World Chefs: Fearnley-Whittingstall stirs veggie excitement

Tue Aug 6, 2013 11:24am EDT
 
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says vegetables shouldn't get second billing to meat and fish and plays up their versatility, flavors and health benefits in his book, "River Cottage Veg."

The American edition of the British best-selling cookbook is full of vegetarian and vegan recipes for salads, soups and entrees that he promises will satisfy any meat-eater's palate.

The 48-year-old celebrity chef spoke to Reuters about his passion for vegetables and the secret of how to make children eat more vegetables.

Q: Why did you write this book?

A: As a younger chef, I was more gung-ho about meat and wrote very passionately about meat. If we eat a little less of it, then we could concentrate on the quality of it and take an approach to make sure we don't waste any of it. It's a very precious food.

One of the ways we value eating meat is to eat more vegetables. Then we will have a daily cooking vernacular that makes meat and fish extra special when we wheel them out. Of course, many of these dishes go great as a serving besides meat. But they don't have to be the also-rans. They could have equal billing. They could have top billing or have sole billing.

Q: So people should eat more vegetables regardless whether or not they are vegetarians?

A: We know it's good for our health. It's not only good for us. It's good for the planet. We just have to make vegetables just delicious. We can't wag our fingers and stand on our soap box. We just have to make them lovely to eat. With the farmers market movement and farm-to-table restaurants, there is a certain amount of trickle down ... We just need to make them really accessible to the home cooks as well. Eating good fish, eating good meats, that's great, but we have to get people as excited, if not more excited, about vegetables. They should underpin all our cooking.   Continued...

 
British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall holds a bruschetta with fava beans and asparagus in this undated handout photograph reprinted with permission from his book "River Cottage Veg"and provided by Ten Speed Press. Fearnley-Whittingstall says vegetables shouldn't get second billing to meat and fish and plays up their versatility, flavors and health benefits in his book. REUTERS/Simon Wheeler/Handout via Reuters