Veganism is a lifestyle that promotes the rights of all living creatures, according to the American Vegan Society. Vegan cuisine excludes food products that are animal-based or animal-related, and a vegan's philosophy also excludes clothing or products that are derived from animals, such as leather, fur, silk, oils and cosmetics. Vegan cuisine is not readily available in most restaurants across the country, but its popularity is growing and vegan culinary schools are becoming more widespread.
Vegan foods are primarily vegetable-based. Foods excluded are meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, animal gelatin, honey and more. Preparing nutritious menus based in vegan cuisine can be challenging. Achieving a diet that contains sufficient protein and associated nutrients such as amino acids, iodine and vitamin B-12 requires a sound base in vegan do’s and don’ts. Vegans may have a difficult time finding restaurants that offer vegan options or that have chefs with experience in vegan cuisine. For a vegan chef, ensuring that her vegan customer is not in violation of his philosophy requires professional training in food preparation and nutrition.
Raw Vegan Academy
The Raw Vegan Academy (chefsararawveganacademy.com) in Cave Creek Arizona has two programs. The first is a three-week course with a stress on using foods to detox, prevent and reverse disease and achieve a healthy lifestyle. The second part is a certification course with a prerequisite being the three-week Back to Health program, followed by a one-month Raw Vegan Chef instructor program and a one-month internship. At the end of the program the student receives a Raw Vegan Chef Certificate and is qualified to cook, teach and instruct.
Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts
The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts (naturalepicurean.com) is in Austin, Texas. It offers a program devoted strictly to the training of professional chefs in the culinary arts of plant-based cuisine. Its programs include vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic, raw and living foods and vegetarian. The professional chef program is 900 hours of classroom study, mixed with externship, demonstrations and assisting. The school’s goal is to provide a broad knowledge base in nutritious and flexible cooking.
Vegan Culinary Academy
The Vegan Culinary Academy (veganculinaryacademy.com) is in Angwin, California. The academy offers a 1,000-hour apprenticeship program that includes commercial vegetarian nutrition, vegetable and fruit sculpting, raw cuisine, knife skills, hot and cold kitchen skills, a nationally recognized food safety management certificate and on-the-job-training. It also offers four-hour workshops for people needing to add to or upgrade their skills in vegetarian and vegan cuisine.