By Hannah Phoebe Bowen.
Matthew Kenney is the founder of Matthew Kenney Cuisine, his work provides us with a powerful vision of the future of plant based eating. We turn to his cookbooks, Instagram and menus to be reminded of a world that is plant-based, wholesome and made with love and flair.
The tagline “Crafting the Future of Food” is something that has always stood out for us. It captures the essence of the combined artistry and innovation pioneered by Matthew Kenney as a chef and by his Academy, restaurants and graduates as a community. So we asked him what the phrase means to him: “Crafting the Future of Food is our tagline although it’s also our company mantra. It’s a reminder to us all that the work we’re doing is part of something larger, that it’s part of a mission to change the way the world thinks about its food choices. We are educating ourselves and our students to make sound ingredient choices, to support more sustainable processes and to promote a plant-based lifestyle that is delicious, healthful, innovative and accessible. This is the future of food.”
Kenney enthused: “We’re seeing a big transformation in how people approach plant based food with very prominent chefs, restaurants and global companies prioritizing plant-based cuisine”.
Running a culinary academy Kenney is privileged to see this transformation through “the innovation and thoughtfulness of our students and staff everyday.” The shift towards plant-based eating is natural and inevitable seeing as “this is the most creative, delicious and sustainable food. It’s also the most nutritious, and the best for you.”
Kenney’s memoir Cooked Raw follows his journey to a plant-based diet and the transformation involved and how this “prompted me to be an educator, I wanted help teach people about the health and wellness benefits that can be achieved through eating plants.” Heavily and positively influenced by his background as a chef in some of the most highly esteemed restaurants, Kenney “always wanted to create beautiful, nutritious food and deliver fantastic culinary experiences” never leaving the customer feeling that anything was in some way “missing” from the plate.
“We really do think this is the future of food – where eating plant-based is not the exception, it’s the norm” he told us. And certainly by offering courses in all aspects of raw food, specific nutrition and sports nutrition programmes, online courses in superfoods and food photography and a new plant-based cooking currriculum, and with restaurants offering gourmet raw food (in LA), plant based pizza (in New York) and an exciting new project in Maine (see below), alongside a range of raw chocolate, treenut cheeses and vegan gelato, it really does seem that he is on the path to normalizing this way of eating and changing the world!
“The project I’m most excited about right now is probably opening Arata in Maine this Memorial Day weekend (end of May UK readers!). This will be the first concept from our culinary incubator space The Gothic, in Belfast. We’re using this space to test new concepts, experiment, and continuously innovate.
Our cuisine continues to evolve.“
After a visit to one of your restaurants, studying one of your courses, reading your book or even simply reading this interview, what is the one thing you hope people take away? That eating one plant-based meal a day can change their lives, and the world.