I had the opportunity to ask Peter Niculescu, the executive chef and co-owner of The Naked Sprout, (and who also goes by the pseudonym, "The Wild Naked Chef"), a few quick questions about his passion for vegan and raw foods; take it away Peter!
M: How did your interest in veganism/raw foods come to be?
P: I first became interested in Vegan foods while playing in a band. My brother at the time was experimenting with going Vegan. He started sharing a lot of information and videos with me. The catalyst was this one particular video about the fishing industries and their impact on the environment. It sort of sent me over the edge.
I used to be really overweight - 100 pounds heavier - and healthy eating, not vegan, became a large of interest of mine. After discovering the environmental and health impact it seemed like a clear discussion. I haven't looked back since.
raw + vegan chocolate covered strawberry cheezecake
with 'heart-shaped' berries
M: What inspires you most about 'uncooking' and the creative possibilities of raw food cuisine?
P: What inspires me the most is going out to well respected (non-vegan) restaurants with my girlfriend and trying to 'veganise' or 'raw veganise' certain dishes - like crispy mushrooms, or carrot cake, et cetera. I also love going to food markets with no particular plan of action in mind. I find that to be really inspiring.
M: What is your all-time favorite raw food dish, either to make for yourself or to prepare at the restaurant?
P: This sounds like a two part question. My all time favourite raw food dish would be a toss up between the raw pizza at Raw Aura [in Port Credit, Mississauga] or the Pad Thai at LIVE Food Bar in Toronto. My favourite dish to prepare at The Naked Sprout would hands down have to be the raw lasagna. It takes a bit longer to put together but I just love how all components come together to make one - if I do say so myself - great looking, delicious dish.
M: Are there any upcoming events at The Naked Sprout we should mark down on our calendars?
P: Yes there are! We have an upcoming raw food dessert class on the 22nd of August. There are a few spots left. We're also having a live music night on the 18th. There's no cover! We'll be holding two raw food classes a month so keep checking our website for more information.