Yogisattva is India’s first Plant Based Culinary Academy founded by Chef Raveena Taurani, and her culinary journey started with yoga.
Yoga has a talent for enabling self-discovery and inspiring the practitioner to realise his and her true potential. Chef Raveena Taurani found vegan and raw food through her Ashtanga practice and realised her potential of founding India’s first Plant Based Culinary Academy, Yogisattva. Her menus are designed with locally available ingredients and her courses offer training across cuisines like Lebanese, Mexican and Asian. Chef Raveena recently launched Yogisattva’s online shop stocked with vegan gems like Raw Cacao Dairy Free Ice Cream, Cacao Peanut Butter Fudge Cake and Oat and Seed Flatbread. Find her recipe for Lemon Quinoa Tabbouleh with Carrot, Red Pepper and Avocado below the interview:
Sophia: A spine injury caused you to re-discover yoga. What were you doing before learning Ashtanga and deciding to become a plant-based chef?
Chef Raveena: I was pursuing a career in acting. I wanted to be an actor in Hindi films.
Sophia: You found raw and vegan food through Ashtanga Yoga and studied plant-based cooking at The Seeds Of Life in Bali, the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy in California and Demuths in England. How do you apply your education to Yogisattva?
Chef Raveena: All my educational institutes largely gave me foundational knowledge but the application of it came only through experience. So while I learnt so many new ways to make and teach food, I had to localise all my knowledge based on ingredient availability here. It was my work experience in actual kitchens between June-September 2018 that really enhanced my knowledge. I worked as the head chef across multiple yoga retreat centres in India and across the globe.
Sophia: Tell us about the online classes and the Vegan Diploma that you offer at Yogisattva. What can one expect to learn at your culinary courses?
Chef Raveena: This course is perfect for:
Anyone who is looking to include more options from a plant based lifestyle into their existing routine. Anyone who’d be interested in pursuing this professionally. We provide a lot of fundamental and foundational knowledge of how to prepare plant based food, with many recipe hacks and pro tips. An organic resource guide of where to source the ingredients across Mumbai/India is also made available.
Anyone who’d be interested in healing their body through food if they are already suffering from any gut issues, digestive distress or severe conditions like IBS, etc. We teach you how to make healthy food tasty all from scratch.
Sophia: How has changing your food/eating habits affected your life and Ashtanga practice?
Chef Raveena: I no longer practice Ashtanga regularly and have switched to a more Hatha based practice. I measure my day in terms of the productivity I have based on my energy levels. Since I switched to being on a plant based lifestyle, I have always seen better quality sleep, higher energy levels throughout the day, strong immunity and great gut health. Having said that, my goal with Yogisattva is not to convert anybody to this lifestyle but rather teach them ways to nourish themselves with easily digestible food.
Sophia: Yogisattva is India’s First Whole Foods Plant Based Culinary Academy. What change are you creating with the food and education offered at Yogisattva?
Chef Raveena: We are empowering people with the knowledge of how to feed themselves with unprocessed nutrient dense foods made from scratch. Even if you’d like to eat something like ketchup which is commonly available, you should know how to make it yourself. We also support the farmer directly without the middleman making sure he is sole earner from our business. We support and encourage fair trade practices.
Sophia: Do you teach yoga and culinary classes at the academy in Bandra?
Chef Raveena: I used to teach yoga but don’t anymore. I now focus only on teaching cooking. Currently due to the ongoing Covid19 situation, I am offering my classes online. The focus now is to go more digital with my teaching.
Sophia: What is your personal food philosophy?
Chef Raveena: You must be able to pronounce the ingredients for them to go into your body. Focus on eating highly digestible foods by eating what’s in season, locally available and preferably organic. Don’t focus on counting calories and rather focus on making the calories you put into your body count.
Lemon Quinoa Tabbouleh with Carrot, Red Pepper and Avocado
Ingredients (Serves 6)
- 1 ½ cups quinoa + 3 cups Vegetable stock
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- 1 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced
Ingredients for Dressing
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For more information on Chef Raveena Taurani’s plant based cooking courses, visit Yogisattva