Sam Romano is a 21-year old from Bartlett, IL a small town an hour outside of Chicago. He is a recent graduate of Living Light’s Raw Culinary Arts Associate Chef and Instructor Training™. Sam has been a vegetarian for four years before he discovered the raw food lifestyle. After high school Sam dove into researching nutrition. He discovered raw foods when he was a student at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and from there he decided he wanted a career as a Holistic Health Counselor. He took a course at the Tree of Life and very quickly made the decision to take his culinary career to the next level by attending Living Light Culinary Institute. His goal is to open his own raw business selling high-quality raw food, super foods, juices, smoothies and raw meals.
Get to know Sam Romano in Living Light’s Chef Spotlight.
Chef Experience: How did you get interested in raw foods at such a young age?
Sam Romano: It was really a long gradual process. In elementary school, my doctor said I had A.D.D. and gave me drugs to help me. After going through three different ones like Ritalin and Adderall, [they] made me dizzy and not talk. I never liked taking them and stopped very quickly. Then he said to stop eating Red dye 40, a food coloring, that I was consuming everyday, in High-C Fruit punch. After that I started reading all the labels on food I ate.
And in high school, my friend went to India, and came back a vegan, and showed me animal cruelty videos. and I was so shocked, and I became conscious that the meat on my plate was an animal that probably didn’t have a good life. So I was vegetarian for four years, and just this summer I started eating superfoods like hemp, spirulina, Goji, chlorella, cacao and that help me get off dairy and eggs and move towards becoming a nutritarian.
CE: What is a nutritarian?
SR: A nutritarian is someone who is on a nutrient dense diet, and only eats things that have beneficial vitamins and minerals.
CE: How long have you been eating raw food diet?
SR: I've been high raw for 10 months, since June 2011. A lot of days 100%, sometimes I eat beans and good whole grains, sweet potato and acorn squash when they are in season.
CE: How has raw foods changed your life?
SR: It’s changed in so many ways. Everyday is so amazing, I feel so blessed and appreciate everything so much more, it really opened me up to spirituality, I can recall my memory so much better, mental clarity. I'm a lot stronger as an athlete and my endurance has gone up!!
CE: When did you know that you wanted to be a gourmet raw vegan chef?
SR: Well after high school, I just had to get out of my town, so me and my friend moved to California. Where I was a ski bum, I worked at Sierra at Tahoe Resort. Where I got over 120 days of snowboarding in. That’s when I realized how much money it cost to live the way I wanted to. So I moved back home and asked the universe what am I going to do for a career in my life. I asked for guidance, and I was on my computer everyday just looking up amazing facts on superfoods. When I found David Wolfe. He got me into raw foods and one day I was watching an interview with him and he mentioned the Tree of Life with Dr. Gabriel Cousens, and It looked so amazing I decided I wanted to go there. And that’s when it hit me that I should look into making raw foods and that I really wanted to spread the word as much as I possibly could.
CE: How did you find out about Living Light Culinary Institute?
SR: I just Google’d ‘raw culinary schools’ and searched through a couple and Living Light really stood out to me.
CE: When deciding on a school, what were the major factors that played a part in your decision? What were you looking for?
SR: The environment plays a big part. Fort Bragg looked like an amazing spot to me i love the out doors and Trees. and LL looked really professional. it looked legit. and at the same time relaxed, and chill. It was 100% organic. and they really are helpful to beginners.
CE: What was your first week at the Living Light Culinary Institute like?
SR: They started you off slow but we got to see a lot of demos. and it was consistent. They really have the teaching schedule perfect and they know how to train people well.
CE: What is your favorite dish that you have created so far?
SR: I really loved the living lasagna.
CE: What is your typical day at school like?
SR: Smoothies at 8:45. Nine o’clock we discuss different topics then we go in and watch a demo, then we get to make what we just saw in the demo.
CE: What do you like most about attending Living Light?
SR: I really enjoyed the instructors and the information and how you schedule the day. They’re jam-packed days.
CE: What is the most challenging?
SR: Talking in front of people.
CE: Where do you see yourself after graduation from Living Light Culinary Institute?
SR: I can see myself working at a raw restaurant in Chicago, making raw desserts for weddings and parties. Going to Korea to do demos, and eventually I want to open my own raw café.
CE: What advice do you have for anyone thinking about a career in the raw foods?
SR: Keep it simple, get as much of your food local or start a garden and only support organic.