Andreea is Romanian and arrived in Macau nine years ago, where she discovered her passion for cooking (especially baking) and preparing raw cakes. This led her to explore ways of teaching and sharing with others how to prepare healthy and fun dishes with the freshest of ingredients. Now, she has teamed up with some of the heavyweights in Macau’s healthy living community for more exciting projects!
Where does this interest in cooking come from?
When I arrived in Macau, I didn’t know anyone and as a very active person, I started cooking while I was waiting for my husband to come home. I then discovered that I really liked cooking so I took a course in Romania. I never really wanted to cook or be a chef in a restaurant but more for my family and me. I started to be more interested in baking. I think desserts are a very important part of our life. My friends really encouraged me as they said that my desserts were very tasty. So I took again different courses in Hong Kong, especially in cake design as I noticed people in Macau really like well-decorated cakes. It seems that this comes before the taste but I reassure you my cakes are not only beautiful they are also very tasty. This is how I opened my first business Macau Sweet Ideas.
What inspired you to start “Rawlicious”?
2 years ago, I went back home for a holiday, a friend of mine who is very healthy asked me to try a raw vegan cake that really looked nice and I couldn’t believe that it was a vegan cake as it looked so good. I tried it and I think this was the moment I really changed my mind about desserts.
I learned that you can make different, healthy, nice desserts and they can still look great without using those ingredients that you usually put in a baked cake. You can help people that have a lot of allergies to eat desserts. I found that in Macau, many children have allergies and mums really like to order cakes from me.
This is how I came back to Macau with new ideas about desserts; I dug a bit more for information on raw food/desserts. Then, I went to Bali for a two-week intensive raw food course and decided to launch Rawlicious. Why Rawlicious? Because they are raw and delicious.
Have you always been into health food?
No! After I had a baby, my body completely changed so I thought it was time to do something for that. I started to exercise, to eat healthier and to take care of myself and my family. I can’t say that I am a strict raw vegan person but the right balance that works for me is 50% raw, so raw breakfast, and a raw side salad with regular lunch/dinner. I really feel good about that as I start my morning with only fruits or a smoothie. It gives me energy.
What advice do you give to people who are interested in your raw lifestyle?
I want them to see raw like a healthy lifestyle, not like a fashion everybody is talking about.
I think if you become raw, your body will change not only from inside but also from outside. It will take time of course, but be patient. Don’t do it just because you want to lose weight but because you really believe in it. Before starting, read a lot about raw food, have a health check with a doctor, start slow with a vegetarian step first, then vegan and end with raw. It’s not easy but if you are really convinced you will be able to do it.
Where in Macau can people find ingredients for a raw/ vegan life?
There are a few shops that provide some ingredients but not a real vegan place, vegetarian.
Blissful Carrot and Chakra Space are good alternatives and of course Rawlicious. I deliver raw cake boxes every Friday for the ones who order during the week. I am planning besides the raw cakes a raw food menu for my customers and soon I will provide a raw cake that will be available only at Blissful Carrot. I discovered that in Macau there are more and more vegan people, especially young ones. They are strict vegan which means they don’t even eat honey. Maybe in the future, I will open a raw vegan restaurant, who knows?
What do you say to people who complain that eating this way just takes too much time?
Sure, you must have time for this. When you start, you think it’s easy so you prepare a salad, then again a salad but raw is not only limited to salads you can make soup, burgers, spaghetti. And if you start to do it slowly, you will discover that you can eat a lot of different products. You must have a blender, a food processor, a dehydrator and be ready to invest in good appliances because they will be part of your daily life.
Can you tell us about your current project?
I am so happy with my new project, I have been working on it for more than a month now and it will be in collaboration with ManaVida. After coming back from Bali, this project started to grow in my head, I shared it with Cintia and she was very enthusiastic about it.
Our project name is RawVida , raw for Rawlicious and vida for ManaVida. Rawvida will be the first full-day wellness raw food and fitness retreat in Macau on November 19. That means 12 hours of raw food, exercise, lecture time, and how to prepare raw vegan lunch and dinner. Blissful Carrot will be our guest; they will provide refreshments as well as healthy and raw breakfast. We will provide goodie bags full of awesome gifts for each participant.
We organized that day, not to prepare people to be vegan; we just want to explain to people that it’s not very hard to have a healthy life. We are not here to push people to start tomorrow. We just want people to realize that they can start doing something for themselves and learn handy skills about a healthy life.
It will be a first in Macau and we are very proud to offer it to people who live here.
For more information on the food retreat planned by Rawlicious and Mana Vida, check out their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/events
Rawlicious berawlicious.com, +853 6338 8328
The Blissful Carrot 79 Rua Direita Carlos Eugenio, Taipa Village, +853 6298 8433, www.facebook.com/blissfulcarrot
ManaVida +853 6652 0872, www.facebook.com/manavidateam
Chakra Space GF-A, Kai Va Building, 12 Travessa dos Santos, Macau, +853 6677 8669, www.facebook.com/octaspace1
Photos by Script of Memories