Kyra De Vreeze share her knowledge on holistic cooking with Michelin star chefs.
What is your view on the connection between food and health?
"I believe what we eat, think and do on a day to day basis affects our health and wellbeing today, tomorrow and in the far future. Food is part of the bigger picture of Life. How we live our lives will show in our food choices. How we eat will affect how we live our lives. How we live our lives will affect how other people live their lives. Everything is connected.
I was born, and spent the first years of my life, on the Caribean island of Curacao. We lived on a huge plot of land, in the middle of nowhere. All of our electricity came from the windmill my father had built, right along with building the house. We had no television, washing machine or vacuum cleaner. It was very ‘back to basics’. My mom loved, and still loves, to cook using fresh produce. I grew up on papaya smoothies, coconut water, funchi which is a type of corn cake, giant avocado’s and fresh vegetables and rice stews. When we moved to The Netherlands my climate, culture and surroundings changed dramatically. It was a 180 degree turn, total opposites. Yet my mother's love for cooking, and Latina spirit of sharing and gathering, remained the same and we spent many evenings around the kitchen table, joined by some of our best friends and their children. We cooked, ate, played music and danced."
Kyra De Vreeze been named one of the most inspiring women of 2014 by Glamour Magazine and won the Vegan Cookbook of the Year Award for ‘Kyra’s Kitchen. When did you realize that this is what you would like to spend your life doing?
I was six years old when I knew I wanted to be a natural or herbal doctor. I loved reading and learning about the medicinal properties of plants. I made my own natural medicine, tinctures and potions, and kept this interest also during high school. I learned about naturopathy when I was 18 years old, while traveling in between high school and University. Naturopathy sounded exactly what I had in mind when I had decided to become a ‘natural doctor’. I looked at programs, enrolled and starting a month before my nineteenth birthday. Since then a lot has happened. I’ve trained quite a few chefs over the past ten years. Some were chefs at cafés, some were chefs who’d earned a bib gourmand, some were awarded Michelin stars. The focus of the training was, always and by their demand, to broaden their spectrum and introduce new ingredients, combinations and techniques. I shared knowledge and ideas that are more in line with holistic cooking, complimentary and in addition to all of the things they were taught in culinary school. And my first cookbook launches next month!
Whats a naturopath?
It is a holistic doctor or therapist, depending on the level of education. Naturopathic medicine looks at the person, not just the disease or complaints. It does not treat the mere symptoms but tries to uncover and resolve the root of the (health) problem. A naturopath aims to spark the self-healing power of the body, using natural medicine and food and lifestyle changes. This means the healing is done by the ‘patient’ themselves, the naturopath merely guides.
What makes you happy?
Feeling a sense of contentment with things great and small. It’s easy to be happy with the spectacular. It is up to us to be deeply content with the mundane as well. I love the mundane. I love the way the sun touches, and creates shades on, the wall. I love being around my husband, whether it’s spend quiet or by joking around. I love being outdoors. I love seeing my food grow. I love to stare at beautiful things. I love to create beauty and send it out into the world. I love everything my daughter does. I love how she loves to help me out whilst cleaning. I love her smell. I love her open and investigative view of the world. I love life. And I love being open to the opportunities it presents me with.
Simple spring salad with pomegranate pistachio gremolata
Makes 4 servings, as a side salad
Takes 15 minutes
8 (white tip) radishes
4 hands watercress
2 hands pistachio nuts
2 hands dried pomegranate seeds
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, juice
1 small clove of garlic, peeled
Seasalt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Remove shells from pistachios, chop the nuts roughly and place them in a food processor. Add dried pomegranate seeds, olive oil, lime juice and a small clove of raw garlic. Pulse until you reach the point where you have a fairly smooth paste with chunks of pomegranate. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Slice the cucumber and radishes in thin rings. Wash the watercress and drain. Place these vegetables together in a bowl. Pour the gremolata in and, very gently, massage the vegetables until everything is covered with the sauce. Serve immediately or place, airtight, in the fridge until you’re ready for service.
All images copyright Kyra de Vreeze www.kyraskitchen.com