Hey Gordon, I am writing in response the veg restaurant Piccolo Treato in Paris that you 'helped'. What a disaster - before AND after!
As a vegan, and a foodie, and a TV Producer, a lifestyle expert, and a self-taught Chef - I have to say, you have no clue when it comes to veg cuisine! One sentence: THERE IS MORE TO VEG CUISINE THAN CHEESE. If I wanted to drown in mucus, pus, and feces - I'd go back to being an EMT.
That being said, I truly wonder if you'd be able to prepare an amazing vegan meal that could compare to Candle 79, Blossom, or Pure Food & Wine in New York, or Madeleine Bistro in LA, or Millennium In San Francisco. I am a total food snob, and I'm not afraid to tell you that your veg food skills are less than impressive. The number of vegetarians and vegans is exploding - growing immensely every year as people realize it's the most sustainable, healthy diet. But we eat more than lettuce, and we are some of the most difficult to please! Just last night I dined on cultured and aged cashew-cheese, marinated, pumpkin seed-crusted seitan over fluffy, basil pesto potatoes and organic steamed spinach with black truffle oil. It was amazing. Have you ever made seitan before? If not, you have a lot to learn!
Times are changing. A generation of 'conscientious hedonism' is quickly replacing the old-school separation between pleasure and ethics. Now we can have our cake and eat it too - and it's a damn good vegan cake. "Humane" meats and other luxury animal products are a complete marketing scam. There is simply not enough land to both satisfy America's meat-appetite and keep up with any humane standards. Do the math. All humane meat does is make those who can afford it feel a little less guilty. Livestock production is an ecological disaster, and according to the recent United Nation FAO report "Livestock's Long Shadow", animal-based food production is more devastating to the environment than the ENTIRE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR. Chew on that. Even if you don't give a crap about cows being tortured, or gestation crates, or de-beaking - at least wake up to the selfish reality that our gluttonous ways are literally causing an environmental nightmare that will effect you directly.
I encourage you to come to New York and do something with the chefs who REALLY know how to please the vegans. Come to Candle 79 or any of the fine veg restaurants and prepare a meal for some vegan foodies or celebrities and see if you can pass that test. I challenge you...
Sincerely, Joshua Katcher
The Discerning Brute www.thediscerningbrute.wordpress.com
While I love your spirit, energy, feisty mouth, and attitude... I've got to give you a horrible thumbs down for the way you handled the veg restaurant in Paris. Though the girl owner was obviously a serious twit trust fund brat (having grown up with them I can smell them a mile away) -- but you just aren't a particularly good veg chef, and shoulda done a little research first. Instead of cockily assuming since you can cook dead, diseased baby animals well - that you could could cook an amazing meal for veggies. I would have been miserable on your menu -- all cheese. Blech! As a serious gourmand, foodie VEGAN (yes, the two CAN co-exist) raised all over the world -- I challenge you to a dinner at one of the highly Zagat's rated NYC gourmet vegan restaurants that float my boat; Candle 79, Hangwai, Pure Food and Wine, Counter, and Blossom are all great examples of how gourmet veg food should be done -- without boob milk (aka milk, cheese, butter). You think there aren't many veggies - but guess what -- there are! In the United States, an 2003 Harris Poll found that 10% of the American population is now pure vegetarian (no cheese, eggs, honey, meat, etc).
Do you think those are really numbers and a demographic you should COMPLETELY ignore? Not to mention celebrities like Natalie Portman, Forest Whitaker, Clint Eastwood, Pamela Anderson, Paul McCartney, Woody Harrelson, Dustin Hoffman, Emily Deschanel, Daryl Hannah, -- all veg --... what are you going to make for them when they come into your restaurant? I can assure you that they won't want cheese on toast, or cheese on pasta, or a quiche laden with embryos (aka eggs)...
I highly recomend you take a quick thumb through Vegonomicon - a hit cookbook available anywhere: http://www.theppk.com/nomicon.html to see what it is we actually eat. If you are going to be cooking for the world on tv -- keep the rest of us mind as well. I run a newsletter for 30,000 girls, and am the fashion correspondent for a radio show that has 500,000 morning listeners, so you can trust I'm not some extremist lunatic with time on her hands to write random letters... I was just inflamed enough by the show to jot you a note, and hope it may actually get to you.
Why veg, you may ask? Ingesting a tortured, brutally slaughtered creature with a will to live in your bod is a karmic nightmare -- not to mention health disaster (us veggies have an 85% less risk of cancer -- chew on that!). I know you promote "humane" meats - unfortunately there is no governmental cap on that overall - so it's basically crap at the end of the day. You are still devouring fat, pus, anti-biotics, feces, and skin of another with your meal (when its simply not necessary to survive!). When it comes down to it - it's plain wrong.
Obviously you've never had good gourmet vegan food - so I second my "challenge" to a vegan dinner when your travels next bring you to NYC.
Peace and veggies,
Chloé Jo Berman Girlie Girl Army Your Glamazon Guide to Living Sign up: www.chloejo.com <http://www.chloejo.com/>