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We?ve experimented with lots of healthy food trends, with varying degrees of success. (Honestly, juice cleanses are no gourmet taste delight.) But now we?ve discovered a fine-dining spot that actually makes us excited about nutritious ?living food? cuisine--and teaches us how to prepare it ourselves.

M.A.K.E. is the new Santa Monica restaurant from cult chef-author Matthew Kenney, cofounder of New York City?s raw-food mecca Pure Food and Wine. M.A.K.E. follows tenets of raw foodism, which basically forbids heating foods above 105 degrees Fahrenheit lest they lose important digestive enzymes. Within this stricture, Kenney and head chef Scott Winegard (formerly of Copenhagen?s praised-to-the-skies Noma) turn out dishes in surprisingly appealing forms: spring salads ($10) accented with gherkins, gnocchi ($15) molded from red beets and cashews and brothy Korean naengmyun ($15) made with mushrooms, Asian pear and kelp noodles.

The restaurant adjoins the Matthew Kenney Culinary School, a shiny white lab where 16 students learn high-tech, raw-food techniques such as using a Pacojet (pureeing) and an Anti-Griddle (flash-freezing) as well as the sous-vide method (low-temp water-bath cooking). Weekend-long classes cost about $575, while a monthlong series runs you $5,000.

Raw foodists claim everything from glossier skin to disease cures--but they had us at the bright-tasting tomato lasagna with paper-thin zucchini noodles. 

M.A.K.E., 395 Santa Monica Pl., Ste. 333, Santa Monica; 310-394-7046 or

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