Gastronomy academy ditches vegan focus and switches to "free-from" concept


29 Nov 2017 --- Vegan Gastronomy Culinary Academy is moving away from its vegan-only focus and instead embracing a much larger mainstream market of teaching students about religious dietary requirements and food allergy requirements. The cooking academy has been absorbed into Free From That of Las Vegas.

“Veganism and vegans as a belief system and way of life are estimated at being only five percent of the global consumer market,” states Manuel Lynch, CEO of Free From That. 

“We know that chaos always precedes real change so we have decided to move our focus away from vegans so we are not 'preaching to the choir' anymore but rather expand our training to channels which will have a much larger mainstream impact around the world.”

The company has been renamed Free From That and is focused on showing cooks and chefs that are in conventional training programs how to meet the niche needs of various religious/belief systems, as well as teaching how to meet demanding requirements of medical food allergies and various dietary restrictions.

“After many years of training people, we have realized that most vegan students that come to our academy have not or will not attend conventional/classical cooking schools that teach the foundations, processes, food safety standards and hospitality/business techniques to run a successful restaurant,” says Lynch. 

“We have so many success stories of classically trained chefs and/or restaurant owners that have come to our academy to expand their menus to add 100 percent plant-based dishes.”

“We have had very few students that have had no classical training successfully open and sustain a vegan business. We feel our goal to make plant-based food mainstream is best served on a much broader market to show the sustainability of adding vegan dishes to a conventional restaurant, hotel or cruise ship menu.”

Free From That continues to respect all people and past students that have pursued a vegan way of life and belief system, however, the organization has determined that the extremist and isolationist approach that is commonly adopted by veganism is not working effectively fast enough. 

The new concentration is on cooks/chefs that have gone through classical training or are enrolled in a two- to a three-year cooking program. These students or graduates are also offered a 50 percent discount by proving their enrollment or certification from a culinary/hospitality college.

“We finally realized that veganism is a type of 'belief system' and/or way of life similar to other religions and belief systems,” continued Lynch. “We feel that opening our arms to every religious/belief system and to classically trained cooks/chefs is the fastest way to meet our goals.”

Free From That has already started training programs at several government-accredited cooking schools in Spain and will soon be announcing programs in Australia, Argentina and the US with other accredited/hospitality schools.

New Spanish training center
Free From That is opening a new and specialized modern training center in 2018 in Palma, Mallorca, Spain, to have a maximum of 12 students with a student to teacher/instructor ratio of 1:4 to make sure training is at the top of market standards.

“It is with great lament and joy that I decided for our private school to take this forward direction and not focus on vegans anymore,” says Stephanie Prather, co-founder of Free From That. 

Stephanie is a graduate of Cornell University Plant Based Nutrition and Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy (now PlantLab) and also a recognized global leader with programs she conducted with low-income children at Garden To Table in Auckland, New Zealand, which received international recognition including from Lady Camilla of the UK.  

“I have a certain amount of time on this planet to do all that I can to get people to eat more fruits and veggies every day,” continued Prather. “I have experience and now know that opening up our training to a much larger base of classically trained cook/chef market is our next step. Far too many people believe that one can only eat at a specialty restaurant that caters to a limited or specific type of food, but the exact opposite is becoming the norm and is our focus.”

The cooking academy has grown over 400 percent year-over-year since its inception in 2014 and has trained over 650 students. In 2018 it expects to train over 1,000 students in one year.

Next year, Free From That will also be launching several product lines including Chocolate Con Artist - dairy-free, animal-free, vegan, kosher and Buddhist bonbons with flavors like BBQ Chixn Chocolate Bonbons or Have a Whiskey and Cigar Chocolate Bonbons designed for successful male executives.

V Cubes - Bouillon Cubes to help in moving to plant-based vegan cuisine. Flavors include Vegan Cheese, Vegan Meat, etc. Spicy Chica Sauces - Locally sourced Mallorca Island ingredients turned into delicious high-protein vegan hot sauces for bodybuilders, wrestlers, mixed martial arts and other strenuous athletic lifestyles.

Neu5Ac Meal Bars - A completely new type of high-protein energy bar. Allergy-free. Flavors include Thai Peanut Curry Pad Thai in an Energy Bar, a meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Bar.

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