Below are excerpts from a vegan article from the NY Times that I thought you might like, Veganism has been edging into the mainstream for years now, coaxed along by superstar believers like Bill Clinton and Beyoncé. But lately, as plant-based eating has blossomed and gained followers, influential vegans are laboring to supplant its dowdy, […]
Below are excerpts from a vegan article from the NY Times that I thought you might like,
Veganism has been edging into the mainstream for years now, coaxed along by superstar believers like Bill Clinton and Beyoncé. But lately, as plant-based eating has blossomed and gained followers, influential vegans are laboring to supplant its dowdy, spartan image with a new look: glamorous, prosperous, sexy and epidermally beaming with health.
The evidence is bountiful — at restaurants on both coasts and in cookbooks, on blogs and throughout social media. “Being a vegan has crossed over into fashion territory,” said Kerry Diamond, the editor of Yahoo Food and the editorial director of Cherry Bombe magazine. Decades back “there was nothing chic about it,” she said. “Now it’s become a thing.”
Mr. Roll, who also wrote the best-selling “Finding Ultra,” about his midlife search for truth and health while switching to a vegan diet and pushing himself to compete in grueling athletic challenges, acknowledges that the dreamy visuals in “The Plantpower Way” are meant to give vegan living a more vogue-ish spin.
“It was a very conscious effort to kind of counterprogram,” he said. “Our whole idea was to present this lifestyle in an aspirational and modern way. We want to present it in a way that looks appealing, as opposed to deprivation-oriented.” Or as Ms. Piatt described it, “There’s no body odor coming off the pages.”
People have adopted veganism for virtuous reasons, but vanity plays an undeniable role as well. It’s not uncommon to hear vegans mooning over “the glow,” an irresistible incandescence that starts to emanate from within after a few weeks or months of eating only plants. (To cite one example: “The Oh She Glows Cookbook.”)
Vegan cooking itself has gone through a stark transformation, and so has the way it is sold: In some coastal pockets, at least, stern sermons have been replaced by the seductive allure of la dolce vita. Nonvegans are welcomed, not shunned. “The message has changed,” said Kathy Freston, an author and vegan proponent. “And we have moved away from that old dogma.”
“That’s still what people think of when they think of vegan food,” said the musician Moby, 50, who has been a vegan for 28 years. But lately he has been immersed in the writing of chefs like Thomas Keller and Alice Waters as he gears up for the November opening of Little Pine, a vegan restaurant he is opening in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Moby wants it to be, he said, “a wonderful restaurant even when judged by conventional standards.”
Vegan glam is on full display at Crossroads, a restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, where this month servers grandly hauled to tables a gleaming “seafood tower” that looked like something Orson Welles would order at an Old Hollywood nightclub. Instead of lobster, it had lobster mushrooms; in place of calamari, sustainably harvested hearts of palm. And was that oysters Rockefeller? No, it was an artichoke leaf cradling a shiitake mushroom that had been poached in olive oil and covered with spinach and bread crumbs.
And nonvegans, in turn, seem less likely to be dismissive. Chad Sarno, a 39-year-old chef and culinary educator in Austin, Tex., remembers a time when you’d step into a restaurant and “you would say the vegan word and the chef would look at you like you had three heads and just got off the commune.” Now, with influential nonvegan chefs like David Kinch and Alain Passard rhapsodizing about the glory of vegetables, the dialogue has shifted. “Plants are so sexy,” Mr. Sarno said.
A few decades back it would have been hard to conceive of Avant Garden, which opened days ago in the East Village, with the chef Andrew D’Ambrosi in the kitchen whipping up dishes like potato cannelloni with pine-nut ricotta, arugula pesto and eggplant.
“I just want to do a really nice, upscale vegan restaurant that breaks the mold of what people think vegan restaurants are,” said Ravi DeRossi, the owner of Avant Garden and the entrepreneur behind New York spots like Bergen Hill and Amor y Amargo.
In New York, diners can easily opt to go fully vegan at Superiority Burger, Dimes and the Butcher’s Daughter. There is a steady line out the door during lunchtime at By Chloe, where the chef Chloe Coscarelli, at 27 already the author of several cookbooks, stresses that her veggie burgers and quinoa taco salads will not leave diners hungrily chomping on their own knuckles. “I want to be normal,” she said, and By Chloe’s alluring and clever presence on Instagram suggests that it has no intention of sulking in the margins.
“We didn’t want it to scream vegan, we wanted it to scream food and fun and delicious,” Ms. Coscarelli said. “Why do we have to make it a downer to be in here?”
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