Vegan food is everywhere these days — which, frankly, is great news for America's collective waistline, the well-being of billions of animals, and our poor, beleaguered planet.
Despite its increasing mass appeal, lots of people still lack the skills to whip up a plant-based masterpiece on their own stoves. Luckily, chef Mark Reinfeld is swooping in to save the kitchen-clueless.
The cookbook author and chef (who Publisher's Weekly called "the male equivalent to a vegan Rachael Ray") is launching a pop-up school dubbed the Vegan Fusion Culinary Academy. The Miami Beach-based locale will offer classes like an introduction to vegan and raw food cuisine, intro to vegan soups, intro to salads and dressings, and more.
"For the last five years, I have been traveling internationally, teaching five- and ten-day culinary immersions, workshops, chef trainings, culinary tours, and teacher trainings," explains Reinfeld. "Now that I have settled in Miami, I want to create a center where people from around the world can be trained in the vegan fusion method I developed. My goal is to have vegan fusion-certified chefs and trainings teaching courses internationally."
As far as format, the school will include one- and two-day culinary courses; five- and ten-day culinary immersions; three-day advanced teacher trainings; intro and advanced cooking skills courses; three-month intensive chef certifications; CME-accredited courses for doctors, nurses, and medical students; vegan fusion chef certifications with job placement and support; and more.
In addition to the food element, Reinfeld is partnering with Lynn Kitchen of the Cafe of Dreams to add lifestyle and business coaching programs. This will include topics like mindful living, visioning, empowerment, and mindset; life, financial and business coaching; and guest presenters from the health and wellness community.
Tuition ranges depending on the course. The two-day intro to vegan and raw food cuisine (kicking off on February 6 and 7), for example, is $297 per person, with a $100 dishwasher tuition option. A five-day vegan fusion culinary immersion runs $877, or $250 for dishwasher tuition. A one-day intro to vegan soups class is $125, or $50 for a dishwasher option.
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"Currently, I have scheduled one five-day training, one two-day training, and two one-day trainings for each month of the 2016 curriculum, which currently included February, April, and June of 2016," Reinfeld says. "I will also be actively training others to teach the courses. Once teachers are trained in the vegan fusion method, I will work with them to create vegan fusion courses in their community and conduct vegan culinary tours worldwide. We will offer job placement services as the programs evolve."
So who are these classes designed for? Anyone and everyone, says Reinfeld.
"The academy is open to anyone looking to expand their knowledge of vegan and raw food cuisine — whether you are new to cooking or are a classically trained chef wanting more experience with plant-based ingredients," says Reinfeld. "Many people attend my courses because they are aware of the numerous health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet but are unfamiliar with how to get started. That is where the Academy fits in. Students who take the courses will experience greater levels of creativity and confidence in the kitchen."