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Amanda Cohen Continues Her Campaign to Make Vegans Hate Her

ewwww, cheese

No, really. There’s more than this to vegetarian cuisine.

Remember when Dirt Candy chef Amanda Cohen made an ass of herself by mocking vegans in an attempt to make herself look cool in the eyes of meat eaters? (She was excoriated in Huffington Post‘s accurately titled “How Not to Market a Vegetarian Restaurant.”)

Well, she’s back, now in Time Out New York, still repeating the same old line about the “pallid” flavors of other veg restaurants while raving about her favorite fancy cheeses.

According to TONY, “much of [NYC’s] vegetarian contingent has remained static (think brown rice and flaccid steamed vegetables).” Really, now? I wouldn’t touch brown rice and steamed vegetables with a ten foot pole, and I seem to be doing just fine; how many of the top vegetarian restaurants in NYC have these people been to recently?

Ms. Cohen proudly reveals her own ignorance: she “doesn’t go to vegetarian restaurants,” but thinks Kate’s Joint is awesome. Uh, yeah. Pretty obvious that she doesn’t go to vegetarian restaurants if that’s the best she can come up with!

Was this article written twenty years ago? It even manages to dig out the old “One thing often lacking in a vegetarian diet is protein” cliche!

Try harder, Time Out New York.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    I haven’t liked her since I read on her website the page about why she’s not a vegetarian. Plus, I don’t like the idea of so much dairy being around my food. LOL “One thing often lacking in a vegetarian diet is protein”, time for reform! I don’t think there anyone who still believes that.

  2. Comment by


    on #

    I’ve been a vegan forever and I couldn’t agree more with Cohen – most places to eat vegan in NYC are pretty bad. I gave up on Angelica’s years ago, and Counter is awful. The only places that I go anymore are the Indian places (a few near me don’t use ghee or they tell you when they do) or Chinese vegetarian or I cook at home.

    Just a thought – I’ve read a few vegans threatening Cohen’s life, calling her names, and writing profanity-laced posts because they don’t like her opinions and I was just wondering: when did we all decide we have to think the same? Probably one reason I’ve checked out of the vegan community in NYC: it’s become nasty, judgmental and insists that everyone think the same thoughts and hate the same things and people. I’ll continue to do my part for the planet in my own way, but I think everyone should examine themselves and their over-reaction to a young woman who happens to think that vegan dining options in NYC are no good and who has put her money where her mouth is by providing an alternative.

    Haven’t been to Dirt Candy yet (hard to break the habit of rarely eating out) but posts like this make me want to get over there immediately.

  3. Comment by


    on #

    Saving money, reducing environmental pollution and promoting health are all good reasons for eliminating meat and dairy from the diet. Most people are motivated by health, although many of us are motivated by reducing suffering in the world. A recent report by the UN entitled “Livestock’s Long Shadow” says that livestock production contributes more to global warming than all forms of transportation combined.

    Apparently Cohen has none of these concerns about the world in which she lives.

    The scientific information about the benefits of a vegan diet and the hazards of a meat and dairy diet are well known in the medical and scientific community.

    The American Dietetic Association says at their website:

    “Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits…and [vegetarians] have been reported to have lower body mass indices…as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.”

    Dr. Frank Oski, former director of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University said, “There is no reason to drink cow’s milk at any time in your life. It was designed for calves, it was not designed for humans, and we should all stop drinking it today, this afternoon.”

    Dr. Spock agreed, saying, “[T]here was a time when cow’s milk was considered very desirable. But research, along with clinical experience, has forced doctors and nutritionists to rethink this recommendation.”

    Finally, The World Health Organization says that
    “western nations that consume a lot of meat/dairy have the highest levels of osteoporosis, which is caused by eating a lot of animal protein” and they publish a lengthy report laying bare the common myths about the benefits of dairy:

  4. Comment by


    on #

    Check out this great cover photo (and article called Boss Hogg) in Rolling Stone! This says it all!

  5. Comment by


    on #

    This woman sounds like an idiot. I loved the article on huffington about how to drive away vegetarians/vegans. She’s doing a great job. I will never ever eat at her place. Not only because she douses foods with cream and cheese, but because of her obnoxious attitude. You don’t need to put other people down to bring yourself up. Isn’t that a lesson you’re supposed to learn in grade school?

    My fav restaurants in NYC: Candle Cafe, Pure Food and Wine – that is, when my wallet can afford them. And I’m sorry, neither of them taste like dirt. Maybe the veg restaurants recognized her and fed her the scraps just because they didn’t like her:) That would be pretty darn funny.

  6. Comment by


    on #

    I am really disappointed in this gossipy and judgmental post from Supervegan! What is this, high school?

    We should all be supportive of veg businesses even if our politics aren’t all exactly the same. Do you eat at Indian vegetarian restaurants? Ital joints? 7th Day Adventist? Hare Krishna spots? We aren’t all on the same page with why we are veg, but we do have one thing in common and that should be shared and celebrated, especially through food.

    I also can’t agree with Amanda more: I am continuously disappointed with eating out in New York at veg restaurants-except for Dirt Candy and Candle 79. Both crank out quality, delicious, innovative veg food. While I wish Dirt Candy was vegan-I also wish the rest of the world was too.

    It is our responsibility to support other veg business in the community and introduce our non-veg friends and family to food that is delicious and satisfying. Making personal attacks against someone you probably haven’t personally met because their politics aren’t exactly like yours is ridiculous and shameful.

    We should all welcome an innovative, veg, food/chef driven restaurant into our city, like Dirt Candy. Its my first choice for a special date night with my husband and I can’t wait to go again. I have also brought non-veg co-workers to Dirt Candy who said they would go back and it exceeded their expectations.

    Dirt Candy fills a big gap in this city: a veg foodie restaurant. I am tired of hearing about places like Momofuku and other trendy little spots that serve pork belly and whatever crap carni people go nuts for. Dirt Candy pulls off many innovative palate pleasers and makes me feel satisfied that we as veg folks have our own little trendy high-end spot to call our own.

  7. Comment by


    on #

    Hmmm…. I’m not sure she’s doing such a bad thing. At first, I’m annoyed. And I certainly won’t be going there. But I’m NOT the average person. The techniques that work to market to me are NOT what works on the average person.

    I kind of think this might actually be effective at getting mainstreamers and anti-veg*ns on board with eating less meat. Just a thought.

  8. Comment by


    on #

    This has nothing to do with her “politics” or her “marketing strategy”. All she is doing is being insulting and arrogant and turning off people to her restaurant. In all honesty, for someone who claims to not care about the politics of a restaurant, she seems to be going out of her way to have people talking more about just that and less about the food. Of course, she has the right to do that, after all, it is her place.

    I, for one, was really looking forward to eating there, but have since changed my mind. No politics involved, I just dont appreciate a place that is run by a person who is that oblivious to customer service. Making someone feel good about their restaurant experience doesnt begin and end at the front door of the place.

  9. Comment by


    on #

    I am so confused. Am I missing some coverage on this chef? Is there a link to an article that isn’t posted? Why are we all so angry? Where exactly does she mock vegans? I just don’t see it. I think her food sounds interesting but I don’t want to support her if she hates people like me. Can anyone help me out here? As far as I can tell she doesn’t like other vegan restaurants–that doesn’t seem so bad.

  10. Comment by


    on #

    I am a meat eater with several veggie and vegan friends. I haven’t been to Dirt Candy yet, however I had the opposite opinion from reading the hit piece on Huffington Post — I want to go there! My friends and I are making plans to.

    For me, the appeal is that she is focusing on making unique veggie dishes instead of faux-meat dishes. Most of the Veggie restaurants I have been to have menu full of things such as Taco Salads, BBQ Ribs, and Meatball subs. However, 95% of those dishes don’t compare to the real thing. The dishes I prefer are the delicious vegetable/fruit dishes which are woefully lacking in New York City.

    Though its a bit pricey, I’m looking forward to trying it out.

  11. Comment by

    Laura Leslie

    on #

    Iggles, you’re the perfectly example of what I’m annoyed about: Amanda Cohen ridiculing vegans to suck up to meat-eaters.

    the appeal is that she is focusing on making unique veggie dishes instead of faux-meat dishes

    Have you been to Angelica Kitchen? Candle 79? Blossom? Plenty of such restaurants already exist, and they don’t need cheese and butter to succeed.

  12. Comment by


    on #

    Sorry Tomato, Ms. Cohen IS using the whole political stance in turning on other restuarants and vegans. Quote by you: “We should all be supportive of veg businesses even if our politics aren’t all exactly the same” Politics is exactly where Ms. Cohen is attacking veg restuarants and vegans. How can anyone listen to this vegetarian say a vegan diet lacks in protein and not scream “HYPOCRITE”-that is exactly what anti-veg people say about vegetarian diets because of the diet’s absence of meat, no matter how much cheese, eggs or even fish it includes! She is only turning that faulty attack around on vegans. And yes, she is attacking other veg restaurants by saying they are flavorless, uneducated in the art of cooking, are all vegan{which they are not}(even if they were all vegan-as if vegan was a bad thing-don’t get me started!)and use far too many meat analogues; by the way, her favourite veg restaurant (wich uses a great deal of meat analogues and is mostly vegan) is the only other good restaurant besides her own-HYPOCRITE! She is even saying that she dislikes all vegetarian restaurants in one breath and that she has a favourite one in the next breath-Does she have multiple personality disorder? Is she so uneducated herself that she just says things even though she doesn?t know what the heck she is talking about? So, NO! THIS POST IS NOT BEING UNFAIR AND JUDGEMENTAL towards this person-I’d say she is the one being unfair and VICIOUS towards other vegetarian restaurants and vegans-Indeed! She is misleading the public in their views on such matters and is trying to make herself look better than others based on greater society’s ignorance while shamelessly playing “Uncle Tom”. In agreement with this post’s topic: People’s negative misperceptions on meat free lifestyles will never change if people continue to behave like Amanda Cohen-so in the end- we are ALL screwed!

  13. Comment by


    on #

    Short and sweet. I ate at Dirt Candy last month and it was horrible. Not only that, but it was obscenely expensive. The two never being a good pair.

  14. Comment by


    on #

    This “woman” – Amanda Cohen – should sit down and shut up! Has anyone else noticed that the people who set back the cause of animal rights are always women? All those tramps in wearing their fur coats made of carcasses of our slaughtered animal friends? Most of the editorial staff at food magazines are made up of so-called “women” and they are the ones who encourage the constant mocking of our lifestyle and pro-meat, anti-vegetarian agenda.

    The person who wrote the article about AMANDA COHEN in Time Out New York is a woman, and the websites that interview her are run by women. Christine Jackson, the new head of the EPA, is a woman and she will continue the EPA’s anti-animal policies like the slaughter of wolves and wild horses. The previous head of the EPA who allowed the rape of this country’s natural resources a woman: CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN.

    So many “environmental” and “energy” positions in the Obama administration are women and they will continue this government’s war against those of us who are animal rights revolutionaries and vegan crusaders who love our planet.


    Isn’t it funny that we call her Mother Earth but that the people who rape and destroy her are all “women.” If the less equipped to do battle would sit back and provide support and encouragement the way they are supposed too and stand back and let the men lead the charge the way it’s supposed to be then WE WOULD HAVE SAVED OUR PLANET ALREADY!!!!

    To fight a war you need warriors…not traitors.

    (And to all the women who support PETA and animal rights movement and their loved ones who fight for the environment you know who you are and you know this is not directed at you. You are real women. These other people are false “women” fake traitors who shame their sex.)

  15. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    SuperVeganFan, you sexist loser clown, please pick a new name. I’m embarrassed to be even tangentially associated with such vile nonsense.

  16. Comment by


    on #

    Amanda Cohen’s comments were a bit awkward and ignorant. That said, who doesn’t say something stupid now and then, especially when you are trying to convey something that’s hard to say. I think what she meant was that she’s a kick ass chef who is all about the vegatables regardless of what you eat and that everyone should check out her restaurant.

    As a vegan, its great to see anyone stepping up and making vegan food more accessible. Sure she could do wonders without all the animal fat, but she’s willing to accomodate vegans and her web site is vegan friendly enough.

    I am going to try Dirt Candy.

  17. Comment by

    Melissa Bastian

    on #

    I just read both of Amanda Cohen’s interviews, and I now believe that I understand what’s going on. There are several facets.

    1) She is either not very bright or is a terrible, terrible speaker. Some people just get extremely nervous when being interviewed, and maybe she’s one of those. But it cannot be denied that she said some things, particularly in the interview, that cannot be forgiven. Specifically, when the interviewer said that “vegetarian restaurants are always terrible”, she responded with the following:

    “Always! They?re horrible. Horrible! And you know why? Because they don?t have real cooks. The people who cook there have no culinary background; with this kind of food, you really have to know how to cook.”

    Really? I mean really? First of all, has this girl eaten at every vegetarian restaurant EVER? Second, has she collected the resumes and CVs of the members of each of their kitchens? Third, you can have all the opinions you want girlie, but don’t go badmouthing your fellow business owners and chefs IN PRINT. Bad form in a big way.

    2) She is not a vegetarian (eats fish), obviously hates vegan food, doesn’t understand why vegans are vegan, and has little to no intention of providing food for us. As she told Gothamist, “…they?re vegan. And that?s not the way I like to eat. I like cheese and dairy.” Clear enough to me.

    3) Her restaurant is for vegetarians and omnis, not for vegans. From the interview, “You know, we definitely use cream, we use butter in the [portobello mousse] dish. So it’s like ‘Ooh! I?m eating something that?s so dense and heavy and fattening but it?s so good.’ And that?s not something you get in a lot of vegetarian [read: vegan] food, particularly because they don?t use dairy.” Uh, ok, sure. Apparently Miss Cohen has never heard of a mysterious substance called avocado?

    Since she openly states that she thinks all of her best dishes are those made with dairy and eggs, why would I go to this restaurant? Particularly when there are, I dunno, a gajillion restaurants within a stone’s throw from her place that have awesome food for me, why in the world would I give this woman my money?

    Simply put, I won’t.

  18. Comment by

    Daisy Paradis

    on #

    After I read all the comments, I went back and read her interview. Big deal. Why is everyone frothing at the mouth? So she makes some criticism, so what? And no one said you should eat this type of food every day anyway.

    You don’t seem to realize that journalists want their interviews to be exciting and controversial, and an interviewee wants to give them what they want–not some bland pablum about how great all the other restaurants are. The interviews are also often edited to keep the spicy parts in and the explications out.

    Anyway, Dirt Candy is very good, and they will make you a vegan version. When I want simple food I either make it at home or go someplace else. Good Lord, get a grip!