World Chefs: Vegan chef wows with meatless meals

Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:06am EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For chef Chloe Coscarelli preparing vegan meals is more about being creative and adding variety with new ingredients and flavors than simply not using animal products in her recipes.

Coscarelli, who stopped eating meat while still a child, is a classically trained chef who shot to fame after winning the U.S. cooking TV competition "Cupcake Wars" in 2010, after impressing the judges with a variety of vegan cupcakes.

In her first cookbook "Chloe's Kitchen" the 24-year-old California-based chef dishes up 125 recipes and proves that vegan food can be exciting, delicious and creative, as well as healthy.

Q: What made you decide to become a vegan chef?

A: "My love for animals inspired me to choose a vegan way of eating and cooking. But once I went to college I just decided I wanted to intern in a restaurant and learn more creative ways to prepare vegan food because a lot of the old-fashioned notions are that it is dry or bland or boring. It was my mission to break those stereotypes and find delicious creative ways of eating vegan."

Q: How do you dispel the belief that a vegan diet is bland?

A: "For me as a chef, flavor is the most important thing. It is not so much about taking away ingredients and making this a restrictive diet, but instead opening it up to more creative possibilities and adding more flavors and relying on a more varied array of produce and vegetables and spices and herbs. And it is really making sure that no flavor is sacrificed when you are taking out the animal fat."

Q: How difficult is it to cook without butter and milk and cheese?   Continued...