Chef James Sant Spotlights Living Light Grads

Q:  Tell us a little about what Living Light Culinary Institute graduates are doing with their certifications.

A: Great question. After getting their certifications, our graduates hit the ground running. They generally fall into one of three categories: Raw and  vegan teaching and coaching, chef work at a café or restaurant, and/or recipe book or blog personalities. Some do all three! I love following their incredible journeys as they venture out into the plant-based culinary world. In the past four years I’ve witnessed some grads shooting straight to the top in their chosen field, and many are able to discover the most satisfying and passionate careers they can imagine.

Living Light Grads Put Plant-Based Cuisine on the Map!

A few standout grads are Nina Curtis, Executive Chef at The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu; Brooke Preston, owner of the Green Boheme Raw Café in Sacramento; Theresa Nicassio, author of Yum: Plant Based Recipes which won Gourmand magazine’s number one new vegan cookbook last year; Amie Sue Oldfather, photographer, celebrity blogger, and creator of Nouveau Raw, and Brooke Purkiss, owner of Get Living Raw Foods wellness coaching, and many more!

Q:  How would you describe the Living LIght approach to teaching?

What sets our teaching approach apart is the methodical yet gentle unfolding of the materials and techniques in our program. We have embedded every day with a wealth of knowledge and it takes great skill to present it in a way that allows students time to assimilate the information correctly. Our students love the step-by-step culinary training and appreciate that all of our plant-based nutritional science is well sourced and peer reviewed!

The other thing that makes us stand out is that we teach chefs to teach others about a raw vegan diet. They arrive wanting to perfect their techniques in living foods, and they most certainly achieve that, but in the process they also learn how to instruct and/or coach clients on culinary technique and nutritional information. I constantly receive great feedback from graduates about the difference our program creates in their confidence to get out there and become a voice for the plant-based movement that is sweeping the culinary world.

Q: Tell me more about the hashtag #livinglightgrad.

A: We’ve created the hashtag #livinglightgrad for social media and we encourage our grads to use the tag so we can now easily search for an inspiring list of our Living Light grads and see the successes they are achieving in the world. So far we are use the hashtag on Facebook and Instagram.

Q: How did you get interested in plant-based food and teaching raw vegan culinary arts?

A:  I’ve always been fascinated with food. The kitchen has been a great playground for me from the time I decided to go vegetarian back in 1983. I trained in macrobiotics with teachers from the Kushi Institute, and later developed an interest in Thai cooking and an obsession with all types of fermentation including krauts, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and other beneficial probiotic-rich recipes. Healing from a serious industrial accident six years ago, I knew my life’s work would be to find a way to teach plant-based healing to the world. I decided to attend Living Light Culinary Institute and once I finished the chef program here, I was immediately hired as a teacher. This work has allowed me to truly manifest my dream and has led to four years of the most passionate work I’ve experienced in my life.

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