Featured Friend Interview: Matthew Kenney – PlantLab

Matthew Kenney is a  celebrity chef, entrepreneur and author, known for his unique brand of organic and vegetarian cuisine. His company, Matthew Kenney Cuisine, is focused on the development of products, books and businesses that reflect his passion for sustainable living. He is also the creator of PlantLab.

Plantlab is an integrated, California-based lifestyle company. The brand provides innovative, high quality products and services in the culinary art and wellness markets through its six business segments: hospitality, education, media, products, wellness and services. Plant Lab currently operates in more than 10 major cities internationally.  

We are incredibly lucky to have Matthew take time out of his busy schedule to share with the Raw Blend Family his take on a ‘Healthy Mix for Life.’

Firstly, what does creating ‘A Healthy Mix for Life’ mean to you?

Balance; Living a healthy life goes beyond the way you eat. Although my diet consists of mostly clean plant-based ingredients, I have no rules. Health is not about avoiding all pleasure. Integrating exercise, fun, rest, and positive interactions into your daily routine for overall wellness is very important in creating a healthy mix for life.

So you believe that living a healthy life doesn’t just mean eating well … how do you keep your mind and body healthy?

I’m a huge fan of yoga — I’ve consciously practiced mindfulness for more than 10 years. There’s a lot of information that comes to me and through me each day, so it’s important for me to not try to silence it but to sit and notice what flows freely through my mind. I try to do this everyday.

What would your day on a plate look like and why do you eat the way you do?

I feel and look my best when I am having fresh green juice, quality water, healthy fats like avocado or coconut, lots of green salads, sprouted grains and lentils, and of course chocolate. Not only do I eat this way because I feel and look my best physically, but I think that when we feel our best we are more present, grateful, and accepting of life’s blessings. Our dietary choices guide the way we feel within our bodies, ours minds, and the way we look which in turn influence our interactions with others.

Do you have a health, wellness or fitness guru?

I don’t have one- I have so many people that I admire but I aim to be the best version of myself. Everyone is different and what works for them may not work for me.

Name us  ONE Super Hero Food that you could NOT live without?

Avocado is one of my favorites, growing up in Maine I hadn’t tried a quality avocado until I was an adult, I love how versatile they are and enjoy them both in savory and sweet dishes or on their own.

If you could share with the Raw Blend Family one piece of your wisdom what would it be?

“Crafting the Future of Food’ is our tagline although it’s also our mantra. It’s a reminder to us all that the work we’re doing is part of something larger, that it’s part of a mission to change the way the world thinks about its food choices. We are educating ourselves and suggesting we all make sound ingredient choices, to support more sustainable processes and to promote a plant-based lifestyle that is delicious, healthful, innovative and accessible. This is the future of food.

We love that! Now we are lucky enough to have you share one of your favourite recipes with us, why do you love this recipe?

This is our classic Raw Heirloom Tomato and Zucchini lasagna. It’s been a favorite for years and was one of the first raw dishes I created. It’s on the menu at most of our restaurants and the students in the Culinary Academy learn how to make it in Level 1.

Heirloom Tomato Lasagna

macadamia ricotta, pistachio pesto, red pepper, marinara

MACADAMIA RICOTTA

  • 1 cup soaked macadamias
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  1. Combine everything in a blender until completely smooth.

PISTACHIO PESTO

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place the pesto ingredients, except olive oil, in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still slightly chunky.
  2. Maintaining texture is important.
  3. Gradually stream in the olive oil while the food processor is running.

 RED PEPPER MARINARA

  • ½ cup soaked sun-dried tomatoes (soaked for 4-5 hours)
  • 1 medium tomato, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoons red chili flakes
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  1. Squeeze out excess water from sun dried tomatoes. Process everything in food processor, except the olive oil. Once ingredients have been well combined, gradually stream in the olive oil while the food processor is running.

HERB OIL

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup basil leaves (or herb of choice)
  • pinch salt
  1. Blend to combine, strain remaining solids. Must store in refrigerator.

ASSEMBLY

  • 1 zucchini, ends trimmed
  • ½ a large tomato, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • fresh herbs or microgreens
  • pinch salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise, using a mandoline, into 9, 3-4 inch long pieces, 1/8 inch thick.
  2. Toss slices with oil, salt, and pepper and let sit 2-3 minutes. Overlap 3 zucchini slices, top with ricotta, pesto, marinara and a tomato slice.
  3. Repeat for a second layer, and top with the final 3 zucchini slices.
  4. Sauce a plate with the herb oil and transfer the lasagna to the plate.
  5. Garnish with small basil leaves, microgreens, and sliced cherry tomatoes.

You must check out Matthew Kenney’s Instagram page, the images are truly incredible: matthewkenneycuisine

Happy Blending!

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