Being asked to be menu consultant for the new and exciting raw vegan restaurant KOKO GREEN (www.kokogreen.com) in the Old Town of Nice, France, was a huge privilege. The restaurant also offers cooked vegan options, but it was for the raw dishes I was asked to advise on. When the offer came through from the head chef and owner Nick Tempest – I leapt at the opportunity and couldn’t wait to get to work. After much preparation on home turf in England, I flew to France where I spent a week sharing and working on delicious raw food meals including this; an incredibly appetising Raw Thai Green Soup with Tamari Kelp Noodles.
I’m not a huge fan of the term ‘clean eating’ for reasons I will go into another time, but when I eat this – the flavours are so, well, clean that I have to accept defeat and say this is the ultimate clean eating treat. What was also a treat was being flown out to work in such a beautiful part of the world and in the company of such kind and welcoming colleagues. Nick soaked up all the culinary advice I had to offer and it was great being back in the kitchen again.
In between developing and refining dishes, I was able to have a little R&R in the form of a day trip to Monaco… not bad eh? The train from Nice Central took me directly there in 30 minutes and I spent the day exploring and climbing the never ending steep and winding streets. I was quite taken aback by just how unusual the layout of Monaco is – a zig zag montage of streets all on coast line that seem to go up and up and up! So much so that there are even lifts to take you from the top streets to the bottom. I’m probably not painting a very clear image of this I your heads but if you are ever to travel there – you will immediately know what I mean (again, not very helpful I know).
I loved the fact my work had taken me to a part of the world I was unlikely to visit had it not been for the particular job coming up, but Monaco left me a bit cold as I felt it was really a place only to be enjoyed by the rich & wealthy. And by wealthy I mean the drenched in diamonds type. How lovely it would be to lay by one of the exclusive swimming pools over looking the marina, sipping Veuve Cliquot out of a crystal flute whilst looked through ones D&G sunglasses, soaking in the sunshine. But alas, us mere mortals had to stomp around in converse trainers with a rucksack on carrying a homemade picnic as all the eateries were for people who weren’t dressed in converse trainers wearing rucksacks. Or at least the ones I happened upon weren’t. Never the less, it was fun getting a glimpse of how the like of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button spend their days when not tearing around in their F1 cars.
So back to the kitchen it was for me, which was by no means a chore. I love being creative and sharing my passion for raw foods especially with people who are as equally passionate. And I wish Nick & Melina (Nicks parnter and co owner of Koko Green) all the luck in the world. The French customers won’t be the easiest to win over, as we all know they are not particularly renowned for their love of vegan food – but hopefully the vibrancy and freshness of these raw dishes speak for themselves. It’s just delicious food – pure and simple. And that’s what the bases of raw food is all about.