Now, learning the art of plant-based cuisine is as easy as joining one of the classes in the Alchemy Academy.
For those in the know, Alchemy Bali in Ubud is an institution of all things raw, vegan, and organic. The holistic cafe, juice bar, and organic food store has been promoting healthy and sustainable living since 2011. Hundreds flock in every day to create their salads from the rawfully good salad bar and marvel at the tasty gourmet creations that the Alchemy has achieved by using raw, organic, and mostly local ingredients.
In the beginning of this year, it gave birth to the Alchemy Academy in Penestanan, Ubud. “Many people are coming to me over the years and asking for food workshops. But, I want to do it right, a properly designed school on a nice piece of land. It finally came true this year,” says Shanti Allen, a co-founder of Alchemy who is teaching the Raw Vegan Desserts class today.
The cooking school is built on a lush parcel of land, just a little outside Ubud. Today’s class of ten people are conducted in a relax manner, supported by the soundtrack of nature, of cooing birds and clucking hens. At the heart of the all-white open space is a large kitchen equipped with the tools of the trade: high speed blender, tamper, juicer, and a dehydrator. At the beginning of the class, Shanti laughingly says that she doesn’t want to stop eating whipped cream and cheese cake. Since becoming a vegan, she made it her mission to create healthier version of those sweet treats.
The class officially started when she shows the ten eager students how to make the famous Queen of Hearts. The popular strawberry and goji berry swirl “cheese” cake is magically made of a coconut and oats crust, a rich strawberry filling, and goji sauce. Afterwards, we are encouraged to form a group based on the dessert that we want to create. I opt for almond snickers ice cream cake – just because it combines two of my favourite words in its title: snickers and ice cream. Since everything is raw, one doesn’t need to master the art of baking to create these delights. We only need to mix each ingredient in the right amount and correct steps, put it in the freezer, and wait for it to harden. Despite the simplicity, I can’t imagine how many trials and errors Shanti, as the alchemist, has gone through to get the consistency or the right texture.
Apart from Shanti, the academy has another four teachers with different set of skills and interests. Thus, it creates various classes from sweet to savoury, from simple pure raw dishes to vegan delights, as well as a class dedicated to Indonesia’s jamu or turmeric potion making. The academy also offers professional chef certification courses for aspired chef who want to master the art of plant-based cuisine.
Today, the class ended with a sweetness overload. My fellow students are inviting their friends for a hard-core dessert session and many gladly answered their calls. After all, good food is meant to be shared.
Jalan Raya Penestanan, Singakerta, Ubud