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I realize that I know a number of people who have turned their passion into a way of working and living that they love. My first interview is with Deb Durrant who I met when we were manning a stand at a Careers Expo in Bahrain, about 6 years ago (25,000 school children over three days J). Deb was working as a consultant with a friend of mine who was unable to join me, so Deb came instead. She worked with Arts Council England, Crafts Council and a number of other arts organisations in the Arts world.

In these interviews I want to give you a flavour of what it is like, both good and bad, to turn a dream into a reality. I have been a witness to Deb’s journey over the intervening years through her Facebook posts. It has been an education in resilience, commitment and unswerving focus. Total respect for her achievements.

Deb Durrant is a UK based Qualified Chef in Advanced Raw and Living Cuisine. She trained with Matthew Kenney, California.

Job Title: Food writer/chef
Company: Deliciously Raw
Photos by Dawn Langley

Photo by Dawn Langley

Strawberry and pansy tart – click for recipe.

What is your passion?
Creating and making delicious raw and minimally processed plant based food.

When did you discover this?
Initially, raw food in 2006 during a Tony Robbins programme then I danced with it for years before really understanding what was possible – I thought it was about eating chopped cucumber and spinach.

How did you discover this?
I have always been a massive foodie, but also interested in healthy food. I had always told myself that I was too much of a foodie to eat healthy food such as raw plant based food, but then I changed my mindset in 2011. Thought, ok, well if I love food – how about I put all this energy that I put into making cooked food into making delicious healthy raw food, what would happen? I did, and something inside me was unleashed.

What is your purpose?
To help people create delicious plant based food that is energy giving and life affirming. I have a raw food culinary academy (both hands-on and online).  Details here.

Chefs

How do you know that this is your purpose?
I feel like something is propelling me forward. Pulling me. It feels like everything in my life has brought be to this point.

How does it feel to have combined your passion with your purpose?
Find something you love and you never do another days work in your life. I never feel like I’m working – even after the last 3 weeks of 18 hour days. Tired yes, but so tired I don’t want to do it? Never.

What does it feel like to do what you love?
I looked at some ads for jobs as I still get arts professional and occasionally I get sent briefs. I look at them and they leave me cold.

I know its nuts but I love everything about it, from ordering stock to cleaning the fridge to working out a menu for a pop up event to teaching and making the food. I’m not talking about loving my job here – I’ve loved jobs before, this is about doing what I love everyday. It feels different somehow. I sometimes wonder if everyone found passion in the day to day, would everything get done in the world? I suspect it would as people love different things.

Headlines of your journey so far

Challenges
Earning a living continues to be a challenge but the first three years are tough without question. Living on credit cards, loans and you need to tighten your belt but you need a good cashflow forecast and clear business plan.

The investment in the equipment for my cookery school was huge and coming from an arts background, I didn’t have a lot of money to invest. So I bought things bit by bit – whenever I had £30 – I would think, ‘that’s a new food processor for a workstation or £5 – a set of measuring cups’. It soon builds up – I haven’t spent any money on myself for years, it’s all gone on building Deliciously Raw.

When I started out, let’s just say that I discovered I was providing a lot of inspiration to some people. It hurt at first to be copied so much but after a while it didn’t bother me – it just spurred me on to be better so whatever anyone took, it wouldn’t matter.

Joy
So much.
I loved going back to culinary school and having that freedom to create menus.
Moving into my first culinary studio at Harts Barn.
Getting a pacojet and all the other equipment I needed.
Creating new recipes and menus.
Teaching.
Creating a range of raw chocolate bars with Mayhawk and getting into Vogue.
My food photoshoot days with Dawn Langley (photographer, my friend of 18 years and another CASS graduate). We have so much fun playing with food – she is unleashing her passion for photography too and it shows.

Never again moments
Everything I’ve done has helped to get me to this point so I have no regrets. I wish I’d understood technology more beforehand as I’ve probably spent more than I needed to on that side of things.

What do you want to be known for? Even famous for?
Making delicious raw food that’s a bit different to salad.

What keeps you motivated and on track?
There is so much that I need to do, I don’t have time not to do it! Not being motivated isn’t an option – if I’m tired, I’ll take a day off.

Advice for other people who want to combine passion and purpose.
Trust yourself but seek advice.
Be clear in what you want to achieve but be open to new opportunities.
Pay it forward: be generous.
Don’t worry if people try to copy your ideas, it means that you are on the right track. Other people can never be you. YOU are your greatest asset.

Wishing you could have a career you’re as passionate about as Deb is about hers?  Join us for our June or July Eyes Wide Opened weekend course and take the first (giant) step towards finding your passion and purpose.

Image from Purple Clover.

Image from Purple Clover.

-Written by Jill-

One thought on “Life through Fresh Eyes – Raw Food Chef Deb Durrant’s Story

  1. I met Deb at a food festival and through my passion of food blogging lottielovesfood.com I was so inspired by her start-up story, and interested in what raw actually was, that I signed up for her monthly boxes and a weekend course. Deb has inspired me by following her passion and, despite the many ups and downs, she’s part of the reason I found the courage to change my career.

    I’m just starting out as a copywriting and social media freelancer, and half of my focus will be on small, healthy food businesses. I’ve met so many great people through writing my blog, I decided that now was the right time to combine my passion for food, while supporting the businesses I genuinely care about. It’s a risk wondering when the next job will come in, but I hope falling back on agency work (whatever the topic) will be enough to keep me going. Thanks Deb, for being part of my journey!

    Like

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