The Raw Glow Blog

Category — Vegan/Raw Food in the News

Top Chef Masters Features Vegan Cuisine

topcheffirstcourse
Picture Courtesy of Bravo

As someone who loves everything food, being primarily a dietary vegan for the last 7 and half years has not stopped me from enjoying the array of wonderful food T.V. shows out there. I think I’ve watched every Japanese Iron Chef ever filmed; my favorite episode was when a Japanese monastery chef won with a completely vegan menu! Only in Japan, I thought.

But last night my prayers were answered, my love of health promoting vegan cuisine was finally showcased on a cable network show called Top Chef Masters.

It was just the other day I was day dreaming about what would happen if one of the elimination challenges on Top Chef Masters were to ask five of the countries top chefs to prepare a completely vegan meal. Last night the beautiful actress/singer songwriter Zooey Deschanel  asked 5 chef’s including Rick Bayless, Art Smith, Anita Lo, Hubert Keller, and Michael Chiarello to create a completely vegan meal with no eggs, meat, or dairy, plus no gluten or soy! I really liked Zooey in Yes Man with Jim Carey, and now I like her even more!

What surprised me a little was the attitudes of most of the chefs when they found out they had to make a vegan meal. Most of them seemed shocked, afraid, and even frustrated. Chef Michael Chiarello commented that veganism is off putting because it’s all about saying no. I feel like for me, pure vegetarianism is about saying yes to healthy, vibrant, alive, varied, fresh, organic amazing food! It’s also about saying yes to energy, wellness, beauty, happiness, and longevity. I guess it’s just a different mind set, but I really do wish that more top chefs would wake up to the idea of vegetarian/vegan cuisine. One, you’d see a lot less overweight chefs (okay, that was a little stab) and I also believe it would help to introduce more people to the fact that health promoting fruits and vegetables can be prepared deliciously.

Despite their initial complaining, the dishes the chefs came up with looked great.

 Hubert  Keller did the first course: a white gazpacho of grapes, almond flour, cucumbers and vanilla oil, a timbale of asparagus and avocado, and a beet salad.

The gazapacho recipe could easily be modified to be a raw recipe.

Gael Greene, food critic, said that guests were bowled over by the first course. “The vegans seemed so surprised,” she said. “God knows what they get to eat.” I thought Gael’s comment was a little misguided. I thoroughly enjoy my food probably more so than most people I know. I think it’s a misconception that vegan’s are miserable and always thinking about what they “can’t” eat.  Truth is, I never envy other’s cuisine, I completely love love love being vegan. I also feel like what I eat now is so much more varied than before. I have discovered so many different fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, sprouts . . . that I had never even heard of before going vegan. Anyways I digress.

 Some of the other courses were:

Anita Lo made grilled spicy eggplant with lentil salad cashew sauce and crispy shallot.

Michael Chiarello made quinoa pasta which he topped with salsa verde, pine nut gremolata, and heirloom tomatoes.

Rick Bayless made fresh sweet corn tamales with chili-braised beans and glazed mushrooms.

Art Smith made strawberry-champagne soup with strawberry rice milk ice cream .

 For the complete list of vegan dishes and their recipes go here:*

 * On the website some of the recipes are no longer vegan, but on the show they were.

The winner was Michael Chiarello with his Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde, Gremolata and Tomatoes.

With a little creativity I bet this recipe could be converted to a raw recipe with zucchini noodles.

 The loser was the Strawberry Champagne Soup that was made with rice milk ice cream.

Even Zooey commented that coconut milk ice cream would’ve been a much better choice for the ice cream. (Any vegan worth their salt, knows that!) If only Art had known a few raw food dessert recipes he would have surely won! A luscious raw coconut crème pie or raw cashew cheesecake and everyone would’ve been singing his praises:)

 In the end, Zooey commented that the food was delicious and that she usually just eats a lot of raw vegetables. High raw perhaps? Thanks Zooey for the making of a wonderful episode of Top Chef, if only more food shows showcased vegan food! One can only dream . . .

♥,
C

August 6, 2009   5 Comments