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CRYSTAL BONNET: COMPASSIONATE CHEF & RAW DESSERT GURU

CRYSTAL BONNET: COMPASSIONATE & RAW DESSERT CHEF GURU

Image: Crystal Bonnet / Crystal Dawn Culinary

If given a choice, how many of us would begin each meal with a beautifully luscious dessert? Or, forsake the whole meal altogether and luxuriate in the entire cake?

Picture devouring spoon after spoon of tastebud tantalizing flavours that make your brain explode. We imagine everyone would, so know that when dining with raw vegan dessert guru Crystal Bonnet, this option always on the table!

Chef Crystal Bonnet's journey began with a switch to improve her health that evolved into a career of cooking, and now teaching plant-based raw foods. Crystal has taken risks and stepped boldly to make her dreams come true, all coming to the culmination, which is her online Raw Desserts Chef Certification.

Image: Crystal Bonnet / Crystal Dawn Culinary

Cooking was not a passion she always knew, but rather a love that developed once she found the style that appealed to her. Crystal did not know what she wanted to do; she just felt she needed something creative.

Three career paths and ten years in a corporate office later, the lack of passion was wearing her thin. After discovering raw food in 2013 and completely revolutionizing her life and diet, it was hard not to be hooked.

"I finally found my passion; doing anything else didn't make sense. That's why I decided to pursue it as a career."

The first of many courses she took was Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine through Matthew Kenney Culinary. Celebrity chef Kenney is a plant-based cuisine leader and responsible for the vegan menu found at French macaron shop Ladurée's Beverly Hills location.

With no previous culinary training, this marked the beginning of three years of education fueled by the desire to learn all there was to know about raw food. The fundamentals were quickly followed up with raw chocolate courses spurred by a love of desserts, and of course, chocolate.

"Fundamentals of raw cuisine was full-time over one month, and you didn't have lifetime access, you had to complete everything in the allotted time given. I was so committed I even quit my full-time job to work part-time somewhere else so I could complete the course. "

Raw cooking opened up a world of colourful and delicious foods and this raw revolution spurred an excitement like never before. All her time outside of work was dedicated to raw cooking, prepping, researching, and even starting a blog.

There is a vibrancy in raw food, lost when it is cooked; a vegetable in its natural state is so much more beautiful.

Crystal's first steps into owning a business was a bold one. Encouraged by friends and family to sell her stone-ground tempered chocolate professionally, she launched Fig Leaf Foods and after a trip to Bali, where she toured chocolate farmers' facilities and learned more about cocoa processing, left her even more dissatisfied with her current work situation.

That trip to Bali would not be the last, and it would begin a series of raw food travels. Bali, Spain, USA, and throughout Canada saw her learning, teaching, and cooking worldwide.

"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 resonate with that."

So much of food is colour, texture, and presentation as well as taste. Incorporated into the course is food photography which teaches students how to immortalize their creations. "Sometimes, I work backwards by creating the plating first and then think about the recipe."

From being an individual who viewed cooking as a chore to a flourishing chef, entrepreneur and teacher, she has truly transformed. Making the switch to a raw diet did not happen overnight, and even now, Crystal eats 80- 90% raw depending on the season.

Crystal has created an accessible resource for those wishing to dip their toes into the world of plant-based raw desserts and even offers a ten- recipe ebook for free.

"When I receive messages about how much they loved a recipe, could not believe it was raw, or how their kids loved the food... it makes my day. By teaching others how to prepare their own healthy plant-based whole food, they are changing their life for the better, and I'm a part of that. I can't think of any other way to give back to the world."