If you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you’ve seen me post sneak peeks of what I’ve been up to lately with Matthew Kenney Culinary! I have just finished the first two weeks of the program and wanted to write my thoughts on the course so far for those who may be interested.
So first, why did I enroll in Matthew Kenney Culinary?
Ever since graduating from IIN, I have discovered a passion for learning that I never had before as it relates to food, the body and wellness. I have always loved cooking, but it has taken off on a whole new level since being introduced into the plant-based world.
I’ve known that I wanted to expand my knowledge in the culinary space for some time now, but I wasn’t quite sure exactly how I was going to do this while living in Orlando since I was picky about what kind of program I was looking for.
My main requirement was that it needed to focus on plant-based foods, while connecting the power of nutritious foods to the way we feel both now and years down the road. That didn’t leave me a whole lot of options!
I hadn’t heard of Matthew Kenney until just a few years ago, but after visiting his restaurant in NYC, I was hooked. As I began looking for culinary program options I saw that his team offers both on-site and online one-month programs for those looking to expand their culinary knowledge, whether for their own interest or to build a career in the kitchen. Sign me up!
Not only am I enrolled in the Fundamentals of Plant-Based Cooking, but I was gifted the Plant-Based Desserts Course (as part of the promotion and is still to be completed) and will be heading to Venice in the fall for the Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine Course! To say I’m just a wee bit excited about that one would be an understatement.
Fundamentals of Plant-Based Cooking Weeks 1 and 2
First, let’s get the logistics out of the way. What I love most about the online option is that you have up to three months to complete the one-month program. Let’s be real – I can’t put my business on hold for any length of time, so this allows me to chip away at the program in between meetings, cooking classes, writing blog posts and all of the other fun stuff I do!
That said, if you think you might be able to cut corners in this program, that is NOT the case. Each day takes about 6 hours to complete and the instructors take grading very seriously, so it’s important to take your time in the kitchen.
Now, what you’ve all been waiting for… the food!!
Not only does the program focus on cooking methods, but we also learn about flavor balance, the importance of plating, and we practice our knife skills every single day.
Throughout these past few weeks (well for me, a month), I’ve enjoyed all of the recipes, but of course, there were a few favorites! I can’t share the recipes with you, but I can share some yummy pictures that might make you drool. Just sayin’.
Can you believe I’ve never used a steam basket before? I know! On Day 2, we made a steamed bok choy dish with a cilantro tamari dressing and cooked buckwheat that forever changed my outlook on the steam basket and Asian flavors. I couldn’t get enough of it!
On Day 6, I learned two new tricks: homemade yogurt and cooked beans from scratch (I know, I know… I usually use the canned kind!). The beans were used for a grains bowl that included seared carrots, steamed collard greens and a green tahini sauce (who knew it was so easy to make homemade tahini?!).
This is probably my favorite recipe so far. I’m no stranger to grain bowls, but this took the one-bowl dish to a whole new level!
On day 8 we made a roasted cauliflower salad that was simple, but delicious. I’ve roasted cauliflower many times before, but leave it up to the program to show me a new way! The cauliflower was tossed in a light vinaigrette with roasted almonds, raisins and parsley.
Looking forward to getting the next two weeks underway and putting together my final project for the course!
And if you’re in the Orlando area and are interested in helping with kitchen clean-up, I pay in food (kidding… but not really) 🙂