Originally from Bremen, Germany, Living Light Graduate Chef Felix Schoener has had an illustrious career working at several prestigious restaurants and earning many awards along the way. His grandfather was a great pastry chef and taught young Felix that love was shown and expressed through food. He explains, “You could taste the love in every meal my grandfather prepared for me. Everything he cooked was so tasty and nourishing.”
Chef Felix has built upon this idea and the mantra, “Let the soul of produce shine” has become the cornerstone of his philosophy in the kitchen. Experimenting with his own healing path has led him to marry his love of raw living foods with the ancient tenets of Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. He has helped take raw living cuisine to the next level by combining holistic lifestyle philosophies with culinary arts.
“I told my mother I wanted to become a cook when I was seven-years-old,” he says. “She was a vegetarian for almost 30 years and always cooked healthy and simple vegetarian meals. We had a big house with a huge garden, where we grew our own vegetables, fruit, herbs, and nuts. My mom gave me a whole foods cookbook for kids and I cooked from that book for my family a lot. My family had their favorites, which they asked me to cook again and again. I remember that I celebrated every meal and enjoyed cooking it with love and attention.”
However, years later while working in Germany at a leading three-starred Michelin restaurant, he started questioning what he was doing for the first time. “We worked so hard, under full pressure and high stress for 16 hours a day,” he explains. “The environment was so competitive, the atmosphere quite toxic, with a lot of ego in the kitchen. We created amazing food but in a very unhealthy environment. After one-and-a-half years as Chef de Partie, I felt burned out.”
He became a vegetarian and took time off to sign up for Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) on several farms around Europe, including a raw food permaculture community in the south of Spain. After a month of eating raw, he had more energy and more mental clarity than ever before. He says, “I learned a lot about this natural way of eating and the natural cycle of food (planting, watering, harvesting, preparing, eating, energy, elimination, compost). Everything I ever heard and learned about our western lifestyle and food was questioned.”
His next job was at an organic bio-hotel and restaurant in Switzerland. He was given total creative freedom so he started experimenting with raw dishes before apprenticing at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. This was his first step specializing and working exclusively with raw vegan cuisine.
Mostly he was inspired by some of the world’s top chefs focusing on wild herbs, organic seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. There were only a handful of chefs with a professional background preparing raw, living foods at the time. Cherie Soria, the mother of gourmet raw cuisine opened Living Light Culinary Institute where he received further training.
“In my travels, I find more and more people are looking for healthier, sustainable options, and natural alternatives. I still follow a diet that is about 80 percent raw and living foods because I experience much more energy and much more mental clarity. When I eat a high-raw diet based on fresh fruit, vegetables, greens and wild herbs, seaweeds, superfoods and some simple healthy cooked foods like pseudo-grains (amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat) I feel great in my body, my skin clears up quickly, my hair is better, my mind is more balanced and calm, I sleep better and I wake up feeling fresher and ready to go.”
“In my experience, this diet is good for people who have a lot of stress and pressure, and for those who are ill and want to get better quickly. You’re getting nutrients without overloading the digestive system,” he says. “It’s pure fuel. It’s a high nutrient-dense diet with low-calorie content.”
Thank you, Chef Felix, for your bright soul and helping fuel the plant-based movement around the world.
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