• Cooking with Celebrity Chef Tal Ronnen

    April 20, 2010

    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 β€œThe 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 β€œChick’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.

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    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! πŸ˜‰



    When I got home from the event, I whipped up a quick smoothie.

    In the mix:

    Now, I’m off to my sister’s house for puppy playtime and dinner.

    See ya later! 😎

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    { 47 comments… read them below or add one }

    Freya @ Brit Chick Runs April 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    How exciting! I’m dying to learn more about vegan cooking, and veganism in general – I find it so fascinating. You are one lucky woman!


    Lynn (The Actors Diet) April 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    i love nutritional yeast – i like it better than parm cheese in pasta, actually!


    Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin April 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Wow that is so cool! Things like nutritional yeast flakes freak me out a little still, but I just tried protein powder for the first time today, so baby steps. What an awesome experience though! I’d love to go to a workshop like that.


    Shawna @ Balancing Me April 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Wow, lucky duck! That looks like a great workshop.

    I have some nutritional yeast in the pantry. Maybe I should dig it out?


    Jessica @ How Sweet April 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    What an amazing experience!

    I love nutritional yeast – you would love it, too! It’s cheesy and nutty!


    Jen April 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Nutritional yeast is awesome!!! i could be vegan in a second, and have tried it out on multiple occasions, but i love greek yogurt!!!


    Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Wow what a cool opportunity!


    Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] April 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    What a fun way to spend the afternoon! I wish I had the time and money to take cooking classes. One thing…how is ricotta vegan? πŸ™‚


    Amanda@lessonsinmoderation April 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Looks like a great event. Could you (or have you) go vegetarian or even vegan for a period of time? What are your thoughts on being a part-time vegetarian. Personally, I’m not a big meat eater so I’m sure there have been weeks that have gone by without me eating meat, but it wasn’t a conscious decision.


    shannon (the daily balance) April 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    what a great experience! Talk about motivation for cooking!

    have fun on your puppy playdate πŸ˜‰


    Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman April 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Sounds like fun! What were his thoughts on the health benefits of nutritional yeast flakes?


    Heather (Heather's Dish) April 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    you’ll have to post some stuff about the nutritional yeast! i’d love to see how easy it would be to use in your recipes!


    Tina April 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    @Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]: It was a vegetarian workshop.


    allison @ livingoneday April 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    i have yet to try nutritional yeast! must get on that. you are very lucky to be invited to all of these great events! thanks so much for sharing


    Erica April 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    TINA! I love love love Tal! You must make his asparagus soup – it is the best! Both Josh and I love it


    Beth April 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    What a fun workshop! Look forward to seeing some cashew cream experimentation on your blog πŸ™‚

    Just wondering: are you doing a Lose the Dough check-in today?


    Tina April 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    @Amanda@lessonsinmoderation: In general, I don’t eat much meat, but I don’t think I will ever go vegetarian or vegan.


    Tina April 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    @Beth: Friday.


    Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I am beyond jealous of you right now!


    Carrie (Love Healthy Living) April 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Cool! I just rented Tal’s book from the library (took forever because so many people had requested it). I have to say I was a little disappointed mainly because the meals looked more complicated than the kinds of things I usually make. I’m not vegan but I was hoping to find some vegan recipes to add to my collection. Sadly, I returned the book in a matter of days without trying any of them. I bet the cooking demo was awesome, though.


    Meghan@traveleatlove April 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    What an awesome opportunity! Part of me wants to go to culinary school, but I don’t really want to be a professional chef!


    RhodeyGirl April 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I don’t even have time to read your whole post but I just saw your smoothie and now I must have one.


    Jenna April 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    How fun!! Question- Where can I find those reusable straws you are always using for your delicious smoothies?


    Amelia April 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    How cool! Those dishes sound incredible – especially the tortellini! πŸ™‚


    Tina April 20, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    @Jenna: Check my FAQs! πŸ™‚


    Anna@ Newlywed, Newly Veg April 20, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I love him!!! I have his cookbook, and it’s full of some SERIOUSLY impressive vegan dishes. I’m jealous!


    Therese April 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve only used nutritional yeast once but I keep meaning to get back to the bulk store and stock up! It’s soooo useful!


    Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly April 20, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    What a great experience!!


    ashleigh April 20, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I just started using nutritional yeast, it is soooo good!!


    Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter April 20, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    That sounds like a great experience!

    I loooove nutritional yeast! I’m buying some popcorn, just so I can sprinkle it on some πŸ™‚


    Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ April 20, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    That looks like you got a lot of good info. I’m going to check out that link on the nutritional yeast flakes.


    Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life April 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    That smoothie looks sinfully delicious! πŸ˜›


    Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) April 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    What a fun event — both educational AND interesting.


    Jenna April 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Oops! Thanks Tina!


    FitFoodie Natalie April 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Artichoke Ricotta Tortellini!! I would be in heaven. That smoothie looks SO creamy, I want one πŸ™‚


    Danielle (Coffee Run) April 20, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    It sounds like an awesome event! Nutritionall yeast (or nooch as I like to call it) is so underrated!

    Oprah did a “vegan cleanse?” ..*sigh*


    BroccoliHut April 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I recently reviewed Tal Ronnen’s The Conscious Cook, and I really enjoyed all the recipes! They’re all so innovative, plus the book introduced me to the wonders of Gardein:)


    eatdrinkandbemerrynyc April 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Ahhh! Now all I want is coffee w/cashew cream in it…it sounds AMAZING!


    Lisa (bakebikeblog) April 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    ooooh what a fun experience!!!!!


    Erica April 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    That’s awesome, I love him! I’ve made the cashew cream a few times, super easy!


    Courtney April 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Wow! Sounds like a great experience!


    Nicole April 20, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Wow…what a great experience!!! I loved his book but and would have loved to be able to watch and learn how to make some of the recipes.


    kate April 20, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    What a cool event! Love everyones hats!


    Cynthia (It All Changes) April 20, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    That is the coolest experience I think you’ve had yet! I love how he described them.


    Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) April 20, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Wow, I bet that was a lot of fun!!! Have a great time with your sister…I wish mine were close enough to have dinner with!


    Nicole, MS, RD, LD April 20, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    What an amazing experience! Have fun with puppy time!


    Hannah April 21, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Oh wow, those meals sounds heavenly! I’ll have to see if his book is available in Australia. But first, I desperately need to get myself a strong blender. I want your smoothie,a dn yoru frozen banana and almond joy ice creams!! πŸ˜€


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