Doug McNish didn't practise veganism while he was attending chef's school, but the 29-year-old does now and it has given him a whole new vision on how it feels to eat healthier.
“At chef’s school they didn't teach me about vegetarian or vegan food per se,” he explains. “In fact, I learned more about fried food.”
However, the instructors did teach him the necessary techniques, such as cutting, organization and how to season food properly, which went a long way to furthering his career.
Once working in the food industry, McNish also found himself gaining weight which in turn made him unhappy. At about the same time, he viewed a video on the unethical treatment of animals by the food industry and that convinced him to become vegan.
Vegans, considered the purists of the vegetarian world, refuse to eat all animal-derivative food, including cheese, butter, eggs and milk.
Now McNish has taken organic, plant-based cuisine to a whole new level in his first cookbook, “Eat Raw, Eat Well” (Robert Rose, $27.95, paperback).
“I discovered that when you are eating raw, such as fresh fruit, seeds and vegetables, you feel lighter,” he says. “I can see that it can take you to another level so that you want to water fast and juice cleanse as it opens your mind to a whole lot of different healthier things.”
The Toronto-based McNish provides consultations to businesses and interested groups and individuals on all platforms of plant-based cuisine.
He also gives public cooking demonstrations, plant-based competitions in the iron chef mode and caters to events.
“And I see a lot of other chefs going in the same direction because the public is becoming more aware how necessary it is to eat healthier.”
This dish is a great way to get many healthy ingredients into your body, McNish writes.
Pesto-Coated Carrot Parsnip Fettuccine
3 large carrots, peeled
3 large parsnips, peeled
15 ml (1 tbsp) cold-pressed (extra virgin) olive oil
50 ml (1/4 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) fine sea salt, divided
175 ml (3/4 cup) cold-pressed hemp oil
125 ml (1/2 cup) raw shelled hemp seeds
3 cloves garlic
750 ml (3 cups) chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots and parsnips into long, thin strips, dropping into a bowl as completed. Add olive oil, 5 ml (1 tsp) of the lemon juice and 1 ml (1/4 tsp) of the salt and toss until vegetables are well coated. Set aside for 10 minutes, until softened.
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process hemp oil and seeds, garlic and remaining lemon juice and salt, until somewhat smooth but the hemp seeds retain some texture.
Add cilantro and process until chopped and blended, stopping the motor once to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add pesto to fettuccine, toss well and serve.
Makes 2 servings.
Tip: For best results when peeling vegetables for this recipe, use a Y-shaped (slingshot) vegetable peeler.