Tal Ronnen, a classically trained chef and New York Times bestselling cookbook author, is redefining the concept of contemporary vegan cooking by concentrating on what makes food enjoyable in the first place. His new cookbook, Crossroads – Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine, is inspired by his cooking at his stylish Los Angeles restaurant of the same name.
As Ronnen writes in the book’s introduction, “As a lover of food, what I really crave is the smoky paprika and fat in chorizo, not the pork itself; the smoky char of grilled steak, not the actual beef. The challenge in vegan cooking lies in not cheapening the food by making it feel like it’s a knockoff of itself or a shadow of the original, but rather in making vegetables shine in their own right while still satisfying those cravings. By refocusing in what makes food rich and pleasurable to begin with, I realized I could create plant-based dishes that appeal to everyone, not just vegans.”
We also chat about the Impossible Burger served at lunch. It looks, handles, smells, cooks and tastes like ground beef from cows but it’s made entirely from plants and has a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals.