EcoLux☆Lifestyle: Pizza and Cheesecake – An Interview with Crystal Bonnet, Raw Vegan Chef

EcoLux☆Lifestyle: Pizza and Cheesecake – An Interview with Crystal Bonnet, Raw Vegan Chef

Crystal Bonnet is an International Raw Food Chef, Instructor and Cookbook Author. Her culinary passion started with living, plant-based food in her own kitchen, which led her to train at industry-leading Culinary schools: PlantLab (formerly Matthew Kenney) and Pure Joy Academy.

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
Prepping the Jicama Tacos from the #7Days7Chefs meal plan // Image by Julia Bureacenco of Ginger Photography

Also, a graduate of plant-based and raw food nutrition programs, Crystal knows the importance of teaching not only the culinary aspect but also the nutrition of living foods. She believes her students should be given as much knowledge as necessary to gain a full understanding of raw foods and their health benefits.

Crystal’s extensive knowledge of the plant-based culinary industry has led her to develop unique plant-based menus for new restaurants, catered multiple health retreats within Canada and Europe and even started her own professional raw chocolate and dessert business.

She believes everyone should have the knowledge and skills to incorporate healthy food alternatives into their lifestyle. Her greatest reward is seeing the positive impact this can have on others which is why she created Crystal Dawn Culinary.

Taco A Little Piece of My Heart

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
Crystal created these with a jicama base + avocado base + sunflower seed taco meat + pineapple salsa + hemp queso + pickled cabbage // Images by Julia Bureacenco of Ginger Photography

What drew you to creating a business out of your love of raw food? 

By the time I was 30 I already had 3 different career paths; pharmacy technician, hairstylist, and office administrator. When I was younger I worked in hospitality, serving in restaurants and banquets. I knew I wanted to do something creative which was why I quit my office job to attend hair school and I practiced for a while but then went back to working in an office because I couldn’t support myself.

What did you do before you embarked on establishing Crystal Dawn Culinary?

I worked in offices for a total of 10 years but never felt like I fit in anywhere. I thought having a corporate job was the answer: good pay, benefits, steady paycheque, paid vacation etc… but it took me a long time to realize I was miserable and I had no idea what I was passionate about.

Are You Ready for a Cheesecake Close-up?

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
Crystal photographs the delectable raw vegan cheesecake // Hazelnut mulberry and cardamom crust with layers of strawberry and vanilla cream and rose frosting // Image by Julia Bureacenco of Ginger Photography
crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
Perfecting that final presentation // Images by Julia Bureacenco of Ginger Photography

What was the catalyst that changed everything for you?

In 2013, I was home for over 4 weeks sick and I knew I had to do something about it, my body was not happy with me. As I was researching cleansing, detox and how to heal my body, I came across raw food. I knew about juicing and green smoothies but had no knowledge of raw “cooking.” I knew right then and there this was what my body was missing – fresh fruits and vegetables. I purchased a 21-day raw food cleanse, went out and purchased a Vitamix, and started right away.

I was not good at cooking and had no desire to learn at all, but when I started making recipes from the 21-day raw food cleanse, I fell in love. I had no idea food could look and taste that good and make me feel so good. I finished the 21 days and stuck with eating a high-raw plant-based diet; I felt the best I ever had in my life. I cleared my skin, reduced inflammation and my eye-sight even improved so much I no longer had to wear glasses.

I wanted to tell the world about this way of eating and how it could change your life. Never in my life was I so excited about something; all my time outside work involved food prep, creating recipes, reading, researching and starting a food blog. Two years later, in 2015 I finally decided to take a plant-based culinary course to improve my skills; I had no prior culinary training. I had so much fun developing my skills and knowledge so I wanted to learn more; everything I could about raw food.

I finally found my passion, doing anything else just didn’t make sense. That’s why I decided to pursue it as a career.

A Living Way to Begin Your Day

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
Crystal begins every day with a green smoothie! // Images by Julia Bureacenco of Ginger Photography

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr

What training/educated have you completed throughout this journey?

My first choice of informal education was Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine through Matthew Kenney Culinary in 2015. I started taking raw chocolate courses just after that because when I was making raw food I loved the desserts and chocolate so I wanted to dive deeper into making professional quality raw chocolate.

Because I had no prior culinary training and no prior kitchen experience, I had so much fun making all the recipes through video tutorials and I found this was the best way of learning for me.  Doing courses I was able to really uplevel my skills and knowledge about raw cuisine.  I still continue to take courses, I just completed an Advanced Plant-Based Course in London last November and am still taking advanced courses online. I love learning, and although now I have a lot of experience I can always learn something new from different chefs.

Raw Pizza with Pizazz

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
Sweet potato and sunflower seed crust + sweet red pepper marinara + marinated dehydrated veggies + cherry tomatoes + cultured seed cheese + microgreens // Image by Julia Bureacenco of Ginger Photography

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr

crystal dawn, crystal dawn culinary, raw vegan chef, helen siwak, ecoluxlifestyle, ecoluxluv, vancouver, bc, vancity, yvr
Crystal’s raw pizza is entirely nut-free, full of nutrition and living foods! // Images by Julia Bureacenco of Ginger Photography

What do you love about raw food that keeps you so passionate about it?

There is just something about raw food, because it’s living, makes you feel alive. Raw food for me looks so much more appetizing than cooked food; the colours are still vibrant and you can create so much texture. When you cook vegetables, they just don’t look the same; I think that’s why I loved making raw food so much more because it looked more beautiful. I do also cook for myself, very basic such as steaming as I don’t eat a 100% raw diet but about 80% – 90% depending on the season.

When did you decide that you wanted to share what you have learned and start teaching?

When I was working the farmer’s markets [selling chocolate], people would ask me for classes. At that time I was also finishing my Advanced Raw Plant-based Certification which involved a teaching component so it was a great time to start. I was already in a way of teaching every day by passing along information about food and health to whoever wanted to hear it. I believe the greatest thing you can do for your health is learning how to make your own food.

You now offer an online Raw Dessert Chef Certification Course for other chefs, newbies, pastry-makers, and whoever else wants to learn. Why the shift in focus?

Raw desserts are very popular and so many people are starting raw dessert businesses, patisseries and bakeries so I wanted to create a course that taught all the skills from basic chocolate to advanced cakes. When I launched my course it was the scariest thing I had ever done, but it was all worth it. My main fear was that people weren’t going to like the content or it wouldn’t be well received. I’ve kept true to myself throughout the entire process and have created something really unique, with live monthly teaching components and a community full of support and people really resonate with that.

Starting any business is a big risk so at times there was a lot of fear especially because I decided to have the course filmed professionally which was a huge investment. And I didn’t start small; I started with a large comprehensive, Certification course because I knew this was missing in the market. There were already some online raw dessert recipe courses online and I wanted to create something different.

From the beginning and still, now my hopes have not changed because even though it was scary, everything felt right. My hope is people realize plant-based desserts are not only healthier but taste better than traditional ones full of dairy, refined sugar, and gluten. Raw desserts made from whole food ingredients are full of nutrition.

***

Learn more about Crystal Dawn Culinary by visiting her website! There are eBooks, courses, recipes, and so many delicious desserts to feast your eyes on! The beauty of her approach is that everyone can learn. What we love is that her process allows you to:

  • Go at your own pace in the comfort of your home kitchen with lifetime access
  • Get support from our lead instructor and online community
  • Integrate healthy, nutritious ingredients into your kitchen
  • Create delicious plant-based food like a professional chef or at-home chef
  • Take your business to the next level with showstopping raw desserts

Whether you are an at-home chef, culinary student or professional chef, we know you will gain the confidence and knowledge to prepare living foods, lead a healthier life and take your business to the next level. What have you got to lose?

Author Profile

Helen Siwak, Plantbased Food & Beverages
Helen Siwak, Plantbased Food & Beverages
Helen Siwak is passionate about plantbased culinary, promoting a vegan lifestyle, shopping secondhand, and supporting eco-activists. Her plate is full as founder and president of EcoLuxLuv Communications (Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, EcoLuxLifestyle.co). She is also the founder and co-host of V.E.G. Networking Group and soon-to-launch LittleBlack.Teehelen@ecoluxluv.com.
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrinstagram
Back to top