When we learned raw food extraordinaire Matthew Kenney opened a restaurant in Highland Park, we made the trek. It was worth it: In the Raw is a suburban gem.
Between bites of raw berry parfaits and sips of Liquid Gold juice, we chatted up chef Kimberly Polsen for some healthy insight.
DC: You started off as a vegetarian, then transitioned to vegan, then to raw. How did it happen?
KP: The food pushed me toward it. I was a vegan in college, and everyone in the dorm would get sick and I had so much energy. I knew it was all about what I was putting in my body.
DC: What are the benefits of going raw?
KP: [Ed. note: Polsen eats some cooked food.] It can be intimidating at the beginning — it scares people. I tell them that once they start drinking juice for breakfast instead of eating processed food, they’ll start craving that, feeling better, and wanting to eat something healthy for lunch. It’ll naturally progress that way.
DC: What’s in your fridge?
KP: I usually have ingredients on hand to make salads and smoothies. So there’s always kale and fruit. And kombucha. I’m an addict.
DC: Say we want to juice at home. What’s an easy recipe we can whip up in the morning?
KP: I’m on a chia kick right now. So these days it’s kale, mangoes, frozen bananas, and two tablespoons of chia seeds. You can thin it out with water or almond milk, too.
DC: What three staples do you recommend keeping around for healthy snacking?
KP: Frozen bananas, frozen berries or mango, and leafy greens. You can make a green smoothie so fast.
DC: What do you eat on Thanksgiving?
KP: It’s all about taking something familiar and thinking outside the box. For a normal gravy, you’d use chicken stock and flour. I made one yesterday with carrot and celery juices as a base, pine nuts, fresh herbs, and olive oil.
DC: What’s the first food you recommend people cut from their diets?
KP: Red meat and anything processed.
DC: What do you take when you travel?
KP: Fruit that won’t bruise (apples), trail mix, and Larabars. Easy, quick, and not messy.
In the Raw, 483 Central Avenue, at Sheridan Road, Highland Park (847-432-9999 or intherawhp.com).
Photo: Courtesy of In the Raw