Meet yogi, chef and nourisher Michele Ford...
RYB: Where did you learn to cook?
MF: Through inspiration found in the world around me. I graduated from the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas which specializes in Vegetarian, Vegan, Ayurveda, Macrobiotics, Raw and Living foods. I have also had the opportunity to live and work on a small organic farm.
RYB: Have you always had a passion for food?
MF: Yes! I have always been inspired by natures bounty, the pleasures of the palate, the artful beauty of fresh food and being a part of bringing food to the table. As a young girl I had my own vegetable garden, foraged for seasonal fruits and turned them into delicious treats with grandma. I believe the most nourishing, tasty and beautiful foods are those closer to their source made with intention and love.
RYB: What is unique about your purpose when you cook?
MF: As a Jivamukti trained yoga teacher and a practicing yogi, cooking is an extention of my practice. What better way is there to infuse yoga into my day? I sit down to eat 3 times a day - this gives me the perfect opportunity to take my yoga practice off the mat and into the kitchen. When I cook, I bring an intention into each meal, finding new awareness and creativity in the transforming of raw ingredients into flavorful nourishing art. I believe in deep self-listening on and off the mat as a way to refine our awareness and reshape habitual patterns, especially in our relationship with food.
RYB: If you could choose 3 words to describe your style of cooking:
MF: Intentional, Delicious, Expressive
RYB: What is one of your favorite places you have lived, and why?
MF: Hawaii is my sweet spot! It is so full of abundance, natural awe and prana (life-force).
RYB: You have managed to fuse together your passions for yoga and food - what would you like to explore through these in the next 5 years?
MF: I desire to be passionately present! I want to continue sharing my unique expression and gifts and empowering others to embrace their own, through yoga, food, art and community. Food has incredible healing power and brings much more than just physical fuel to the table. Like yoga it connects us to our environment, to other people, to our inner wisdom and to the cycles of life.
RYB: Please! Share the recipe for your divine Chocolate Avacado Mousse...
Chocolate Mousse with Mango & Coconut
What you'll need:
Yield: 6, ½ cup servings
3 medium avocados (1½ cup)
½ cup dates soaked in ½ cup water
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cacao powder
8 oz. dark chocolate, melted
1 cup coconut milk
Pinch of salt
½ mango (1 cup), small dice
1 Tablespoon toasted coconut
6 mint sprigs
How to create:
Place dates and soaked water, maple syrup and vanilla in the food
processor and blend till smooth. Add the avocado, cacao powder, melted
chocolate, coconut milk and salt, process until smooth. Serve chilled.
To serve, place mouse in individual ramekins and top with diced mango,
toasted coconut and mint sprig.