes together. He got some of that from professional training (chef school) but most of it from his previous work as a chef in different restaurants.
Don't get me wrong--I would really enjoy taking Alissa's or Cherie's courses. I know I would learn a lot, but I would be doing it for my own enrichment, to learn more about how to create professional-style raw meals at home or for friends. Without any restaurant experience, I don't know that I'd expect to get hired by Quintessence or any of the other places on the strength of having completed one of those raw chef certification courses with no prior work experience in the food industry. That's all I'm saying, and this is something that I would want to find out before shelling out a big wad of cash for a certification course.
I totally agree that Alissa Cohen's class is certainly not to prepare anyone for the food industry. They don't even teach you about the HACCP or Food Handling. Raw food and hygiene are so important!
BTW, Russell James did study at Living Light Culinary Institute - http://therawchefblog.com/about
Thanks again for the reply.
I took a class with someone certified by Alissa - it wasn't for professional stuff, but just for fun. It was $25 and I spent a little over 4 hours hanging out with a bunch of people who were rather like minded. It was fun!
What $25? I feel ripped off! (I paid more.) Did you get the certificate?
From what I understand the 1st level class costs around $125. Twenty % of that goes to Alissa and then Alissa's staff take care of all the paperwork and issuance of a Level One Live foods Chef Certificate. I'm guessing the class for $25 was just a fun, laid back class where no certs were given. And I for $25 I'm guessing it was more of a basic beginner type class with zucchini pasta, wraps, basic pates, etc....which is all good! :-)
Well, Alissa's level one class is so basic, whether $25 or $125. Appifanie, you got a good deal for a class. But an even better deal if you actually got the certificate. I paied $100, plus $25 for the certificate for a $125 total. Of course, I didn't learn very much... so basic. I just did it to get the certificate.
oh, sorry - i lost this thread!!
no certificate. just fun! :)