American Natural Food’s is A 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is the culinary education of professional chefs and foodservice operators in the art of preparing vegetarian and vegan cuisine and in the development and advancement of vegetarianism as a cuisine in the foodservice industry.
There is a significant culinary divide between passionate natural foods cooks who know natural vegetarian ingredients but don’t know classical cuisines or how to translate and professionally cook as vegetarian cuisine and chefs who know how to professionally cook but don’t know vegan ingredients/cuisine, how to prepare nor how to translate meat cuisine to vegan/vegetarian cuisine. The ANF’s mission is to bridge this void through its education endeavors while simultaneously continuing to develop the cuisine (recipes) and foodservice production efficiencies. The result of this achievement will bring vegetarian cuisine into the realm of consumer expectations while addressing the constraints of foodservice operators.
CHEF RON PICKARSKI
Ron became a progressive chef in the art of translating Classical French and Modern Cuisine into vegan or vegetarian cuisine using plant-based natural and/or organic ingredients. His premise is that Vegetarianism is a cuisine. In 1978, Chef Ron decided that the world stage of the International Culinary Olympics (IKA) would be a viable event to give vegetarian cuisine a contemporary and upscale image. From 1980 to 1996, he led his American Natural Foods team to win seven medals (gold, silver, and bronze) using only vegan plant-based foods and was the first chef in the history of that prestigious event to do so.
After completing 20 years of Culinary Olympic Competition, Ron’s goal was to translate what he and his team accomplished at the IKA into American foodservice operations. That led him to founding Eco-Cuisine, Inc. in 1991, as a values-based culinary vegan vegetarian business platform to operationally and cost effectively integrate a modern interpretation of vegetarian cuisine into the US Foodservice industry. Today, Eco-Cuisine food products can be found nationally in foodservice operations. The company’s products and services are a means by which he is bringing to bear his belief that vegetarianism is an innovative twenty-first century cuisine, beyond pasta primavera, and is feasible with minimum skill, labor and food cost.
As a Food Technologist (culinologists), Chef Ron’s specialty is research and development of all-natural, vegan or vegetarian savory and dessert food products that are great tasting and nutrient dense. He understands from 52 years in professional kitchens (37 as a certified meat cutter and vegan vegetarian) the chef’s challenge to match great tasting cuisine with the need for cost effectiveness, ease of production and nutrition.
Chef Ron has made numerous television appearances, written three cookbooks and many articles for national periodicals. He has been featured in Vegetarian Times, Art Culinaire, The National Culinary Review, USA Today Weekend, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Chicago Sun Times, Los Angeles Times, etc. For more biographical information, please see the extensive interview at http://www.cookingschools.com/interviews/ron-pickarski/
THE AMERICAN NATURAL FOODS ORIGIN AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES
In February 1976 I became a vegetarian for health reasons and observed the incredible culinary void in vegan/vegetarian foodservice cuisine. My health improved but the culinary void remained. In considering ways to promote vegetarian cuisine the International Culinary Olympicsseemed like an incredible international Stage to advance vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Hence, the American Natural Foods was born out of this endeavor to fund a Culinary Olympic Team. I ambitiously decided to compete and qualified in US culinary competitions. Having collectively won Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals with vegan cuisine in the 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Culinary Olympics, the ANF is now focuses on Professional Culinary Education.
Again, looking for the best international platform to promote vegetarian education, I approached WACS (World Association of Chef’s Societies) http://www.wacs2000.org/wacs2010/en/main/index.php and in 2012 they endorsed the ANF’s proposal to develop an international Certified Vegetarian Culinarian (CVC) program. The CVC is an intensive certification program teaching professional core competency skills of vegan and vegetarian cuisine. The curriculum for the program is scheduled for completion on January 31st 2013 and upon signing off on the CVC WACS will support its international implementation.
The ANF’s Culinary Olympic Documentary is currently in development using 76 hours of raw footage of the ANF’ Culinary Olympic competition. It is a compelling and visual story of the quest for the vegan gold with incredible footage of the team competing and cuisine which is sure to inspire viewers to give viewers a better understanding of vegetarian cuisine and consider implementing it into their diet. The ANF is seeking donations to fund these projects until, as in the CVC, they become self funding.
VEGETARIANISM IS AN ANCIENT CUISINE WITH 21ST CENTURY RELAVANCE. It is a cuisine with special diet implications by its very nature (i.e. vegan is a diary and cholesterol free diet appealing to lactose intolerant and heart healthy consumers). It is a cuisine with prominent environmental, health, and moral implications. While it addresses many 21st century concerns from human to environmental health and from animal welfare to sustaining our food supply, it is a cuisine which is the focus of the ANF.
American Natural Foods, Inc.
P.O. Box 17878
Boulder, CO 80308