Founder of Almost Vegan Cooking School

Having fun

When I was a child I organized all the kids in my neighborhood so they could attend my basement step school. I would stand at the top of the stairwell with my easel and lesson plan. The students on my block dangled their legs through the open stair steps. The gray wooden risers above their laps became their writing desk. They peered up and I peered down. It was the world I grew up in full of imagination and fun. My favorite teachers when I was a student, were the story tellers and I fell in love with learning and teaching before I understood what it was.

My background

I became vegan in 2009. Most assumed it would be short lived. What I was cooking became a topic of conversation among friends.  They were curious and I began teaching them how to cook. My enthusiasm for teaching grew into a community kitchen which led to the creation of Almost Vegan Cooking School.

I began this school because I realized people needed a school like this. Yes, it was about the recipes, but a shift was occurring and I became a part of that shift.  Owning a cooking school was not an aspiration.  It happened because I was listening for the first time to a deep and quiet voice. A memory re-kindled within and the cooking school allowed me to use my full imagination. Only this time, as a teacher, I had hopes of changing the world by teaching a new way to cook.

The school grew because of its entertaining concept and quality of food. The school became a vehicle to share information that was not widely known. We were invited to cook and teach annually at VegFest Colorado. The head cardiologist, Dr. Freeman, of National Jewish Hospital, became a cooking student here. He also became a strong advocate for plant-based nutrition and began sharing the research with his patients and encouraging them to attend class here. Cooking invitations were extended to us from far and wide.

My favorite home-cooked meal

My favorite home home-cooked meal is when a student shares something they learned how to make. Last week it was vegan crab cakes and a new twist on minestrone soup.  For me, that’s priceless!

We hired a professional crew to film and produce the cooking introduction series to plant-based foods. To handle our growth and extend our reach, we launched a new website in 2014 to share the enthusiasm that was occurring in my home kitchen.  It still feels extraordinary every day to discover online orders from places as far away as Johannesburg, Bangkok and Dubai.

The practice of becoming vegan captivated me. I began to observe the world in a different way. I felt that the creation of a 21st century cooking school would bring health and goodness into the lives of others. Eating more plants changes the ecology of our planet. Eating more plants reduces suffering. Eating more plants brings an abundance of health into the whole community. It is a story we can tell through the sharing of food. I have found this is a gift for everyone.  I am thankful to be a part of it.  I am honored that you are here and found us online.

My goal is to help build a world-class community kitchen that helps us help one another.

My favorite vegan restaurant

I have only eaten here once, not a fancy place, ordered the green chili breakfast burrito to stuff into my backpack for a day of hiking. I was blown away with deliciousness! Can’t wait to return and re-order it again.

Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café 1620 St. Michaels Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505

Music Composer

Wes is a professional composer for a video gaming company and lives in Hollywood, California. Wes provides technical support. He strongly encouraged his mother, by the way, to begin teaching cooking classes online through the YouTube platform. Hopefully, in the future, Wesley will compose a theme song for Almost Vegan’s Cooking School channel. He brings a fresh and youthful perspective to the organization.

During the summer of his senior year in high school Wes transitioned into a vegan lifestyle while composing scores of music for a rigorous auditioning schedule. He noticed, almost immediately, a profound difference both mentally and physically. He cannot imagine eating any other way. He is full of energy and loves the idea that he is eating the highest quality of food with the lowest impact on the planet.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition at the University of Denver and studied at McGill University in Montreal.