In October 2021, we went to Italy together on a raw food adventure, looking for the best fruits and vegetables in the countryside of Tuscany. We discovered a whole new world of freshness and simplicity, and adopted the Italian philosophy of “less is more” and “quality over quantity”. Our meal preparation became an artistic endeavor to celebrate the intensity and wonderful flavors of the tomatoes, zucchini, olives, peppers, greens, grapes, cucumbers, kale, basil, and all of the other amazing produce that we found at the local farmers’ markets and fruit stands.
We became fascinated with finding the freshest, most colorful, and most flavorful fruits and vegetables, and wanted to fully explore the idea that the less we do to food, the more enjoyable the meal will be. As professional chefs from California and Sweden, we had learned to surround ourselves with modern electrical kitchen equipment: blenders, food processors, juicers, and grinders. We had gotten used to overly manipulating food with machines, and transforming it into something different than what it originally was. All of this changed as we became familiar with the tastes and smells of the vegetables and fruits that came from the ancient orchards and well-curated gardens in Italy. We decided to let go of our electrical tools and motors, and work with the produce more directly, so that the food stayed true to its natural state. With this new philosophy, our job as chefs was not to overly control the outcome of food preparation, but to step aside and elevate the wonderful aromas and complex flavors that were already inherent in the amazing gifts from nature.
This book is a way for you to adopt this same philosophy in your kitchen, and become more connected with the local produce available in your area. Turn off the blender, unplug the food processor, and develop an intimate relationship with the farms around you. A tomato fresh from the garden, or a newly picked head of lettuce, is already delicious on its own, and the recipes in this book focus on combining those flavors into a new experience. Food preparation done in this way becomes an exciting journey of natural discovery, and we hope that you will find delight in allowing the organic fruits and vegetables available to you to shine brightly through the simplicity of these recipes.