Pierre digs Chef Tal
I’ve got Peter Gabriel’s song “Big Time” stomping through my head. Here’s why: The all-vegan cookbook by Chef Tal Ronnen, Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes to Change the Way You Eat (which was released on October 6), is now number three on Amazon’s bestseller list and number two on Barnes & Noble’s.
I’m on my way, I’m making it: Big Time!
Chef Tal is beloved by many, but perhaps the most influential in the Tal Fanclub is Oprah Winfrey. (I’m not one to really care about celebrities, but even I admit she’s pretty big-time.) Conscious Cook was featured on her show yesterday. For those not in the know, Tal Ronnen was Oprah’s personal chef for her 21-day vegan ‘cleanse’. Check out today’s headline on her home page under the Food section–there’s a picture of Chef Tal and the headline: “Go vegetarian with recipes from The Conscious Cook.”
Chef Tal is a vegan evangelist through food. Aside from being a creative chef who rubs elbows with the highest echelons of celebrity, Ronnen serves as an adviser to college and corporate cafeterias on veganizing their menus and has worked with major gourmet vegan restaurants (read his official bio). He also helped in the development of the new vegan meat-replacer Gardein (check out SuperVegan’s reviews of Gardein).
In the book’s introduction, Quantum Wellness author Kathy Freston gushes: “It’s chefs like Tal who are leading the revolution in conscious cuisine; his exquisite, seasonal, and plant-based fare is simply some of the best food in the world.”
My sister-in-law (who is a head librarian for the New Haven Free Public Library) just brought the book home for us to test out some of the recipes on our half-carnivorous household. I pawed through and was surprised to see that the word vegan is all over the place (as opposed to the supposedly ‘safer’ word vegetarian)–it even has an opening chapter all about “being vegan.”
Conscious Cook is a beautiful gourmet cookbook with color photos accompanying each recipe. It is geared toward meat-eaters (Ronnen’s introduction screams “Welcome Meat-eaters!” and closes with: “I PROMISE, YOU WON’T MISS THE MEAT”–yes, all in caps) and cooks who prefer French gourmet cuisine (entrees centered around a meat-like substance). What’s cool about the book is that it features guest chefs, like Madeleine Bistro‘s Dave Anderson, and their own original menu and recipes, and interviews with vegan entrepreneurs, such as Follow Your Heart‘s Bob “Mayo Man” Goldberg.
It’s kinda cool to think that just maybe this could be a big step in veganism becoming even more mainstream and having some staying power–if Conscious Cook is number three on the Amazon bestseller list, is it delusional to assume that at least some people will try at least one or two recipes and even like them (before shelving the book for show)? One can only hope.
I’ve been vegan for 20 years, so it is mind-blowing to have a vegan book be such a bestseller, pimped by one of the most influential Americans on earth. I’ve adjusted Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” to:
Ve-gan: we’re on our way we’re making it. Vegan! We’re gonna watch it growing!
Forgive my goofiness. I think I’d better feed my brain. I’m gonna stroll over to the community garden, pick an armful of kale, and try making Chef Tal’s Braised Kale. (Here’s a taster of recipes from Chef Tal’s book.)