About American Natural Foods


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.


February 25, 2014

Thank you to all of you and your companies who were so generous in making both financial and product sample donations.  The project has taken longer than expected for a number of reasons of which one was the Boulder flood that most of you are probably aware of.  The ANF is home based and my, and my lovely wife Nancy’s home was in the middle of the flood.  Thanks to purchasing a new sump pump and several preventative measures we took in good measure a few years ago, we didn’t suffer any flood damage in our neighborhood which suffered about a million in damage.

The second factor holding up the progress is money which is needed to complete those task that require specific talents I don’t possess.  I am still in the process of raising money.  The ANF has a Go Fund Me page http://www.gofundme.com/The-Pro-Vegetarian-Chef# where you can send anyone interested in making a small donation.  If everyone was as financially generous as were you and your companies I would be funded by now.  FYI – I am taking deferred payment until the CVC is generating revenue.

The CVC curriculum is completed.  I am creating a modified version of the curriculum for the general public and as a marketing tool to sell the certification program and generate revenue to support the ANF.  The text book will be self-published sending the major portion of the revenue to the ANF.   That revenue will help self-fund the ANF’s non-profit endeavors.

The curriculum needs to be translated into an on-line program for the academic side of the certification and additional video tapes produced to complete the program.   Chefs and professional cooks don’t have the time to attend classes on a set schedule.  The on-line program will allow them to take the academic portion of the class, view on-line training videos on food preparation and take on some cooking assignments.  When the academic portion of the test is completed they will take the written test.  The final phase is the three day intensive (not on the weekend) where the chefs will cook for 12 hours a day.   You can see that this is a formidable task, no different than winning gold in the culinary Olympics.  The book manuscript will be ready to begin the publishing process in a few weeks and the On-Line Curriculum  ready to begin the process of uploading onto an online program by mid-April.

WACS remains committed to the CVC and so much so that I am working with their chef for the Americas and will be teaching introductory classes on vegan cuisine in Costa Rica in May and Ecuador in July.

Again, thank you for your generous support and please pass the gofundme page onto anyone whom you think may be interested in donating to the CVC project.


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/


Vegan “Surf & Turf” sea vegetable sausage and seitan cutlet

Vegan “Surf & Turf” sea vegetable sausage and seitan cutlet

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

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