I come from a long line of women who do not enjoy cooking. Growing up, we ate a balanced, home cooked dinner every night, but my mom certainly did not find joy in cooking. Yet somehow, cooking has become one of my favorite hobbies.
I’ve always had an interest in cooking, but after being diagnosed with food allergies more than a decade ago, it became a necessary skill. The easiest way to ensure that I am not unintentionally eating foods that I’m allergic to is to cook for myself. It’s a skill that I acquired with lots of practice (and a lot of trial and error). Cooking has become one of my favorite stress-relieving activities, and eating home cooked food has transformed my health. I still enjoy eating at restaurants, but when I want to be certain I know what I’m eating, I cook at home.
As much as I enjoy cooking, the one piece that has been missing for me is formal training. I’m completely self-taught, and I know that my cooking skills would improve if I better understood correct technique. I’ve often thought about taking cooking classes or enrolling in a formal cooking program. But because of my food allergies and my choice to eat a plant-based diet, I have been hesitant. If I am going to spend the time and money on a formal education, I want it to be applicable to how I actually eat. Learning how to roast chicken or bake bread won’t improve my skills since I don’t eat these foods.
Recently, the right opportunity presented itself, at just the right time. I’m excited to say that I am currently enrolled in the Rouxbe Cooking School Plant-Based Professional Certification course. It’s a 6-month intensive course focused completely on plant-based cooking. It’s quite comprehensive – covering everything from correctly cooking vegetables, grains, and beans to knife skills, preserving the nutrients when cooking plant-based foods, and cooking for special diets.
While it’s intimidating to have professional chefs critique my work, I am learning so much and can already see an improvement in my skills. Some of the tasks are tedious - such as the knife skills exercise using carrots (see photo above). But even those are valuable.
Of course, the therapist in me can’t help but analyze the recommended hand postures with knife skills, lifting of sauté pans, and other physically demanding tasks. Most of the time, correct technique is safer and more efficient, but not all of my clients have the physical abilities to do things in the traditional way.
So how does this training help my clients?
- I’m passing on even more tips and shortcuts related to plant-based cooking to the students in my Food for Life classes
- I’m teaching my health coaching clients even more skills as they learn how to easily add more healthy foods in to their daily meals.
- I’m passing on what I’m learning on the plantstrong life, my plant-based living blog that is full of recipes and resources to help you add more plant-based foods to your diet
- I have come up with even more ideas to help my kitchen ergonomics clients make cooking easier as they manage limitations from illness and injury
Overall, the Rouxbe program has been really valuable for my personal and professional education. I still wait nervously for grades and feedback on my assignments, but the instructors are so supportive, and they really want every student to succeed.
If you want to learn to cook, improve your current cooking skills, change what you eat to improve your health, or learn how to improve the ergonomics in your kitchen, I’m here to help! Contact me and let me know how I can help you!