105degrees, in the raw!

Raina Fields - Contributing Writer
Posted on Monday 29th June 2009

Don’t let the name fool you. 105degrees isn’t nearly as hot as you think. In fact, this trendy new combination culinary institute, café, boutique, and food brand is completely raw!

105degrees is the world’s first state-licensed raw food, also known as living cuisine, academy, set to open this September in Oklahoma City, Okla. Named after the optimal temperature for raw food, 105degrees caters to the raw food movement that is now becoming mainstream.

Blossoming chefs aren’t the only ones benefiting from 105degrees’ inception. The institute will offer an educational curriculum for beginner and seasoned chefs alike. Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine, a four-week course, revolves around the principles of “plant,” “sprout,” “grow,” and “harvest.” The institute also offers an Advanced Raw Cuisine course. 105degrees’ Twitter account recently confirmed their first student who has simultaneously enrolled in both courses.

The culinary institute will also boast a café and boutique where visitors can enjoy the tastes of some of the country’s best raw food. Menu items will include red sweet pepper wrappers with marcona almond puree and avocado, as well as a diverse wine list, featuring organic and biodynamic wines. 105degrees is also a high quality raw food brand, offering items for the kitchen, bath and body, and library.

If you’re not a chef or food expert, 105degress plans to hold public workshops on nutrition and food preparation once opened.

Benefits of Raw Food

But why choose raw food? Experts agree that raw foods are overall healthier and do not contain the toxins that appear in cooked foods.

According to Dara Prentice, one of 105degrees’ founders and a former attorney, “more people seek the pure flavors of food known to be low in sodium and fat and high in nutrients, while also reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes and promoting a healthier way of life.”

One of 105degrees’ founders and author of the book Entertaining in the Raw, Matthew Kenney is a respected chef and expert in the raw food field. An interview with Matthew Kenney clarified some common misconceptions about raw food. “[The name] is often misleading,” Kenney shares.

But what exactly is a raw food diet composed of? Kenney states, that it is a “refined style of eating a vegan diet in its most natural form.” According to Kenney, raw food preserves the enzymes, natural elements, and flavors of food.


Food is not heated above its optimum temperature of 105 degrees. In addition, the diet follows a vegan style, eliminating the use and consumption of animal products, including meats, eggs, and dairy products. “It’s a science, really,” Kenney says.

As a chef, Kenney is concerned with raw cuisine and “elevating it to something more exciting and fun.” Kenney describes it as a more involved process of food combining, dehydrating and innovative techniques and processes of food preparation.

Though raw food is the world’s oldest food preparation method, according to scientists, raw food is on the cutting edge of technology. At 105degrees, Kenney attests that they will use thermal immersion cooking and dehydration.

Kenney is very concerned about the fundamentals, encouraging classic techniques of cleanliness and using seasonal vegetables, for the freshest results.

But for those of you contemplating beginning a raw food diet, Kenney’s advice is simple, “Take it one step at a time. Don’t force anything.” Like anything, Kenney contends, it is a process.

Healthier Lifestyle

Raw food is only one part of a long-term movement for healthier lifestyles – whether it’s supporting local produce and meats, farmer’s markets, organic foods, vegetarianism, or veganism. These lifestyle choices not only contribute to a healthy body, but a more sustainable environment.

Kenney does recognize that preparing this cuisine can be high-maintenance at times, but then says the preparation time is worth it. “What’s a few minutes, when adding years to your life?” he asks.

For the individuals involved with the development of the culinary institute, Kenney describes it as a “major task.” “It’s been a tremendously complicated process, [requiring] intense work and investments.” Though the hope to make raw food popular throughout the country, and possibly the world is a primary focus, right now, the founders of 105degrees are concerned about developing their flagship location in Oklahoma.

105degrees plans on holding public courses several times a week to give people “a taste for what they’re doing.” Kenney is especially proud that 105degrees is a multifaceted business that addresses every aspect of the raw food business. From “preparation, understanding, consuming, to enjoying,” 105degrees has something to offer everyone.

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