Natural Chef Experiences

‘I just published my first book!’

Camille Knowles, CNM Natural Chef Graduate

I first found out about CNM through my mum, she studied nutritional therapy and her passion for the course inspired me.

Soon after, I enroled on the short course
How to make natural skincare products

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Starting this workshop reignited my passion for all things natural. Several years later, after becoming a qualified health coach, I returned to CNM to study on the Natural Chef course.

Having learnt a lot about nutrition from my mum and through my course, I needed to know how to make it professionally and write about it.
The best part was discovering how to write recipes and turn my Natural Chef Diploma into a business.

On the course, I learnt everything from raw and cooked food to sprouting and fermenting, juices and smoothies to baking – all with a healthy and therapeutic focus.

A huge factor in my love of natural nutrition was the exploration of non-pharmaceutical paths to managing my eczema – healthy eating and lifestyle was a big factor in this.

Now I’m on a mission to support others with eczema, helping them understand how to manage their condition through food and nutrition.

Spreading the word about the link between natural skincare, healthy eating and treating eczema is so important to me. Thank you CNM for teaching my mother the valuable skills she passed on to me, for showing me how to make natural skincare products and for teaching me how to create delicious recipes which help me thrive.

‘The Beauty of Eczema’ is my book, available to buy on Amazon, and my online programme is coming soon. You can find my recipes and beauty product recommendations on my website and social media feed.

‘I managed to really leave my corporate career without regrets’

Kieu-My PHAM THAI, CNM Natural Chef Graduate

What has been your main occupation since finishing the course?

Creating plant-based recipes inspired by world cuisines for families, a yoga retreat and a food start-up.

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How much of a cook were you before starting this course?

I have always been cooking as a side business (during all my corporate life). I became a professional pastry chef after being trained in Paris, I had my own catering company cooking for start-ups.

What made you decide that it was for you?

Because I am so good when I speak about food to people since childhood. It’s creative, it brings people back to the table. It’s about our body and mind.  I wanted to learn the basics of cooking and all about healthy cooking.

What did/do you find especially enjoyable?

  • I enjoy the courses that were compulsory before having the Natural Chef
  • Within the classes, I enjoyed especially the pulses and grains, the spices and the business class.

What did/do you find especially useful?

The business class, the knife skills

 

Your Internship

If your internship has been completed, where did you do it?

Yes. The best experience was working at NOPI (Ottolenghi)

What did you learn from the experience?

Be organised, be quick, be creative.

I also realised that I love cooking especially WITH people (and certainly not just FOR people).

I had a better understanding of flavours as NOPI uses a lot of herbs and spices.

 

Please give any examples of how you helped provide your hosts with a fresh take on healthy food, or otherwise benefited them, and any feedback you got.

I am training some English families to understand the basics of healthy and tasty cooking to bring back families around the table.

I am able to customize recipes I create according to preferences but also health goals. The recipe creation is especially a new skill that I feel much more confident than before.

How has the course changed your life?

I am not only more confident in cooking but I am much more confident to take people on a journey to flavoursome healthy cooking. Also, I can see healthy cooking as a business and no longer as a hobby.

How are you/will you be using your CNM Natural Chef qualification?

  • Creating recipes for families and companies
  • Training people in healthy cooking
  • Cooking for people (families and guests at the retreat)
  • Would be happy to act as a consultant in restaurants to improve their menu

What advice would you offer to others thinking of doing this course?

CNM provides us with a lot of knowledge. The choice of the internship is key to put that knowledge into practice.

Kieu-My will soon be the lead chef on a luxury health retreat and regularly posts her beautiful recipe creations on her social media

If you are interested in embarking on a career like Kieu-My  has, come along to our Open Evening on Nov 8th with Adria Wu and find out how you too can be a CNM Natural Chef.

‘The lecturers are experts in their field’

Carolyn Nicholas, CNM Natural Chef Graduate

What were your favourite things about the course?

All of the recipes, lectures & lecturers. They were true experts in their fields and learning from them made every class exciting. I still keep in touch with some of them today!

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What has been your main occupation since finishing the course?

Recipe development, food photography in my own kitchen, plus seeing clients at The Perrymount Clinic in West Sussex coaching on healthy eating and cooking.

How much of a cook were you before starting this course?

I grew up in a family where the kitchen was the heart of the home and always in use. I learned baking and cooking not only from my parents, but also grandparents who owned bakeries and restaurants. I wanted to use this course to broaden my knowledge of healthy cooking techniques, and also to be able to pass this on to my own family and friends.

What made you decide that it was for you?

A bit of research and a quick tour of the school got me excited and ready to start as soon as possible.

What key skills did you learn on the course?

How to cook and eat based on Naturopathic principles such as fermenting, soaking, and sprouting. Looking at supporting organ systems through diet & lifestyle.

Your Internship

Where did you do your internship?

I’ve interned on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch with Natural Chef Adria Wu; a raw vegan yoga retreat alongside Asa Simonsson in the kitchen; a kid’s cooking workshop at The Garden Museum Café with Ceri Jones, and also as a sous chef in a local gastropub, The Hurstwood in High Hurstwood,  where foraging and fermenting are consistently on the menu.

What did you learn from the experience?

Any hands-on experience gives you a more in-depth perspective on where it can fit within your own career. I have taken bits and pieces from each and every experience and want to continue to intern in a few more areas. There is always something to learn!

Please give any examples of how you helped provide your hosts with a fresh take on healthy food, or otherwise benefitted them, and any feedback you got.

I worked at The Hurstwood for a husband and wife team who were very much into fermenting, foraging, and health. We would constantly talk about different seasonal ingredients and how we could use them, what nutritional value they added to a dish, and the best ways to incorporate them on the menus. We also practiced different ways of using Natural Chef methods in their desserts. It was a great way to experience a commercial kitchen!

How are you/will you be using your CNM Natural Chef qualification?

I want to be able to help others who are interested in making healthy changes in their diet, or just want to learn how to cook! I’d like to offer local workshops as well and include kids – they love to roll up their sleeves in the kitchen!

What do your friends/family/clients have to say about your new culinary skills?

As the natural health field is growing rapidly and people are starting to be more aware of what they are eating, being a Natural Chef definitely has its advantages and you stand out from the crowd. It’s one thing to make food that just tastes amazing, but when you make it taste amazing and add layers of nutritional value to it – that’s a whole different level. It’s an exciting time to be Natural Chef trained!

How has this course changed any other aspect of your life? Eg. your health, the health of your family or the joy of a new career path?

All of the above! I’ve always been interested in culinary nutrition and I truly believe that diet contributes massively to our overall health and wellbeing. This course helped me to expand my cooking knowledge and techniques and to be able teach others what I’ve learned. I’m pleased that my own kids are fully aware of what they eat, where it comes from, and how to cook it.

‘I turned a hobby into a career

Nena Foster, CNM Graduate in CNM’s Natural Chef

What has been your main occupation since finishing the course?
Cookery & Fermentation Teacher, Recipe Developer & Assistant Food Stylist

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How much of a cook were you before starting this course?

I cooked primarily for friends and family daily. I was always feeding someone, but loved being in the kitchen cooking or baking.

What made you decide that it was for you?

The combination of nutrition and hands on cooking training. It also fit around my work and family commitments at the time.

What were your favourite things about the course?

I loved the topics that the course covered and we had some really great and inspiring lecturers. I also loved my cohort. I miss seeing them regularly.

What key skills did you learn on the course?

It gave me confidence to experiment and be creative (and not be afraid to fail). As well, it provided the opportunity to turn what was previously just a hobby into a career, which I never thought possible.

What did/do you find especially useful?

Being on the course gave me the leverage and confidence to approach people that I wanted to work with and being brave enough to do it when they said yes!

Your Internship

Where did you do your internship?

I did lots of different things for my internships. I worked in a pop-up, did catering, worked in a cookery school, assisted on cookbook shoots, tested recipes for cookbooks and as a chef a kid’s half-term/ summer camp (I later became their head chef).

What did you learn from the experience?

To be confident about what I did know and to be honest about what I didn’t, but to ask the right questions and always put in the effort.

Please give any examples of how you helped provide your hosts with a fresh take on healthy food, or otherwise benefitted them, and any feedback you got.

As the camp chef, I wrote the menus, which were largely raw and vegan. I not only prepared meals, but cooked with the children, so it was a combined sort of health education and chef role. And when working on a health-focused cookbook shoot I was able to explain the appropriate technique for sprouting seeds. As well, across several of my placements I was able to talk about use a number of ‘alternative’ or health focused ingredients. Each placement provided a different learning experience, all of which were extremely useful.

How are you/will you be using your CNM Natural Chef qualification?

I have set up as Nena Foster Food and provide group, as well as private cookery and fermentation classes. I’ve set up partnerships with Local Greens (a South London-based veg bag supplier) and Riverford (South East London patch) to provide cookery and fermentation workshops, as well as running my own which includes vegan baking classes, an afterschool kid’s club and more fermentation workshops. I also teach cookery to young families for an organisation call Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP). When I am not doing those things I regularly work with veggie chef, Anna Jones assisting with demos and events as well as her weekly Guardian Feast column. I also regularly write recipes for Rude Health and take private commissions for cakes or small events. I am also in the early stages of setting up a food consultancy service with a fellow Natural Chef colleague to work with small restaurant and pub chains, cafes, caterers and brands to provide more appetising veggie, vegan and free from food options, so watch this space.

What do your friends/family/clients have to say about your new culinary skills?

I had a private commission for algae truffles which impressed a high street food retailer and I continue to get 5* reviews for my workshops. I feel very lucky to love and enjoy what I do, and to have people also enjoy it is quite surreal at times.

‘I am now writing my own cookbook’

An interview with Adria Wu

What made you want to do the CNM Natural Chef course?

While I have been passionate about and actively working in the food and wellness industry, I needed a solid foundation to further my knowledge in naturopathic cooking. CNM has one of the strongest reputations in the UK market and I certainly loved my experience there.

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What did you learn on the CNM Natural Chef course?

I have a much deeper knowledge of the naturopathic ingredients needed to support optimal and improved health. With my newly acquired training I love cooking guilt-free great food for people who don’t have the time or experience to cook for themselves and seeing them smile when they eat my dishes!

Tell us about your life as a CNM Natural Chef?

I have so much going on it might be easier if i bullet point it for you!

  • I am the owner of a chain of three healthy eating cafes called Maple & Co.
  • My work as a Chef is non-stop – I run supper clubs, create bespoke and seasonal menu design for my cafes and for Maple & Co clients such as Nike, Wimbledon Finals, Sweaty Betty, Christian Louboutin, MAC and Bobbi Brown!
  • I am really enjoying my work as a TV Presenter – on shows like Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and Unilever’s Global Campaign across 30 countries.
  • I am a Food and Recipe Writer for Men’s Health, Women’s Health, What’s Cooking, Superfood, The Times, Cosmopolitan, and Harpar’s Bazaar among others.
  • I love to teach and work regularly as a Natural Chef Instructor for CNM and corporates such as Prudential, Mindshare and Unilever.
  • With my CNM Natural Chef qualification behind me I am now writing my own cookbook.

What would you say to anyone thinking about doing the course?

CNM’s Natural Chef course will inspire and help drive your passion for a lifestyle and career in health and wellness. There’s no better time than to start now in this rapidly growing industry and I’ve never been happier than working in wellness.

‘My son outgrew his nut allergy’

Kelly Little, CNM Student in CNM’s Natural Chef

I ran my own interior design company while I raised my three children, but I have always had an interest in nutrition and cooking, mostly as a weight management tool during my younger adult years.  However, when my youngest son was diagnosed with a nut allergy and severe eczema at 18 months old, I turned to his diet as I hated the idea of relying on steroid creams to manage his condition.

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I have continued to experiment on myself, looking to natural alternatives to overcome illnesses and chronic conditions.  I took some Short Courses at CNM, including Cooking for Health, as I am particularly interested in the natural approach to cooking, and finding delicious ways to create interesting and nutrient-rich meals for myself and my family, whilst avoiding the common trigger foods that create issues.
I started an Instagram account just over a year ago to share my creations and immerse myself in the community of natural nutrition. 
Now I am looking to take this a step further, I’ve joined CNM’s Natural Chef Diploma Course.

I’ve joined CNM’s Natural Chef Diploma Course. I believe with further training and the credibility that comes with the qualificationI can really take my skills and opportunities to the next level.