Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Elizabeth’s Gone Raw

Photograph by Foster Wiley

There is such a thing as art on a plate. With a few ingredients, a white ceramic dish becomes a canvas; transformed into an explosion of colors, shapes and textures. Reminiscent of the Fauvism movement, only a century later and this time motivated by flavor composition rather than artistic rebellion. These vivid strokes are raw, real, fresh, and they create a dining experience at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw that is truly unforgettable.

I first heard about Elizabeth’s Gone Raw in passing conversations, and it remained quite mysterious, under the radar. Much like the raw movement itself, you have to look for it to really understand it. But I was intrigued- new dining experiences, especially those that challenge my heavy cheese and pork norm, are worth exploring. While my curiosity was balanced with apprehension, it was lost the minute I walked into Elizabeth’s space. I knew I was in for something very special… almost as special as the woman behind it all.

Elizabeth Petty is one of those people that really add to the make-up of DC. Not because of fame or political clout, but because of her kind manner and generosity. She welcomes you into her restaurant and makes you feel like you are in her home. Her warmth and spirit are instantly apparent, and contagious. I was fortunate enough to work closely with Elizabeth through The Catering Company of Washington, the company she purchased 23 years ago. In those 23 years, she has taken the catering company, and the very concept of curated dining experiences, to the next level.

Ten years ago Elizabeth purchased a beautiful row house on L Street, which currently houses both the restaurant and the catering company. An unfortunate circumstance however, was what brought about the raw and vegan focused restaurant. Three years ago, Elizabeth was diagnosed with breast cancer; a sickness that changed her but has not defined her. As a result of her diagnosis, Elizabeth began to master the subject through various readings. Crazy Sexy Cancer by Kris Carr inspired her the most and led her to eat raw-vegan. The China Study, another comprehensive reading that examines the relationship between illness and the consumption of animal products, also explains the powerful influence a food regimen can have on health. As Elizabeth has explained to me, there is a direct relationship between what and how foods are prepared and the way in which they can manifest into illness in our bodies. How sustenance can actually become bad substance. Raw foods are always kept below 115 degrees, past this temperature they no longer contain the nutritious enzymes which define them as “living foods” – meaning those foods that have oxygen. Cancer, it has been found, cannot grow in an oxygenated environment. I do not intend to dumb down a comprehensive study or to fully understand centuries of research and summarize them in a short post, but for all intents and purposes. Raw= health. Raw= healing.

Continue reading