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Cranach's creative crunches

Publication Date : 03-05-2012


Diana von Cranach presents her masterpieces at Glow restaurant from May 8 to 12


Diana von Cranach is a firm believer in that old adage: you are what you eat. She shuns processed food, hates ghee and anything deep-fried, and avoids microwaved food. When she travels, she usually takes her own meals for the plane journey. But she's happy to eat out at restaurants though she admits it's difficult to find dishes that suit her diet.

Cranach calls her culinary preference "rawfully good living food" and she shared it with the local media last week at the Metropolitan Bangkok's Glow restaurant, where she'll be presenting special dishes with executive chef Chris Miller from May 8 to 12.

Using only fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, Cranach's raw food is not only healthy but also delicious. In fact, it tastes so good that it helps overturn the notion that health food is comparable to medicine.

Credited as the pioneer of the living food movement, Cranach developed an appetite for raw food after learning the recipes from her mother-in-law. In 1987, she and her Indonesian husband opened the Puri Ganesha Villas in Bali and the British chef set about creating and serving vegetarian, chicken and seafood dishes based on her mother-in-law's recipes. She's been eating raw food ever since, presenting her ideas as a guest chef at many hotels and always introducing traditional, indigenous herbs and vegetables used over the centuries. She runs her own restaurant called L'Elephant Vert in Luang Prabang, and is the author of "Rawfully Good Living Flavours of Southeast Asia."

"Raw food has several health benefits too. I never feel sleepy during the day despite only sleeping four hours and rarely feel exhausted even after a busy day," says Cranach.

During the demo for the media, she presented her own version of Thai food. We were first served three kinds of beverage in three colours: A yellow "Liver Cleanser" (a blend of orange, pomelo, tangerine, lime, garlic, ginger, cayenne & flax seed oil), a red "Blood of the earth" (apple, beetroot, celery, carrot and ginger) and the "Green Clean" (fennel, cucumber, spinach, celery, apple, spirulina, sunflower seeds & macadamia nuts).

Presented in bite sizes, the food features exotic ingredients like flower petals, herbs and other medicinal plants that are available in Thailand. The first sampled was Sesame Seed & Red Curry Roulade, rich in flavour, texture and crunchiness and dominated by the mildly hot red curry.

Next was Mushroom Laap. The hot and sour taste of the Thai laap is there and biting into wholesome pieces of mushrooms, chunks of sliced shallots and other organic ingredients instantly give you a sense of wellbeing.

Thais eat lotus roots and stems, but not lotus petals because the flowers of these water lilies are considered sacred, as they are usually used in Buddhist ceremonies where they are presented to monks. But Cranach goes creative by serving Lotus Petal Mieng Kam.

More flower petals are used in Flower Petal & Herb Spring Rolls, which look too beautiful and fragile to touch and eat.

Vegetable & Herb Balls with Turmeric Dressing & Shredded Coconut, with lots of vegetables compressed into tiny dark green balls. We munched on Cashew & Herb Slice with Pickles and Carrot & Sunflower Seed Cubes before launching into the dessert, Chocolate Bread with Vanilla Cream & Strawberries.

It's hard to guess what the ingredients are used in each dish but as they all come in small portions and are crunchy and tasty, you end up eating lots of healthy food. Cranach is very clever in giving traditional Thai dishes a twist and if you like mint, coriander, shallot, chilli and other herbs in your food, then Cranach's raw food is just the ticket.

Vegetarians and vegans will, of course, love it.
Get The Glow

Diana von Cranach presents her masterpieces at Glow restaurant from May 8 to 12 through an a la carte selection and additional set menus available for lunch and dinner, including Green & White Gala dinner on May 11. On May 12, Cranach and The Metropolitan chef Chris Miller conduct a Rawfully Good Masterclass. For reservations, call (02) 625 3366, or e-mail


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