Chef Showcase Biographies

Cherie Soria

Founder and director of Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, Cherie Soria is known as the "Mother of Gourmet Raw Cuisine." Cherie has taught students and world-famous chefs and instructors from around the world more than 17 years. Cherie is also the author of three books, including Angel Foods: Healthy Recipes for Heavenly Bodies and The Raw Food Revolution Diet: Feast, Lose Weight, Gain Energy, Feel Younger (coauthored by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina).


Brian James Lucas (Chef BeLive)

Chef BeLive is one of the pioneers of the 90's gourmet raw food movement. He was Executive Chef and co-owner of Organica: the Living Cuisine restaurant, located in San Francisco, CA. Chef BeLive received the Number One Favorite Gourmet Raw Chef Award in Best of Raw 2010. He considers himself a "transitional" gourmet raw chef, specializing in creating raw living cuisine that tastes superb. His unique style has ensured his place in the pantheon of raw chefs. He is one of the featured chefs in Carol Alt's new book, The Raw 50. Website:


Vinnette Thompson

A classically trained chef, Vinnette earned a culinary arts degree from the Culinary Institute of America and is also a graduate of the Living Light Culinary Institute, where she teaches Pastry Arts - Unbaked!™ A chef for over 25 years, Vinnette has two culinary passions, vegetarian cuisine and culinary education. She has been Executive Chef of the Raw Food Underground, and teaches culinary arts for the Palm Beach school district in Florida.


Martine Lussier

Martine Lussier is Culinary Programs Manager and full-time instructor at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. She is a certified Professional Raw Food Chef™ at Living Light, and she is passionate about nutrition and culinary arts. Martine is an active sportswoman who knows the value of raw vegan foods for health and vitality. She loves developing new recipes and teaching others how to prepare health promoting foods for themselves and their families.


Karin Dina

Dr. Karin Dina, D.C. became interested in nutrition in 1988 and has been studying and practicing raw food nutrition since 1990. She is a doctor of chiropractic with an honors educational background in both naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University and biology. She maintained a private practice in chiropractic and nutrition consulting and is the co-creator and instructor of the Science of Raw Food Nutrition series of classes at the Living Light Culinary Institute with her husband, Dr. Rick Dina, D.C.


Judita Wignall

Associate Chef and Instructor Judita Wignall is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is passionate about raw foods and nutrition and is author of a new recipe book, Going Raw. Due to health issues, Judita reassessed her diet and lifestyle, and fell in love with raw foods. As a model, actress, and musician, she credits raw foods for helping her reach an incredible state of health, and keep her weight down, energy up, and skin clear.


Alicia Ojeda

Alicia Ojeda is a classically trained professional chef whose passion for gourmet raw vegan cuisine is leading her to a transformation at both the personal and professional level. She has worked as Chef Manager at Sony Music, Executive Chef at DreamWorks Studio, Executive Chef at Living Light Culinary Institute, R&D/Production Coordinator for Roxanne’s Fine Cuisine, and as Executive Chef at Beets Café in Austin. Alicia is currently partnering with Dr. Doug Graham to put his Simply Delicious cuisine prominently on the raw culinary map. Websites: and


Stephanie Raya

Stephanie Raya, aka, "Chef Steph" is the resident chef at Excalibur Dehydrators. For over 12 years she has tested and developed thousands of dehydrated recipes that have been featured in many books, magazines, and articles. Not only is she a expert in dehydration, she is a raw food chef that graduated from Living Light Culinary Institute. Her passion lies in creating healthy kid friendly recipes and educating families on how to live a healthy lifestyle.


Colleen Cackowski

Chef Colleen has been a raw foodist since 1996. Specializing in new recipe development, Colleen currently works as a featured Pastry Chef at Euphoria Loves Rawvolution in Santa Monica, and also as a consultant to Erewhon Natural Foods in Los Angeles where she launched and manages the company’s own line of packaged raw food products under the Erewhon brand. Colleen was a winner of several raw cacao contests and works part-time at the world-renowned Tonic Bar in LA. For more information, visit


Tina Jo Stephens

Tina Jo Stephens is a highly respected gourmet raw vegan chef with a down-to-earth approach to raw vegan cuisine. Both Tina Jo and her TV show Splendor in the Raw have won numerous awards in the Best of Raw competitions in 2009 and 2010. Her life's mission is to have fun bringing delicious, simple, affordable raw vegan food to the mainstream. Tina Jo has also created a haven for rescued animals, including Promise Land Horse Haven at her ranch in Baja, California.


Amy Bacheller

Amy Bacheller, M.Ed, NC, CMT., has almost 20 years of experience in alternative health modalities which make up her Scent From Heaven holistic healing practice. Amy is certified in aromatherapy, nutritional counseling, guided imagery, bodywork, energetic healing and raw foods. She is certified as a gourmet raw food chef/instructor from Living Light.


Cristina Archila

The NEW Hot Raw Chef, Cristina Archila, is a graduate of Ringling School of Art & Design, Living Light Culinary Institute,and Matthew Kenney Academy. She has studied Raw Food Nutrition, Instruction, & Preparation with reputable chefs: Cherie Soria, Jennifer Cornbleet, Matthew Kenney, and Russell James. She is the co-author of Snog Healthy Treats Cookbook. Her clients include Snog, (a London based international frozen treat shop, voted as one of Britain’s CoolBrands 2010/2011), Discovery Channel, and Whole Foods Market. Through her company RAW FOOD ARTIST, Cristina offers chef services and classes. Her mission is to inspire people to eat healthier foods. She is a native of Bogota, Colombia and lives in Los Angeles.