Category: Ask a Chef

15 Aug


Welcome Dr. Julie Briley, ND To Rouxbe’s Wellness Advisory Board


Portland, OR (August 15, 2014)


Rouxbe is pleased to announce that Dr. Julie Briley, ND has joined the Rouxbe’s Medical and Wellness Board of Advisors.

In an effort to expand the depth and range expertise of the Rouxbe Medical and Wellness Board, Rouxbe is pleased to welcome Dr. Julie Briley, ND as the newest member of this group.

Dr. Julie Briley is a licensed naturopathic primary care physician and co-founder of the Food As Medicine Institute at the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, Oregon.

Dr. Briley is dedicated to helping individuals, families and organizations develop healthy relationships with whole foods. She is a faculty member for NCNM’s Master of Science in Nutrition program, and maintains a private practice in Portland where she addresses the underlying cause of disease in patients with acute or chronic health conditions.

The National College of Natural Medicine is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical college in North America and home to many academic programs that align with Rouxbe’s overall approach to health and wellness: attention to whole and unprocessed foods and the importance of vegetables, grains and beans.  Their Food as Medicine Everyday (FAME) Program is now offered to the community at large.

The Food as Medicine Institute was established in 2010 with the creation of the Ending Childhood Obesity (ECO) Project, a community based nutrition education and cooking program offered in low-income areas in Portland, OR. Bob and Charlee Moore of Bob’s Red Mill generously sponsored this project and also funded the creation of the Food as Medicine Everyday series (FAME) and Charlee’s Kitchen, a hands-on teaching kitchen for NCNM students and the community.

 “We are very excited to welcome Dr. Briley to the Rouxbe community. We know her contributions and perspective will add great depth to our work in the health and wellness arena,” said Joe Girard, Rouxbe CEO and co-founder.

  Welcome, Dr. Briley!

27 Mar


What’s holding you back from better cooking?


After launching The Cook’s Roadmap, we began to get the question: “So, what’s with this roadmap anyway?” What we mean by roadmap is a guide along a path or through a process of discovery–much like driving someplace new for the first time versus just sitting in the backseat and zoning out.

But what is really involved in this process of discovery and what are the questions or ideas that can motivate or stall us on our path to achieving our cooking goals?

How do I learn to cook, anyway?
Learning to cook happens over time. It is both a dynamic and progressive process. Decoded, that means that we learn to cook by picking up a few tips and techniques along the way, sort of by osmosis, without too much attention to detail. You can watch someone cook, get an idea of how it’s done, adopt it for yourself and essentially hunt and peck your way through a meal like typing with only a few fingers. It will get the job done (heck, it may even be great!) but it may not be pretty.

Who has the time?
The larger cultural norm that prevails around cooking is one of ambiguity, uncertainty, and anxiety–not the most productive responses.  Many people love to eat (and even say they like to cook), but somehow there’s no time for it. I started to think about that: North Americans collectively watch over 3 hours of TV per day, but don’t have 30 minutes to engage in the most human of all activities?

I know what I should eat, but I just don’t do it.
If you are around a lot of people who cook, you will pick up more knowledge. In homes where it’s all fast food and packaged foods, then there’s not much culinary knowledge to pass along except maybe some bad habits. Even just a generation ago, each family unit had at least someone you could watch who knew how to cook. Now, many of us are raised in homes where there is no positive “food” role model–the awareness of cooking is low and prioritization of cooking whole foods is even lower. 

Isn’t learning to cook hard? I just don’t know where to start.
One way to learn to cook is by following a more structured path that places priority and attention on certain types of activities and information over others. This is how professionals learn and it’s an efficient way to engage with a higher degree of certainty that you achieve some level of success. It’s also how people who are raised in food- and cooking-centric cultures learn to cook. You are given tasks and activities as you grow up, first peeling and rinsing vegetables, then helping to measure or make a side dish and ultimately set free to contribute with the rest of the group.

It really is all about the basics. For example, holding a knife and getting used to cutting, applying moist heat (like steaming) or dry heat (like roasting), making good decisions about shopping and selecting produce.  We want you to become more confident and comfortable. We’re not going to chase a trend – our goal is to give you skills and knowledge that you can carry with you and use.

We call our new course The Cook’s Roadmap because it helps get you to where you want and need to go. Ultimately you need to be able to drive on your own, but it’s nice to have some guidance anytime you need it, whenever you need it.

The Cook’s Roadmap puts you in driver’s seat, but we know that that’s a big step for many to grasp. Making change can be daunting, no doubt about it. But you can do this.  Use the course in a way that makes sense to you: some find it useful to through in sequence and complete each task before moving ahead, while others skip around a bit and revisit material multiple times to practice and hone skills.  It’s up to you. We just want you to understand that the journey along they way should be enjoyable, enlightening, and empowering. Turn on your cooking brain!

We want you to share Rouxbe with your friends. Cook for them, and tell them what you’ve learned.  Then they can return the favor. Enjoy!


07 Mar


Why Call It “Plant-Based” and Not “Vegan”?


Since launching our Plant-Based Cooking Level 1 course, we have had questions about the term plant-based versus vegan.

We prefer the term plant-based for a variety of reasons, so let us explain just a bit about our position and philosophy here. First, the term “plant-based” is more squarely in the realm of food and cooking, which is the primary focus of Rouxbe. We know that the terms are used interchangeably, but the term “vegan” can sometimes (not always!) be divisive or intimidating for certain people. In some contexts it has strong political and social connotations, and we want to keep the focus on the transformative power of cooking and eating.

We do not ignore or silence the ethical, social and political dimensions of the conversation, and we know that these aspects are legitimate and a really important part of the larger dialogue. We want to be as inclusive as possible and literally bring people to the table who want to make a change – whether it’s going 100% plant-based or simply making a real effort to get more plant-based foods into their diet. We respect any decision you make to improve your relationship with food and cooking and to make positive improvements in your life. So, we use both terms, but you will see the focus on a “plant-based” conversation.

The politics and ethics of eating meat and animal products are important and will be addressed, but we’re a cooking school first and foremost, so food and cooking is the lens through which we’ll frame the plant-based experience. We even discuss these topics in The Cook’s Roadmap cooking courses, (which does cover cooking meat and other animal-based products), helping students explore where food comes from and how it’s processed. We don’t have a hidden agenda and we won’t climb onto a judgmental soapbox. But there is a lot to share and a lot of new information to discuss, some of which will be alarming and even a bit disturbing for some. Indeed, we should know about how animals are raised and how foods are produced.

Food is a deep marker of identity, so it’s understandable that our students will have strong opinions and ideas about what they eat and why they eschew animal products in favor of plant-based products. We like opinions and we like facts. You will see both in the Rouxbe community, so turn on your cooking brain and engage.

It’s important to remember that each person has different reasons and considerations for choosing a plant-based or other approach to cooking and eating. We hope we can all agree that eating more whole foods, especially whole and unprocessed plants, is a key component of helping to reshape a food system that has gone awry.

We want Rouxbe to be a safe place to engage in lively, informed and civil dialogue about the many perspectives of choosing a plant-based diet. Let’s keep our convictions while maintaining our civility and openness to each other’s views. We’re all on the same team, folks, trying to move the conversation forward for a healthier, more equitable and more delicious world.

We look forward to seeing you in class! If you have not already signed up for Plant-Based Cooking Level 1, you can get started here.

Ken Rubin
VP of Culinary Training


15 Nov


The Seedy Side of Life


By Barb Thomas, RHN, Rouxbe Instructor

Here are three questions I get asked all the time: Why do my pumpkin seeds taste fishy? What the heck is chia? And, can I legally eat hemp? These three little questions relate to each other because they all have to do with seeds—one of my favorite foods that adds a huge punch of nutrition to your day! Your kids can take them to nut-free schools, your belly will gladly welcome the extra fiber and your brain will love their amazing neuron nurturing properties. So, let’s answer the three common questions and set the record straight.

Pumpkin Seeds

First of all, here’s why your pumpkin seeds may taste like bad fish: seeds contain very fragile oils that can go rancid quite quickly. It is always best to store your seedy ingredients in the fridge and away from heat and light. With some seeds, the flavor changes considerably when they are rotten. Pumpkin seeds, for instance, will certainly tell you if they have gone bad; they will basically taste like rotten fish! When they are fresh, however, pumpkin seeds have a clean, light taste. These seeds should be green in color and bought from a market that refrigerates them. Pumpkin seeds are full of wound healing, infection fighting zinc, which can be hard to get enough of. Toss your pumpkin seeds on salads, on porridges, in a trail mix or just eat them as a snack straight from the fridge. About a quarter of a cup should give you enough zinc for the day, as well as provide other great nutrients, such as protein for your muscles, manganese for your joints and iron for your blood.

Chia Seeds

Next question: What the heck is chia? Is it a novelty toy from the ‘70s? Something that sprouts green grassy hair? Sure, it was both of these things back in the day, but now, companies have clued into the fact that this little seed packs an enormous punch of energy and is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. The chia seed has an outer coating that, when soaked, becomes a mucilage. This means that the seed gets soft, and kind of gelatinous when exposed to liquid. This makes it great for pre-preparing a soaked porridge that you can take on the go. Just pour about a half cup of chia into a container, add your favorite milk product (I like coconut or almond), a bit of raw honey or real maple syrup and some of your favorite raw nuts, such as cashews and almonds.

Seal the container, shake and wait. After about twenty minutes, you will have a great, raw porridge that can go with you on your busy day. It is full of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and those amazing, anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fats that will sustain you for hours. Chia seeds are also very high in antioxidants, so their fragile oils are protected and won’t spoil as easily as in other seeds, such as flaxseeds. The Incas used to reserve chia for their warriors; that goes to show how much energy you can get from these little seeds. Choose either the white or the black variety, as there is minimal nutritional difference.

 Hemp Seeds

And finally, yes, you can legally eat hemp seeds. They are delicious, mildly nutty in flavor and contain about 11 grams of muscle building protein in a quarter cup! They also contain a wonderful balance of the very important essential fatty acids that we can never seem to get enough of in our diet. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation, protect our brains and are a primary component of a healthy immune system. Hemp seeds are full of fiber, too, so eat ‘em up and make your whole body happy. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons on Greek yogurt or oatmeal, add them to your morning smoothie or throw them on top of salads. They add a lovely crunch, texture and earthiness to food.

So, the next time you are at a reputable grocer’s that properly takes care of foods containing fragile oils, grab some seeds from the cooler and give them a try. Just make sure to check your teeth for strays before you smile!

29 May


The Pocket Cooking School – Take Rouxbe with You!


Hi students! Want to help us test out a really cool new feature? It’s not completely finished and it’s not perfect…yet, but we think that it’s ready for some testing if you’d like to try it out.

It’s called the Pocket Cooking School and it enables you to find and display related Rouxbe video content when you are on other websites.

For example, let’s say you are looking at a soup recipe that you’d like to try, but you can’t remember (or haven’t watched), the Rouxbe videos for making soups. Well, now you can highlight the recipe, click a button and voila, Rouxbe technique videos will magically appear before your eyes related to making soup….right there on the third party site.

CLICK HERE to give it a whirl.

One caveat…during this testing phase, the Pocket Cooking School only works in flash video, so you won’t be able to use your mobile device at this time (something we’ll address later after testing).

Watch video above to learn more.

Joe Girard
Co-Founder & CEO