Maximum temperature: 46° centigrade – for what can be described as “cooking”, or the nearest thing to it. In actual fact, there is more than one school of thought on the subject and the heat may vary slightly, give or take a few degrees, but the concept remains unchanged: “living food”, treated at a temperature that is bearable for man and the other creatures inhabiting the planet Earth, comprising bean plants. The raw food diet is growing in popularity worldwide. There is a form of raw foodism that excludes no ingredient but, today, raw veganism and raw vegetarianism are the most popular versions.
Does this conjure up a mental picture of two almonds and four lettuce leave’s Far from it. This is a sophisticated cuisine requiring expertise and a great deal of passion. What’s more, there is an increasing number of restaurants serving it. Overseas, the new wave broke on the Californian coasts a good ten years ago and, since then, from the Hawaii islands to Georgia and from Washington to Florida, it is gaining momentum. Not that the concept is a totally new one. It had already emerged (or re-emerged) as early as the ‘60s of the last century but today’s trend contemplates dishes that have been prepared and processed exactly like cooked ones.
Raw food restaurants in LA, London and Bucharest
The trail-blazer was Juliano in Los Angeles who, now that the historical restaurant Raw has closed, organizes Californian beach parties serving raw food, as well as teaching and awarding Raw University diplomas. From the United States to the United Kingdom it is all smooth sailing and, in London – and not only there – the anti cooking hob revolution is in full swing: a typical example is Nama raw food restaurant with its organic tiramisu and home-made tortelli and lasagne. In mainland Europe, the “all raw” diet is no less of a thing. La Barca raw food restaurant opened in Bucharest three or four years ago, offering a vegan menu but, above all, raw food and its customers flock in: “After the soup, a delicious (vegetable) zarzavat with almonds – I was full up. And entirely satisfied” - reports Noemi, a spa manager who, after attending courses and following various different diets, has elected the raw diet as her number 1 meal choice.
Milan and Rome: raw food restaurants in Italy
Raw foodism has even managed to land on the Mediterranean coasts. In Milan, Italy the first vegan raw food restaurant (Mantra Raw Vegan) is sailing through Expo with the wind in its sails whilst in Rome, in the famous upper middle class district of Parioli, Solo Crudo has made its debut as the first raw street food vendor in the capital. Not only do they sell nothing cooked but everything on the menu is certified and mindfully eco-sustainable with a particular focus on social aspects: from the electric bicycles used for deliveries, to the cooperatives taking on differently abled people as suppliers.
Asian Green Mondays and raw food restaurants
From the Mediterranean to Asia, we fly to Hong Kong: for the past three years “Green Mondays” have been urging the population to become vegetarian for at least one day a week. They have also spurred the success of vegetarian and vegan restaurants which lean increasingly towards raw cuisine. Such as Mana!, which boasts a fast-slow food, a vegan bar and a raw food restaurant. And what about the GreenWoods Raw Café, the first all-raw cuisine venue in Hong Kong.
So, if you haven’t yet given it a try, what are you waiting for?
Geranium's Rasmus Kofoed has decided to stop serving meat at the restaurant currently ranked number two on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. But the Danish chef isn't yet willing to go purely plant-based.