Remember way way back to last week, when the famous face of veganism, TV’s Ellen DeGeneres, mentioned, while interviewing Ellen Pompeo, that she gets eggs from her neighbors’ “happy chickens”? Well, who better to talk about Ellen, her diet, and veganism than Roberto Martin, her personal chef! Whether or not you subscribe to their beliefs, it’s wonderful of him to share his thoughts with us, dontchathink? Big thanks to Chef Martin for obliging our Qs with some As and especially for sharing his recipes for Chick’n and Mole Tamales and Black Beast Cake (with a crust!) from his cookbook, Vegan Cooking For Carnivores!
SuperVegan: How long have you been vegan and what’s the best change you’ve seen to the state of veganism since then?
Chef Roberto: Not long, three years. It’s hard to tell because I’m in the middle of it all but it seams that vegan food has exploded in last few years. It is being heavily represented in the best restaurants.
Were you a chef first or a vegan first?
Definitely a chef first! I hated cooking vegan food, I made fun of vegans and dreaded a vegetarian guest at the table. I was a successful personal chef for ten years when I was asked cook for Ellen and Portia. I took the job as a challenge to myself and I never dreamed I would start eating this way
How did you come to be Ellen & Portia’s chef? And do you get to eat the leftovers?
My agent Jack Lippman (Elizabeth Rose Agency) set up the interview and they hired me on the spot. Ellen, Portia, and I got along from the start. They were unhappy with the food they were eating at the time. They are all about the animals. There were a lot of non-vegan foods that they enjoyed in the past but their love for all living things made it impossible for them to go back. They wanted GOOD FOOD that was incidentally vegan and that became my approach.
The Vegan Police were all abuzz about Ellen’s comment on her show the other day about getting eggs from her neighbors’ “happy chickens.” I’m hoping that maybe it was just a one lettered mistake and that she meant ‘got’ instead of ‘get’, as in, past tense– especially seeing as they have you! Can you comment on her comment? Do they, in fact eat eggs? And if so, where do you stand on that?