LONDON, United Kingdom — “It all started for fun: I had always been a supporter of raw food and decided to organise a cooking lesson with a friend in Tuscany. The original plan was to hold it once or twice a year, being something informal with friends. Yet that session was so successful, and we had so much fun, that I started to think how to make it work and transform my passion to my dream job. At the time, I was working in the entertainment industry managing concerts, so I decided to organise some touring cooking lessons, a sort of touring school. The idea was great, we held lessons in more than 15 Italian cities in the first months of 2010, and most of them were sold-out.”
This is Vito Cortese speaking, one of the most influential Italian chefs that are making rawism popular throughout Italy and Europe. He is at the helm of Nudo & Crudo, a gourmet raw food school that organises touring cooking classes and events, such as Maninpasta, for wannabe raw foodist chefs.
Rawism is a way of eating that refers to food in its natural unprocessed condition. Its diet mainly consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat (such as carpaccio) and fish (such as sashimi) combined together in a healthy way that also enhances the flavour of each ingredient.
“Raw” does not mean “cold”: food is still somehow warm, even if its temperature is within 42°C degrees to preserve important nutrient values and digestive enzymes not contained in cooked food. The nutrient values deriving from raw food are delivered through blood to the body cells and help to have cleaner blood, healthier cells, a more balanced weight-loss management, brighter skin and an increase in energy and stamina.
The cooking project has been so successful in Italy that chef Vito has decided to expand this initiative creating a team of 7 raw foodist chefs throughout Europe. Lorena Loriato is part of the team and represents Nudo&Crudo in London and the UK market. She offers Italian gourmet raw cuisine classes on a regular basis, as well as catering for private dinners and parties.
Alike Vito, Lorena found in raw food the perfect solution for her nutrition issues. “I believe raw natural food is one of the most authentic and healthy ways of nurturing body and soul,” says chef Lorena.
“It means plunging into the natural, vibrant colours and tastes of fruit and vegetables, and feeling every cell of your body alive and rejuvenated. Food-sensitive people are increasing in numbers and that is due to what we eat and how we eat. Roasting, frying and even a barbeque can spoil a potentially healthy food. I have experienced that eating a balanced highly raw food diet not only detox your body from daily stress, but also clears up your mind and makes you feel happier.”
Lorena explains that when she met Vito, she immediately realised she was the best leader for a raw food project. “We share a very balanced approach to this way of eating; we understand that there is not just one perfect diet suitable for everyone since we all have different stories. However, the benefits of including more raw meals in one’s diet are amazing, and the best way to welcome more people into this healthy world is to introduce food in a mouth-watering, fascinating gourmet way.”
“I feel like a magician while I try new recipes, and a painter while I prepare my dish! This is the way I express myself and my talent, and I hope to be able to open one day my own raw food restaurant. I think I will take inspiration from restaurant SAF in London, whose contemporary and elegant look really resembles my style and the aesthetic of my dishes.”