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Level 1 Raw Plantlab Culinary Course + Los Angeles, CA Week 4

It’s the final week of the Level 1 Raw Plantlab Culinary Course! In case you’re just jumping in, you can view my week 1 recap here and my weeks 2 and 3 recap here.

Day 16: Final presentation week!

This week we primary focused on preparing for our final presentations, so there were limited recipes being made each day. Most dinners consisted of family salads made by Julie!

Tip: Take your salad from drab to fab by getting creative with the ingredients. Some of the things I learned to love during family salad time were: nutritional yeast (sprinkled on top), olives, seaweed, pickled vegetables and creamy dressings made from a base of cashews.

Day 17: It’s my BIRTHDAY! Chia seed pudding, final presentation preparation


I thought I had mastered chia puddings, but this recipe proved I still had more to learn. We blended a banana into the almond milk base and oh my, was it good.


Today was also my birthday and my sweet partner, Molly, gave me a delicious brownie from Erewhon with a Wonder Woman card – it’s the little things that count! Malia, my bestie and founder of Lettermade, surprised me with custom Kale Yeah cocktail napkins! Want a set of your own? Shop the napkins here and use code FITLIVINGEATS for 20% off.


Day 18: And the birthday celebrations continue… cacao ganache tart

There’s only one word to sum up the cacao ganache tart – HEAVEN.


After two days of celebrating my birthday, I’ve never felt more loved on this day as I did in class. My instructor, Cat, is just bursting with joy and it overflowed into having the class sing “Happy Birthday” about 3 times in a 5-hour window of time 🙂 Two of my classmates also made me a birthday cake with a candle which was a special treat. The group of people in this class have such big hearts and genuine spirits and I am incredibly lucky to have shared this month with them.


Day 19: Final presentation preparation

Today was spent solely focused on tomorrow’s presentation – the BIG day!

Day 20: Final Presentations!

It’s the last day of class! Today we put all of our hard work into action by creating a three-course menu. My menu consisted of a roasted tomato soup, wild mushroom pizza and banana foster. We only executed two out of the three menu items and had about four hours to finalize any last minute ingredients and plate our dishes. Our family and friends were invited to share in this special moment and I was honored to have my mom there to watch me present.


After the presentations we enjoyed tiramisu (one of the best I’ve had) and graduated!


Final Takeaways from my month in Venice – Level 1 Raw Plantlab Culinary Course

When my instructor said on the first day that we would become like family by the end of the month, I thought she might’ve been reaching for the stars a bit. But it happened. When 12 people from all over the world come together for a month with one goal ahead, you can’t help but feel connected to one another.

This month was truly life changing for me in more ways than one. Stepping outside of my comfort zone to experience life in a new way was one of the best “calculated risks” I have ever made. I wasn’t quite sure how (practically speaking) this investment was going to pay off in the end, but I’ve come to learn that when we just take the next best step, it opens up a doors of opportunities we might have never dreamt of.

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The community, the education and the food were all so incredible that I was scheming ways that perhaps I could stay longer. But, duty calls and I had a business and life back at home to return to.

I knew that I had learned a lot during my time at Plantlab, but since being home I’ve been surprised at just how much knowledge I absorbed and the transformation that occurred during my month in LA. I feel a greater sense of confidence in my food preparation, recipe creations and cooking classes. I have recently catered a wellness retreat and couldn’t wait to implement the many techniques I had learned in the menu. I have a newfound appreciation for creating each layer of a dish from scratch and taking care of each ingredient that goes on the plate. Food is more than just fuel, it’s a way of life and a work of art and I am incredibly grateful for the Plantlab experience!


I believe that anything is possible if you set your mind to it, so who knows, maybe I’ll be back in CA completing Levels 2 and 3 before too long 🙂

Other LA Wanderings


  • Hollywood Sign Hike – a great hike for LA newbies. I would recommend going early since most of the trail is in full sun! We chose the moderate trail.
  • Blackwood Coffee Bar – this delicious café was located about 10 minutes from the Hollywood sign hike in west Hollywood. The lavender honey latte and matcha tea latte were fantastic.


  • Avocado – I brought every single person who came to visit to this store. I love the simple selection and quality clothes!
  • Malibu Wine Hikes – This was part of an early birthday celebration and was one of the most fun highlights of my time in LA. The tour was gorgeous and we got to meet Stanley, the famous giraffe! Afterwards we had our wine tasting – I would highly recommend ordering a cheese basket with your reservation.


  • Intelligentsia – a delicious coffee shop on Abbot Kinney. The almond milk latte was one of the best I’ve had and the matcha croissant was divine, of course.
  • Malibu Farm – On the last day of the trip, we visited this place for breakfast. The scenery was breathtaking and the food was delicious! I would recommend going early or making reservations, as the Malibu pier gets crowded on the weekends.


  • FIG Restaurant – this was where we went for my birthday and it was fantastic!

Are you interested in learning more about the PlantLab Culinary experience? Click Here!

-Carly Paige

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Hi! I’m Carly Paige, a culinary nutrition expert and chef who believes that healthy doesn’t have to be frustrating, boring or restrictive. I’m here to show you how through my Simply Swapped Method so that you can feel more energized and confident from within. You’ll find tips for focusing on nutrition in the kitchen, along with plant-powered, gluten-free recipes that proves healthy can be delicious.

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