I am Naomi a Natural Food Chef candidate and student approaching my tenth week into the 15-week Natural Food Chef Culinary Arts program at Nutrition Therapy Institute. I feel I have brought a unique perspective of diversity to the Natural Food Chef program and as a future Natural Food Chef who happens to be blind. Over these last ten weeks, I have learned a lot about myself and have been able to stretch my unique creative talents and incorporate them into my cooking along with having the opportunity to develop my unique culinary style and my overall philosophy of creative pantry meets fresh approach.
One of my biggest takeaways thus far in the program is having learned how to take simple ingredients and use them as building blocks to create homemade salad dressings and to then discover the endless possibilities of how simple ingredients such as lemons, fresh herbs, spices, and olive oil can create simple healthy and delicious homemade vinaigrettes, that can then evolve from a taste of ordinary to extraordinary. Learning how to make vinaigrettes from scratch, I will no longer buy store-bought vinaigrettes again. Similarly, I have enjoyed learning the process of pickling to create organic healthy delicious canned Pickled vegetables for added textures and flavor profiles to incorporate into salads or sandwiches. Prior to culinary school, I used to buy picked vegetables and cabbage in a jar because I thought that the processes of pickling were laborious, now having learned how simple it is to make simple delicious, pickled vegetables with a few simple ingredients I won’t ever buy store-bought pickled vegetables.
The Natural Food Chef program has given me other opportunities that have been unique that I would not have thought were possible such as: being given the creative freedom the think outside the box to create my own personal business as a Natural Food Chef through taking a business class that gave me the soup and nuts of building a small business. Likewise, other opportunities such as making homemade artisan crackers, artisan bread to pie crusts have been a learning experience I will not ever forget. I have always loved Baking, though felt intimidated by Pastry Arts as a whole. Although, I thoroughly enjoyed making artisan seed crackers by myself because it gave me the opportunity to stretch my culinary skills to a whole new level to discover new possibilities for myself as a future Natural Food Chef moving forward. Due to this experience, I had during our week of Baking, I am seriously considering furthering my Culinary Arts education after this program and embarking on a Pastry Arts journey to incorporate into my unique journey as a Natural Food Chef.
To anyone who has a passion for food and loves to cook, I highly recommend this unique Culinary Arts program at Nutrition Therapy Institute. While I may have been the first student and soon to be Natural Food Chef with a disability to have walked through the doors of Nutrition Therapy Institute, it is my hope that I will not be the last. My hope is that diversity continues to be ever-present in the Natural Food Chef program at Nutrition Therapy Institute and the culinary community.
Spring 2021 Natural Food Chef Candidate