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5 minutes with: Raw Press’s Alessandra Felice

We spoke to nutritionist and private chef Alessandra Felice on plant-based cooking, overseeing Raw Press’s snacks and desserts, and her healthy eating tips

30 June 2022

As well as creating Raw Press's snack menu, Alessandra specialises in delicious smoothie bowls
Alessandra Felice
Alessandra's chocolate and fig smoothie bowl

From a young age, Alessandra Felice has understood the power of healthy eating in relation to wellbeing, and has travelled the world sharing her knowledge and delicious recipes. 

She is a BANT-registered nutritionist and contributor to some of the most popular Italian and British cooking publications. Now, she is kitchen manager and oversees the snacks and desserts at Chelsea’s much-loved café Raw Press

Here, Felice shares her inspirations and tips for finding the food that’s right for you.


Tell us about your journey to becoming a chef?

I’ve been passionate about cooking since I was a kid, when I watched my nonna making food in her kitchen. I loved the experience of preparing food, sharing it and seeing the reaction on people’s faces. So I decided to train at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, which is now part of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. 

After that, I did internships in restaurants and worked as a private chef for people with specific health conditions and dietary requirements, and then specialised in vegan pastry and plant-based cuisine. I want to make sure everyone can enjoy delicious meals and desserts and feel good afterwards, no matter the intolerances, allergies, medical conditions or ethical beliefs that a person may have.


What inspired you to go plant-based?

I’ve never particularly enjoyed eating meat or fish as I have always loved animals (I wanted to become a vet for quite some time).

Going through culinary school, I had to work with meat and fish from scratch, learning about preparing it, provenance, farming practices and the environmental impacts of food production. This shifted my perspective into a more plant-based way of eating. 

‘Inspire’ is a good word for me regarding plant-based eating because I never judge other people for their choices – I just try to inspire them to include more plant-based foods in their diet. It’s not about being perfect or 100% this or that, but about making a shift to eating more meals that we now know can have a positive effect on the environment and health benefits for us as well.


What do you enjoy most about your work?

Those moments where I am lost in the creative process and lose track of time because I am doing something that I truly love. And I really like seeing people enjoying what I do, especially when they tell me that it made them feel good, reminded them of something they used to eat when they were younger or brought back a happy memory.


What is your motto?

It’s something my nonno used to say: any difficulty or challenge that you find in front of you is there because, right now, it’s your own size so you can handle it. 


What has been a career highlight for you so far?

Seeing my articles and recipes published in some of the U.K. and U.S.’s best cooking and health magazines makes me feel really proud of the work I’ve done so far and the experience I’ve gained through the years.


Remember that you are unique, so find a way to eat, live and move that truly feels good.

Where do you start when creating new recipes?

It could be something I see, sometimes online, in a book or simply by being outside looking at different shapes and colours that spark an idea in my mind. Or tasting something that brings back a memory of a dish I tasted before, and then I’ll start recreating similar flavours using basic techniques and combinations of ingredients that I’ve learned go well together. 

It’s also great to be inspired by other food creators or chefs, but if I can give a little advice on that, it is to be inspired but always make it your own – don’t simply recreate what others have done.


You’re also a nutritional therapist – can you talk about the importance of nutrition in our overall wellbeing?

Nutrition is at the core of our wellbeing. And by nutrition, I don’t mean a specific ‘diet’, but the nutrients that come from the food we eat. They affect our mental and physical health, supporting the function and structure of our cells and various systems in the body. 

Maybe you’ve heard of the gut-brain axis – a bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centres of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Gut microorganisms (our intestinal flora) can activate the vagus nerve, and they play a critical role in mediating effects on our brain and behaviour so that the gut can send and receive signals to and from the brain. And the type of food and variety of nutrients that our gut bacteria obtain, absorb and process can have a huge positive effect on the brain and body functions.


What simple changes can people make to improve their nutrition?

First of all, remember that you are unique, so find a way to eat, live and move that truly feels good in your gut, in your body, and in your mind without being too affected by the latest food trends or ‘health-boosting’ diets you see online.

Have what I like to call a “daily dose of plant goodness”. This doesn’t mean only eating plants, but picking a different vegetable, grain, legume and fruit to add to your meals each week and experimenting with them in some recipes. We are creatures of habit – me included – but variety is what makes things interesting and what makes our little gut bacteria happy and healthy and, in return, improves our overall health. If you’d like, try and have one meal a day that is completely plant-based. 

Food prep is a game-changer. It makes having nutritious meals much easier. Find a couple of hours a week when you can batch cook some whole grains and legumes to have as the base for your dishes, and then have chopped greens or other veggies ready to mix in. Prep dressings or sauces using a base such as tahini or nut butter, mixing it with lemon or lime juice and a bit of water. Then add flavour with spices and dried or fresh herbs. I like basil and mint.


Can you share a recipe for one of your amazing smoothie bowls?

For a green one:

1½ cups plant milk in a blender (add more if needed)

Handful spinach/kale or other greens of choice

½ small avocado

1 medium banana

2 tbsp vanilla protein powder

1 tbsp soaked chia seeds

Pinch cinnamon and cardamom powder

Optional – spoonful of coconut yoghurt for extra creaminess


For a chocolatey one:

1 ½ cups plant milk in a blender (add more if needed)

½ cup cooked sweet potato/butternut squash

¼ cup oats or cooked porridge or half banana

1 heaped tbsp cacao powder

2 tbsp vanilla plant-based protein


Raw Press, 3 Ellis Street, SW1X 9AL
Follow Alessandra on Instagram or visit her website for more healthy living tips and recipes.

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