Ann Gentry appeared on the Today Show this morning. Jane and I were really looking forward to this segment. We were incredibly excited to have a vegan representative on such a mainstream television program. But after watching our recording of the program, we were terribly disappointed with the whole thing. The segment was only three minutes long, the hosts were chatting over each other... it felt more like a group of high school girls talking about their diets rather than a healthy eating segment on a nationally respected program.
Ms. Gentry is the founder of Real Food Daily (an excellent vegan restaurant with two locations here in Los Angeles which has also sparked a wonderful cookbook: Real Food Daily Cookbook). She is also the Executive Chef of Vegetarian Times magazine, and host of the cooking show “Naturally Delicious.” Knowing her credentials, and having eaten at RFD and cooked some of her recipes at home, we had high expectations for this segment. And we can't say that Ms. Gentry didn't try. She appeared calm and tried to keep things on track. But the Today Show people were busy eating things, asking questions about how to clean the portobello mushroom (which took 26 seconds - almost a 6th of the entire time slot), and greeting each other, all over the audio. Very disappointing.
Most disappointing of all however, was that the recipe Ms. Gentry chose to showcase. Instead of offering a vegan preparation, she chose a recipe that required, as a garnish, parmesean cheese. She did mention that people who are lactose intolerant or "hard-core vegans" could use a dairy-free cheese. Once again, making the vegan choice appear to be a sacrifice, rather than a valid, healthy eating regimen. I would have expected her to prepare an easy, delicious vegan recipe, since the fare at her restaurant is vegan, as are the recipes in the RFD cookbook (even though both the restaurant and cookbook purport to be vegetarian). I guess her choice was based on the fact that "vegetarian" is probably a tough enough sell to most people.
In case you didn't catch it... here's the video. You can be disappointed too! (BTW, this is the segment in it's entirety.
Apparently, Ms. Gentry had four recipes lined up for her segment this morning, but didn't even get to finish the first recipe. Here's a link to the article, and recipes as they appear on the Vegetarian Times website.