‘I opened the first vegan restaurant in Guadeloupe!’
Following my passion for food and healthy eating has opened up so many opportunities and I’m excited about what the future holds.
What did you do before training to become a Vegan Natural Chef?
I was a secondary French and Psychology teacher (up to A-level). My role as a Lead Practitioner included induction of new teachers to the profession, coaching, mentoring, ensuring that all MFL (Modern Foreign Languages) staff were supported in developing both their subject knowledge and pedagogical practice in conjunction with the Head of Department.
What made you want to become a Vegan Natural Chef?
My passion for food started when I was very young – my late father was an excellent cook and I naturally acquired skills watching him in the kitchen. I was also brought up mostly vegetarian as a child, so I had a solid notion of healthy eating. Around 7 years ago while on holiday in Guadeloupe, my wife Sara and I were discussing our aspirations for the future and what we would like to achieve. I turned to Sara and asked if she could ever see herself living in Guadeloupe. She told me she could if we had a project. Sara always thought I would be a chef one day as I was so passionate about cooking. She encouraged me to look into it, so I did.
What attracted you to CNM’s Vegan Natural Chef course?
At the time that Sara and I had had this conversation, Sara was in her first year of Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy training while working full-time as a solicitor. She was considering whether she should go on to become a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist or do the Vegan Natural Chef course at CNM. She had already contacted CNM about the course and when we returned to England from our holiday, Sara encouraged me to contact the person with whom she had been speaking at CNM to see whether the course may be of interest to me. I called them and arranged to visit CNM that week.
When I visited CNM, I found the course so appealing and unique – it is the only institution offering Vegan Chef training using naturopathic principles. I decided to commence the course as soon as possible – I took the last space in the first cohort of the Vegan Natural Chef course. Sara went on to qualify as a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist.
What did you enjoy most about the course?
The theoretical and practical sides of the course were very in-depth. I loved the fact that we worked with different chefs with varying types of experience. This helped me to create my own unique chef style. I also really enjoyed the atmosphere at CNM and the contact with lecturers and staff.
How has studying the Vegan Natural Chef course changed your life?
It has enabled me to learn how to prepare vegan food in a healthy and balanced way. My title of Natural Vegan Chef is proudly placed on the wall behind the checkout of our vegan restaurant, JS The Garden, the first Vegan restaurant in Guadeloupe with a qualified Vegan Natural Chef.
What are you doing now since graduating?
My wife and I finally launched our business, JS The Garden in Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe in November 2022 (having moved to Guadeloupe in July 2020). At present we are running the restaurant together; however, we will soon consider employing and training staff as our restaurant is becoming increasingly busy.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I arrive early in the morning at the restaurant (about 6am) to start my preparation for the day. Around 9:30, I start cooking for the service which commences at midday and finishes at 3pm. During service, when possible, I take time to help my wife serve our customers and have a short conversation with them about the concept we have created – how we manage to combine naturopathic principles with vegan food. Customers really appreciate me taking time to speak to them and are excited about our future plans for JS The Garden. After service there is the cleaning, washing up, admin etc, before finally closing up at around 5pm (sometimes slightly later).
What do you love most about your job?
My greatest joy is seeing customers recognise that I have been able to combine great tasting, refined cuisine without compromising the nutritional quality of the ingredients used. This can be seen in the reviews we have received online (Google, Happy Cow and Trip Advisor) since commencing the restaurant.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about training to become a Natural Chef?
Consciousness about healthy eating is growing worldwide, including in Guadeloupe, so becoming a Natural Chef is an excellent career path for the future.