I first experienced Raw Food at a little place in Batangas called The Farm at San Benito. It’s a beautiful place I was blessed to visit while on coverage for a travel magazine. Back then I had no real interest in anything labelled “healthy”. I still had the mindset that I could out-exercise any nastiness in my diet. The general manager greeted us with a fair warning about the detox to come and at that moment raw vegan cuisine earned the intensity it’s been publicized to have in my mind.

Years later I discovered raw food once again in the trendy, vegan cafes in the streets of Canggu. This time it was introduced a little different. Casual, hip, instgrammable and yet all the while intensely healthy. It all came at a time when I was reworking my diet towards more natural food and here is where I began to fall in love.

I feared coming home and not having my favorite smoothie bowls in the morning, cheesecakes for dessert or chia puddings for snacks – so I had no choice but to make them myself. All the while my passion for all the raw healthy things in the world was growing with each new recipe I tried. Mana Bites then came to life and since then I’ve been on a journey to develop more raw, healthy desserts.

Two years later, I decided it was time to invest in something that’s been in the back of my head all these years. I wanted to get professional mentorship for my raw food endeavors. While I’ve always prided myself with being self-taught in so many random endeavors, raw cuisine was something I wanted to dig deeper on. It was time to come back to Bali and find myself in The Raw Food Kitchen’s Level 1 Raw Food Chef Training. And if I had to end this story right here, I’d like to tell you that it was an absolute dream.

On the first day we met our classmates. There’s always a little anxiety for me at that point because you don’t know what kind of energies will be mixing in the room. I walked into this gor-ge-ous kitchen and said hello. Every minute after that was a sense of relief. I was surrounded by like-minded people and the dream continued.

Then comes Amanda Brocket: a fantastic and experienced raw food chef and mentor based in Australia. She enters in and gets us all oriented while green smoothies are passed around by the helping hands of her assistant, Emmalee. After a little chat we begin with Amanda’s first demo and then every day the dream continued. Let me fill you in on what happened during our week at The Raw Food Kitchen.

The Space

Amanda does workshops all around but we were lucky to catch her in the Alchemy Academy (owned by another raw food alchemist, Shanti) in Ubud, Bali. It was the perfect setting. You could feel the warm light coming in but the weather was cool and sometimes breezy.

The Demos

We learned so much over the course of 5 days. The class size was quite nice with just six of us gathered together in the course. Amanda structured a list of recipes to go through for each day and what was amazing was that we’d then get to feast on them later. The later part of the day would usually be dedicated to all the students making the dishes on our own. You’d hear footsteps flurrying in and out of the pantry, blenders being blitzed and everyone just having a great time creating art in the form of food.

The Scope

The Level 1 training was a beautiful introduction to Raw Food. Whether you’re new to working your kitchen or not, this training will ease you into all the great tools, tips and techniques that you need. Never intimidating and always digestable. We covered a little bit of everything from soups, to burgers to cake for dessert!

The Feast

Just about everyone’s favorite time was any meal time at The Raw Food Kitchen. Amanda would bring out all the things we’ve prepared during the demos as well as those we made ourselves and everyone would gather around the table for a beautiful lunch. It was the best experience because at the table was the fulfillment of all of our effort – just a wonderful cycle that ends with a happy stomach. (Of course as soon as Amanda made dessert, I was grabbing every opportunity to get a chocolate snack from the fridge – where I knew it would be.) Every day we left class feeling all too full for dinner – because of course raw food fills you up with all the nutrients you need straight away.

The Experience

In between sessions, Amanda also set up great little gatherings for everyone to enjoy. We attended a powerful cacao ceremony right at the academy. It began with some sage, a visual of a gorgeous flower mandala and of course some potent Balinese cacao – all while we were serenaded in song. On another occasion we also did an early morning ridge walk in Ubud where we got to see the sights and get a little bit of exercise too! On our last day before we went separate paths we did an affirmation dance right on the lawn of the academy. Everything was so pure, and the energy was just always building and becoming more full.

I’ve created a short video below to tell you even more about the great time that we had at The Raw Food Kitchen!

We walked away from Amanda’s course totally inspired and so excited to share what we’ve learned! If you’d like to see where she’ll be next check out here website www.therawfoodkitchen.com and follow her on Instagram @rawfoodkitchen. I’ve also listed some schedules below for your convenience:

17-24 May Detox Retreat (5 day fast, 3 day raw vegan). Raw Food Chef Course Level 1 – 25 June – 29 June 2019. Both are being held at Pondok Cocoa Learning Retreat Centre in Ubud. Please email her for inquiries! I promise it will be the experience of a lifetime.