This afternoon, I was invited to a cooking workshop with celebrity chef Tal Ronnen at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Cambridge, MA.
About Chef Tal
Chef Tal Ronnen is one of the most celebrated vegan chefs working today.
In the spring of 2008, he became known nationwide as the chef who prepared vegan meals for Oprah Winfrey’s 21-day vegan cleanse. He has since catapulted to fame, catering Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s vegan wedding, Arianna Huffington’s party at the Democratic National Convention, and the first vegan dinner at the U.S. Senate
In October 2009, Chef Tal released his new cookbook, the conscious cook; it is the first full color vegan cookbook to be published in North America. He appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on October 22, 2009 and made the New York Times Best Seller List. Additionally, epicurious.com and VegNews Magazine named the conscious cook a Top Cookbook in 2009.
A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, Chef Tal has worked at the top vegan restaurants in the United States, including Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, Madeleine Bistro in Los Angeles, and Candle 79 in New York City. He also assisted Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders in opening her restaurant, VegiTerranean in Akron, Ohio, in 2007.
Additionally, Chef Tal conducts master vegetarian workshops for students and staff at Le Cordon Bleu College campuses nationwide.
At the workshop, Chef Ronnen discussed the benefits of cooking and eating plant-based foods and prepared three recipes from his new cookbook, the conscious cook:
- Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples
- Artichoke Ricotta Tortellini with Saffron Cream Sauce
- Gardein “Chick’n” Scaloppini with Shiitake Sake Sauce, Braised Pea Shoots, and Crispy Udon Noodle Cakes
He also talked about various plant-based proteins for vegetarian menu options and grouped them into three main categories:
- Traditional Soy Foods (tofu and tempeh)
- Whole Grains and Legumes
- Meat Analogs (alternatives to chicken, pork, and beef products)
Chef Ronnen explained that the biggest challenge to vegan cooking is finding appropriate protein substitutes. He doesn’t change his approach to cooking, but instead finds it fun to develop a vegan dish that no one else has ever created.
I enjoyed everything about Chef Ronnen’s cooking demonstration, but really liked learning about the health benefits of nutritional yeast flakes (I want to buy some now!) and watching Chef Ronnen make his own Cashew Cream in a VitaMix.
Making the Cashew Cream was so simple. I may just have to try this recipe myself. I bet Cashew Cream would taste delicious in iced coffee!
When I got home from the event, I whipped up a quick smoothie.
In the mix:
- Frozen banana
- Chocolate protein powder
- French chocolate oatmeal
- Spirulina powder
- Vanilla soy milk
Now, I’m off to my sister’s house for puppy playtime and dinner.
See ya later!