My name is Maya and I am a recent graduate of the Natural Chef Training Program. I was born and lived most of my life in Israel until moving to California 7 years ago. In Israel, I worked as an architect in a boutique firm. I was drawn to the artistic elements of architecture and how living spaces make people feel.
I learned to appreciate and love the art of cooking from my grandmother and mother, who were both amazing cooks. Originally from Turkey, they had learned to prepare the delicious, traditional dishes of that culture, using only the freshest ingredients. I was lucky to have been exposed to such amazing cuisine that was also so healthy. My grandparents lived into their late 90s and were generally healthy all their lives.
When I moved to the United States, it was difficult to pursue my architecture career, so I turned to my other passion—cooking. I decided that I wanted to pursue a new career in the culinary arts, focusing on my early childhood experiences. I wanted to combine my love for fresh and healthy food with art and presentation. I also wanted to learn how to prepare delicious, nutritious meals for my 2 young sons. Since kids are notorious for refusing healthy foods, I wanted to be able to create dishes that they would enjoy and be happy to eat.
Making healthy food for my own family inspired me to make healthy food for other families, and Bauman College offered just the training I was looking for. Having gone through this amazing experience, I not only learned how to make great, beautiful food using different techniques, I am now fully aware of all the health benefits of various aspects of cooking—ingredients, cooking methods, and materials. With this knowledge, I will be able to provide a great service for families, helping them to solve their nutritional challenges, especially with children.
Recipe Process + Inspiration
One evening, while out to dinner with friends, we ordered a delicious chocolate tart. I could not get home fast enough to recreate a healthy version of this dessert. I wanted to make a treat using healthy fats and without the processed ingredients usually found in foods these days. I also wanted to create a healthy dessert that my sons could enjoy.
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Chocolate Tart
- 6 large Medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ cup water, boiled
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup pecans
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ⅓ tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbs almond flour, more if needed
- 2 Tbs coconut oil
- 2 Tbs maple syrup
- 3 large, ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 2 Tbs pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tbs coconut oil
- 8 mint leaves
- For the garnish
- coconut flakes
- mint leaves
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add all crust ingredients to a food processor and process until well combined.
- Empty into a 9-inch pie pan, and press firmly so that the crust evenly covers the pan all the way around. Bake for 8 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- Add all filling ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Using a piping bag, fill the crust.
- Garnish with coconut flakes, raspberries, and mint leaves. Enjoy!