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105 Degrees: elucidation & minutiae

October 8, 2010

First off, I want to thank everyone who commented on my announcement yesterday. I appreciate your congratulations and encouragement so, so much. My emotions have been running the gamut from excited to nervous to impatient to giddy to anxious to aaahh! Your outpouring of support and kind words really bolstered my confidence and joy. So THANK YOU!
I heart you all!

Today I just wanted to take the chance to answer what have already become some frequently asked questions about my upcoming journey to raw vegan chefhood at the 105 Degrees Academy.

What exactly is this school like?
It’s an intensive 12-week chef certification program that occurs in three stages.
Level I: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine (L1) is four consecutive weeks long.
Level II: Advanced Raw Cuisine (L2) is also four consecutive weeks long.
Then there are four Focus Seminars (FS) that are each one week long. Only one FS is held per month, so it will take four months to complete all of them.

What is the timeline of these courses?
I’m leaving for Oklahoma City on Saturday, October 23rd. L1 is from Monday, October 25th to Friday, November 19th.
I’ll be home the week of Thanksgiving, and then L2 is from Monday, November 29th to Wednesday, December 22nd.
The Focus Seminars are held the first week of every month, so barring bad weather, I should complete the final FS in April 2011.

What happened to your job?
I QUIT! Four years spent languishing in a dead-end life insurance job was long enough! My last day at work is Friday, October 15th. I’ll be spending the following week scrambling around, getting my affairs in order, before leaving on the 23rd.

So are you moving to Oklahoma City?
Nope! Since the courses are so brief, I won’t need to be gone long enough to warrant a move. I’ve booked an extended-stay hotel room for the duration; it’s like a mini apartment.

What about your boyfriend? Friends? Life back home?
OKC is “only” 4½ hours or so from Kansas City, so there’ll be some weekend trips home. Matt and I plan to switch off on traveling – he’ll come see me in OKC one week, I’ll come home to KC the next – in an effort to see each other most weekends. I’ll also use my trips home to take care of home upkeep/rent/bills/etc. and to see my friends and family.

Will you be blogging while you’re at 105?
You better believe it! I hope to post near-daily, at least on weekdays, to keep you all in step with what I’m learning/doing/experiencing. (I hope to include some recipe and review posts, too.)
By the way, you can now also reach this page via! Right now, Almost Vegan is still the name, and is still the primary URL, but we’ll see just how “almost raw” I go. 😉

So do you plan on adopting a 100% raw diet?
Nah. I do think that while I’m at 105, I’ll eat almost completely raw just because of the nature of the environment! A high-raw diet will be my focus after that, but you know me—I hate rigid food rules! I still plan to include cooked food and baked goods in my life when I get back, they may just comprise a smaller percentage of my diet than before.

What will you do after you graduate?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? I don’t think there’s any way to know yet what opportunities I’ll find once I’m a certified chef, so I’m leaving my options wide open. I do plan to return to Kansas City, and then go from there. I know that I really want to somehow bring raw food to KC in a big, big way. I truly believe we are ripe and ready for it!

What kinds of career options do you have in mind?
Lots! I could work a restaurant, café, or juice bar, or maybe even open my own. I could be a private chef, spa chef, or caterer. I could create, market, and sell a new product. I could try teaching/instructing some raw food classes of my own. Or I could find work as an editorial food writer, travel food writer, or (what I’m not-so-secretly hoping for most) COOKBOOK WRITER!
How would you guys feel about an Almost Vegan and/or Almost Raw cookbook someday?!?

So there you have it! I hope that clears up some curiosities.
Is there anything you’re wondering about that I didn’t address?
Thank you all, again, for accompanying me on this adventure! It’s going to be GREAT!

42 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2010 1:39 pm

    Meant to say this yesterday, but had to run out the door after reading your awesome post/announcement…CONGRATS!! I am so excited for you! I will live vicariously through you! 😉

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 4:52 pm

      Thank you so much, Kelly! I can’t wait!

  2. October 8, 2010 1:41 pm

    SO much fun! I would love to do this someday! Someday! Congrats you! I did not get a chance to comment yesterday so high-five to you and enjoy it.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 4:52 pm

      Thanks, Noelle! I hope you get a chance someday; you’d be great at it! 🙂

  3. October 8, 2010 2:58 pm

    May I be so bold as to suggest a PARTY!! before you leave?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 4:55 pm

      Aww, you’re going to throw me a party?! And select the location? And send all the invitations? And take care of the food and drink? And hire an awesome DJ that only plays music I like? And provide me with a bottomless bottle of Goldschlager?! Mike, you shouldn’t have!

  4. October 8, 2010 3:14 pm

    So SO excited for you Amber! Wow! What fun. Ok I’m also super jealous!! I wish I could do something like that 🙂 You will rock it and I will be eagerly awaiting your posts!! FUN! 🙂 You know, if you’re interested in a move, Bellingham is a fabulous ‘hippie’ town just dying for a new, fantastical restaurant… I could see you all over that! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 4:57 pm

      Thank you SO much, Ellen! I promise to share as much with you as I can via blogging 😀

      Hehe! I’ve heard good things about Bellingham. I’ll have to check it out sometime! 🙂

  5. October 8, 2010 3:51 pm

    This is super-exciting! I read your post yesterday via email at work but didn’t have a chance to remote in to my computer so I could comment….but EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

    And hey, you’ll be in town for my birthday, so that’s pretty sweet too ;). I’m originally from OKC….if you are down there in the break between Christmas and New Year’s, I guess we’ll just have to hang out. Otherwise, sounds like you’ll be back in KC fairly often.

    And yes, I do think a party needs to happen. I vote for the 22nd, since I’m not working that night 😀

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 4:59 pm

      Yes indeed, Ms. Birthday-the-same-day-as-the-anniversary-of-JFK’s-assassination! 😛

      I won’t be in OKC after Christmas, but definitely, if you find yourself down there while I’m at 105, you must come check it out.

      Aw, Matt and I are going to Phantom’s Feaste at RenFest on the 22nd, so I’m booked. If you don’t work the Friday before that, though, on the 15th, the gang is supposed to be going to Halloweekends at Worlds of Fun!

      • October 9, 2010 7:38 am

        Sadness, I’m on call the 15th, and if I’m not called in I’ll be spending the whole time helping KJ plan out her schedule for homecoming. I have to submit my schedule 6 weeks ahead of time, so unless there’s plenty of notice it’s pretty much guaranteed I’m working.

        • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
          October 9, 2010 12:43 pm

          Damn! Well, we’ll figure something out…even if that means just starting a catering business after the first of the year =X !

  6. October 8, 2010 4:49 pm

    That sounds like such an amazing opportunity! Good for you for quitting your job and following a dream!
    Oh, and I think writing a cookbook is a great idea! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 5:01 pm

      Thank you! It’s kind of scary, but I don’t think I’m going to regret it in the least 🙂

      Yay, one vote for cookbook! 😀

  7. October 8, 2010 5:39 pm

    This is beyond awesome! You are so brave and such a driven woman! It’s always nice to quit a dead-end job, especially if it means you get to have such a wonderful experience! I’m so happy for you! Enjoy every minute of it and keep us posted! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 5:52 pm

      Aw, you are too sweet. Thank you so much, River! I promise to keep everyone posted! 😀

  8. October 8, 2010 7:45 pm

    Woohoo Amber that is amazing! It takes a lot of courage to just stop and change your life plan and follow something you are truly passionate about – I can’t wait to read all about it!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 9:07 pm

      Thank you Amanda! 😀 That means a lot to me. ::Deep breath:: I am ready to do this!

  9. October 8, 2010 8:05 pm

    Oh! Oh! *waves hand in air*

    I have another question!

    Q: Just how ineffably wonderful are you?

    P.S. Za’atar is GOT!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 8, 2010 9:09 pm

      Oh, you! ::yet another blush:: Flattery AND the word “ineffably”? You’re too much! 😛

      YAY, za’atar and chaat masala, eee! You are the best!

  10. October 9, 2010 7:07 am

    wow what an exciting new adventure -congrats!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 9, 2010 12:44 pm

      Thank you!

  11. October 9, 2010 11:19 am

    Congrats on quitting the job you hated and going after something you love! I can’t wait to keep up with all your posts.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 9, 2010 12:45 pm

      Thanks Lauren! I’m a little nervous, but looking forward to it! 🙂

  12. October 9, 2010 12:39 pm

    Super exciting! As I said previously, I love reading about raw recipes and experimenting occasionally, but it’s not something I’ve done lots with–I can’t wait to see what kinds of great stuff you’ll be working on.

    Congratulations once again for following your dream and doing what makes you happy–so wonderful! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 9, 2010 12:47 pm

      Well I can’t wait to help stoke your interest in raw foods 😛

      Thank you again for your encouragement, Kylie! 😀

  13. October 9, 2010 4:54 pm

    Coming out of lurking to say HOORAY! What an exciting life change & career move!

    Congratulations! (ok, going back to lurking now 🙂 )

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 9, 2010 5:32 pm

      Hehe, aw! Don’t go back to lurking! I really appreciate the congrats 😀

  14. October 10, 2010 10:19 am

    Love the elucidations – makes it even more exciting!

    Sounds like so much fun, and I’m pretty sure that once you’re there, between all the networking and the contacts you’ll make, and the ideas in the crucible, what you’ll ‘do with it’ will become abundantly clear.


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 10, 2010 11:35 am

      Thanks so much, Ela! I think you’re right—I ought to just go with the flow, enjoy the journey, and see where it takes me.

  15. October 10, 2010 1:11 pm

    Amber, love your writing style, so much fun to read! And how cool does your course sound- jealous!! There is nothing at all even close in London! I teach workshops here and want to start a school at some stage, will wait to read your feedback on 105D xxTanya

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 10, 2010 9:42 pm

      Tanya, thank you SO much! Writing is my greatest love besides food, so it’s really fulfilling to hear that people notice and enjoy my style 🙂

      That’s too bad you don’t have a comparable raw foods academy in the UK…perhaps you could start one someday! 😉

      • October 11, 2010 7:04 am

        I am so thinking about it!
        Had David Wolfe here in London this weekend too, even more inspiration.
        London (and all of England) is VERY behind on the Raw Food front, but the good news is I am right in the blooming stages of it, so many opportunities with little competition 🙂
        Have fun at the school!!

        • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
          October 11, 2010 9:08 am

          Glad to hear you’re front and center in bringing raw food awareness to England! 😀

  16. joeoom permalink
    October 11, 2010 10:54 am

    Hey Amber! This is Joy [we met at the Ani Phyo event] CONGRATS ON ENROLLING AT 105! i’ve extended my stay here and i’ll be working here until december 1st so i’ll be around while you’re taking level 1! so excited for you! see you soon 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 11, 2010 11:01 am

      Joy, it’s great to hear from you! I didn’t know you were working at 105 now—how cool that you’ll be there during my L1 course! Guess that means I’ll be seeing you soon 😀

  17. Mrs. K permalink
    October 12, 2010 6:18 am

    Amber, I finally got a chance to read all about your upcoming adventures and I’m so excited for you! What a great opportunity – and how perfect for you! I was telling my husband about it and we are both hoping you open a raw restaurant around here. He is all about raw food. I will look forward to your blogs from the 105 Degrees Academy. (You are still the best writer I know!) This is so exciting!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 12, 2010 11:02 am

      Thank you Mrs. K! A restaurant or café is certainly among the possibilities for when I come back. We’ll see where this path takes me!

  18. October 16, 2010 8:55 pm

    I read these posts the other day on my phone, but I’m coming back now to comment. I’m thrilled for you. Truly. If I can be motherly (big sisterly?) for a second, I’m proud of you for going after a dream. Especially before you get married and have kids. We wouldn’t change it, of course, but my husband and I both recognize we wish we would have figured out what we really wanted to do sooner (because now that we have our 3 our little blessings, we’ll have to wait until they get bigger for a few of our other dreams). We just didn’t know when we were 22, getting married. We had our degrees so we thought we were good to go! Anyway, I would absolutely love to do what you are doing right now, and I look forward to hearing all about it.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 18, 2010 9:42 am

      Jenny, thank you SO much. Your comment really invigorates and encourages me. I knew this was the time I had to go for it, because I do want a family someday, so it’s great to hear others agree that I’m doing the right thing now. So thank you 😀 Only 6 more days to go!…

  19. October 18, 2010 1:00 am

    Excited for you! Looking forward to living vicariously through you. I have toyed with the idea of going there…maybe someday!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 18, 2010 9:43 am

      Thank you!! I’m glad you’re looking forward to my posts about it. Who knows what the future holds, though—you may make it there yourself!

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