In 2016, some of our finest food is by chefs who choose to make plants their focus. Whether you call that “vegetable-forward”, “plant-based cuisine” or just good food, the trend is undeniable.
Vegetables are now a limitless opportunity, not a restriction. Plant Gourmet is a podcast where I talk to the chefs at the forefront of this trend.
Movies like the LA food-love-affair City of Gold, remind us that food is about culture and culture is food — and in a fantastic and societal way we really are what we eat. So without great plant food — food that you can feel in your soul, and share with friends, and dream about, and geek out over — very few people are going to cut out meat. Our societies are too rich and varied and amazing for us to all bond over an amateurish salad.
So if you want people to eat more healthfully, if you want to reduce or eliminate factory farming and the burden of animal agriculture on our planet, it’s essential to show that plant food can and should be spectacular.
I’ve seen first-hand how people such as my parents, who were very set in a traditional diet, have opened up to plant-based eating. Yes, primarily because of the health benefits, but also because people like Daphne Cheng, or John Fraser, or even people in the mainstream like J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, do such a good job of showing how beautiful and tasty plant-based cooking can be.
I remember how powerful this can be, when recently sitting at the counter at Arata in Maine, watching two self-professed “protein lovers” come in for a drink, and Scott giving them a free plate of the tempura-style maitake mushrooms, which blew them away.
The Plant Gourmet podcast is about that. It’s about saying “now there are chefs who have the same high standards, the same level of training, the same passion as their traditional counterparts” - who are making plant-based food. It’s about celebrating the trend and giving new young chefs someone to look up to. That’s why I try to ask the chefs involved “How do you do that? What are the things you look for in young chefs? How do you push yourself to stay creative?”.
Follow along with me.