Meet Vito Cortese, Italy’s Raw Food Pioneer

Interviews, The Root Chakra

Raw food – the Italian way!

Italy could arguably claim the title of “gastronomic capital of the  world” (though I’m sure the French would put up a good fight).

France certainly has earned its culinary fame, but it’s the Italians who are pioneering the plant world – rawawesome style!

My food experiences in the boot have been nothing short of epic (see my review on La Giostra  for a taste of the magic). 

But as my heart (and body) continually moves down the vegan/high raw road, what is a die-hard foodie living in Italy, to do?!

I found Vito Cortese.

Vito studied with America’s  celebrated raw food chef, Matthew Kenney, and has managed to capture the magic of Italian food, with a healthy/raw twist.

This talented chef is pioneering the limits of raw cuisine – Italian style!   He agreed to sit-down with me at the charming vegetarian café, Liberia Brac in downtown Florence to to tell me his story.

When did you first get into raw foods? 

Around February of 2009. I’ve been interested ever since.

What are the benefits you have seen in your health since making the transition to a high raw food diet?

I haven’t been sick in a long time. No “normal” problems like headaches, cold, flu, allergies – all the things I use to have often. Especially the headache. It hasn’t returned.

When did you first begin offering raw food classes in Italy?  

Halloween of 2009 was my first class, with the idea to repeat only once a year. But the class was such a success and people seemed really interested, so I began organizing classes around Italy from December 2009, on.

How have Italian’s received you? Very well. Most of my classes are sold-out. There is a max of 16 spots and I’m often overbooking! Italians seem to love it.

What is your favorite raw food recipe to make (main  course and dessert)?

My favorite main course is broccoli “au gratin” and the dessert is the “cassata siciliana” and the chocolate cake with the warm chocolate heart. I really enjoy making the desserts. They make raw foods more fun, and people are always surprised at what you can do with simple ingredients, without killing enzymes or using dairy and refined sugars.

Tell us about your business ventures/collaboration with Matthew Kenney: 

Matthew and I are really good friends with the same passion in common: we want to show people that it is possible to eat healthy and tasty in the same time! Now the biggest project is to open a raw food cuisine academy in Italy. It will be an interesting European project since we’ll be offering classes in different languages! We are also collaborating in training chefs and offering classes around the world!

How can people find out more information about your classes/ventures in Italy?

I built my business of Facebook, so on my page you can find out all information on my projects and classes, but very soon my website, www.nudocrudo.net, will be launched. Stay tuned!

For all you foodies who need a bit more Italian in your raw cuisine, Vito is your man.

…All I can say is, raw tiramisu?! Yes please!

Find Vito on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chefvitocortese

*All photos in this article are Vito’s raw food creations, except the one below. That’s Vito and me at Libreria Brac. 🙂

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