Chefs

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Our chefs program provides a valuable opportunity to experience innovative vegetarian dishes prepared by a selection of leading vegetarian and vegan chefs.

Here are the chefs who presented in 2019.

For their presentation times, see the Schedule of Events

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Chef Ramses Bravo

Ramses Bravo

Ramses trained as a regular chef in San Francisco, before moving to the East Coast to complete a 4-year chef training program. There, he learned all about cooking meat, with lots of salt, oil, butter, cream and cheese.

Returning to California, he became the chef in a high-end hotel for 4 years, and found himself gaining weight rapidly.  After the hotel was sold, he hoped to start his own business, but he was offered a job as a vegan chef, which he took as a temporary measure, knowing nothing about vegan cooking.  He couldn’t believe that not only was he expected to shun animal products, but he was expected to cook without without oil, salt or sugar as well! But he was enticed by the opportunity to start a whole new kitchen, and so he stayed, and learned a whole new way of cooking, while getting a whole lot healthier.

Fast forward 10 years, and Chef Ramses has become an expert vegan chef, and the executive chef for the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa.  He has written two cookbooks, Bravo and Bravo Express to share his knowledge and expertise with the world.

 

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Chef Alan Roettinger

Alan Roettinger

Alan has always loved food. He grew up in   Mexico, where the food literally explodes with flavor. He learnt Mexican cooking from the maids and the gardener, but he had no idea then that he would have a career in cooking. At 18, he left home and spent two years living in Switzerland. He traveled throughout Europe and Morocco, where each town seemed to have its own unique cuisine. Eventually, he moved to the United States and worked at various jobs around the country before settling on a career as a private chef.

As a private chef, he not only got to make different food every day and use expensive ingredients, he got to observe human nature at the pinnacle of wealth and power. During his 25 years serving the rich and famous (including a president and a prime minister), he learned a lot about what we hunger for, and what satisfies. He is now a writer, food designer, blogger, and public speaker. He’s the author of several cookbooks including Speed Vegan, Extraordinary Vegan, and most recently The Almond Milk Cookbook.

photo by Blake Gardner Photography

Chef James Sant

James Sant

Plant-food chef James Sant, has been a professional artist for the past 30 years. As part of this, his passionate exploration of healthy food has been a lifelong journey. In the eighties his focus was upon vegetarian and Macrobiotic training. In the nineties, this expanded to include Thai food culinary studies and an avid exploration of wild fermentation.

In 2010, James was very seriously injured and chose to avoid unnecessary surgeries and prescription drugs through studying plant food as medicine. This choice would dramatically expedite his healing process, improve his health, and pave the way to a passionate new career. He completed his Mastery of Raw Vegan certification training, received his Advanced Raw Vegan Pastry Arts and Gourmet Raw Vegan Chef certifications and in 2013, joined the teaching staff at Living Light.

Today James is the Culinary Programs and Creative Director of Living Light International (rawfoodchef.com). As lead instructor, he teaches whole food plant-based recipe development, personal coaching, and the art of food photography to students from around the globe.

 

Michelle Schwegmann

Chef Michelle Schwegmann

Michelle Schwegmann

Michelle Schwegmann co-founded the Herbivore Clothing Company in 2002 with the hopes of spreading the positive messages of veganism, animal rights, and environmentalism. She and her husband and co-founder Josh Hooten live with their vegan daughter Ruby and two ridiculous rescue dogs, Sassy & Ace, in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a vegan hub and home to The Herbivore Clothing Store, located in the world famous Vegan Mini Mall — a destination for vegans and the vegan-curious that visit from all over the globe. Michelle and Josh give back by donating products, time, and design work, and in 2015 wrote a book called Eat Like You Give A Damn, a cookbook and vegan how-to guide to help those starting out in their new cruelty-free life. Their goal has been and always will be, animal rights, social justice, and well, if vegan burritos get involved, that’s pretty great too.

 

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Chef Archana Verma

Archana Verma

Chef Archana is from a university town 300 miles from Delhi, India. She grew up in a home with health-conscious parents and a rich heritage of Punjabi North Indian cuisine; healthy eating and an active lifestyle were as important as adherence to flavorful recipes.

Archana moved to the United States in 1990 as an engineer, and for the last 10 years she has tailored her mother’s recipes for her busy lifestyle as a full-time working mother. Food is her second vocation and she is excited about making Indian cooking easy, fast and accessible. She teaches regularly at PCC Natural Markets.