Along his dramatic rise to the top table, Jamie has worked alongside a who’s who of famous chefs, including Michael Caines, Heston Blumenthal and won The Gordon Ramsay Scholarship to train and work with the brilliant, but notoriously demanding man.
After twenty years of working at the top of his game, and feeling burnt out from the demands of Michelin star kitchens, Jamie Raftery needed a sabbatical. He’d gone as far as he could go in his calling for high-end cuisine. Jamie was looking for a new aspiration, and it came in the most unlikely of places. On the banks of the Pai River in Northern Thailand.
Having gone to Pai for a rustic retreat from the fast lane, Jamie began to explore and work with a plant-based food diet. The connection with nature, the raw fruits of the land from farm to fork, and the study of the ancient Hindu system of Ayurvedic medicine and philosophy ignited a new passion and path.
The Holistic Chef was born.
Jamie has now dedicated himself to an integrated approach to food, balancing health, lifestyle and taste into every dish. In 2019 he’s launching a cookery school in the UK in the pursuit of educating chefs on whole food diet and recipes. Whilst based in England, he describes the cooking school as ‘Nomadic’, and travels regularly to International kitchens to spread the word and develop local, seasonal menus.
And so, fortunately for me, I was able to meet the man at the Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort, Thalang, to discuss his love of healthy ingredients and, most essentially, sample the culmination of his new skills.Chef Jamie is at the resort to create a range of new menus, inspired by locally sourced goods that will be available at Thanyapura soon.
I asked Jamie about his approach to developing whole food diets and explorating new combinations of taste.
“It’s about an individual’s relationship with food,” Jamie said. “Diet, thoughts and exercise are all connected towards a healthy approach to life. The food you eat should also nourish these interests. Holistic dishes can be full of flavour and vital in your body’s need to thrive.”
Jamie uses a range of techniques and seasonal ingredients to create an incredible array of taste combinations and development of food rules and processes, including fermentation and macrobiotics.
On with the show. Firstly I was presented with a Black Bean Chilli ‘Non’ Carne bowl. I see what they did there. The bean chilli was accompanied with avocado, infused mango cubes, cashew nut sour cream and cauliflower rice. From talking to Jamie about his passion and craft I was not surprised to be wowed by the result. The chilli is one to savour and surprisingly hearty. And the supporting ingredient combo bring new grins with every mouthful. Missing the meat? Not so much.
For dessert I had the Key Lime Cheesecake with acai berry and coconut crisp, which had a delicious citrus tang against the nutty crumble base.
The finale, a Cacao and Silken Tofu Mousse made with almond butter, orange, goji berry and chia seed jam. The crunchy granola topping and smooth chocolate mousse play so well together and I was left more that satiated across my lunch experience.
It’s a fine feeling to know that dishes as rich and complex as these could be just what your body and soul are after too.
So what’s next on Chef Jamie’s journey?
“My goal is to ‘Educate, Inspire and Empower’. It’s about informing people on new techniques, that a healthy diet is simple to create, and provide the knowledge to do it well.”
Visit The Holistic Chef website at - http://holisticchef.co.uk/
Jamie Raftery’s unique and uber-tasty recipes will soon be launching at Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort, Thalang - https://www.thanyapura.com/
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