Show 194, October 22, 2016: Tal Ronnen, Chef/Proprietor, Crossroads, Los Angeles

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenTal 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.

In the cookbook Chef Tal reveals his sophisticated and satisfying new approach in 100 Mediterranean-inspired recipes that are an indispensable resource for mindful eaters. “This is the first vegan cookbook with recipes you’ll want to serve at a dinner party.”

Reinventing plant-based eating is what Tal Ronnen is all about. At his Los Angeles restaurant, Crossroads, the menu is vegan, but there are no soybeans or bland seitan to be found. He and his executive chef, Scot Jones, turn seasonal vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains into sophisticated Mediterranean fare—think warm bowls of tomato-sauced pappardelle, plates of spicy carrot salad, and crunchy flatbreads piled high with roasted vegetables.

In Crossroads, an IACP Cookbook Award finalist, Ronnen teaches readers to make his recipes and proves that the flavors we crave are easily replicated in dishes made without animal products. With accessible, unfussy recipes, Crossroads takes plant-based eating firmly out of the realm of hippie health food and into a cuisine that fits perfectly with today’s modern palate.

The recipes are photographed in sumptuous detail, and with more than 100 of them for weeknight dinners, snacks and appetizers, special occasion meals, desserts, and more, this book is an indispensable resource for healthy, mindful eaters everywhere.

We’ll meet Chef Tal Ronnen.

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Show 194, October 22, 2016: Tal Ronnen, Chef/Proprietor, Crossroads, Los Angeles Continues…

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenTal 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.

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Show 36, July 20, 2013: Celebrity Chef and Cookbook Author, Tal Ronnen

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenWe first met Chef Tal Ronnen on the show last month. He refreshingly creates tasty plant-based fare without a heavy political agenda. His newest restaurant is the fine-dining Crossroads in West Hollywood. He’s also the author of the New York Times’-bestseller, The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.

A few years back casino mogul Steve Wynn brought Tal in to Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas to create vegetarian items for all his restaurants. Tal discussed that highly unusual experience and what it was like to work with incredibly demanding celebrity chefs who were responsible for overseeing those signature restaurants.

Crossroads has just added lunch service on weekdays. The specialty is European-style sandwiches built around Chef Tal’s just-introduced line of Kite Hill vegan cheese. Also available at the counter are marinara and Bolognese sauce and Ronnen’s Kite Hill cheeses.

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June 22: Sotto, Cochon 555, Tal Ronnen

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Brady Lowe, creator of the Cochon 555 National Tour
Segment Five: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part One
Segment Six: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part Two

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownThis past week Chef Jet has been part of an influential food conference along with a number of standout food luminaries at UMass Amherst in Massachusetts. Jet will give us some of the highlights.

Producer Andy will preview one of the biggest ethnic food festivals happening this weekend in Orange County.

We’ll also answer some e-mail inquiries.

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of SottoSotto on Pico Blvd. in West Los Angeles just East of Century City is the dream restaurant of American chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack who are both obsessed (in the best possible way) with all things Italy. Samson is the skilled executive chef and Pollack is the gifted pizzaiolo, and the food represents the fare of Southern Italy.

Steve Samson is known to Angelenos as one of the respected executive chefs in the rich history of Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino in Santa Monica. In early 2009 Samson and Pollack created the well-received Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa’s performing arts district near South Coast Plaza for David Myers.

Brady Lowe of Cochon 555We’ve been following the Cochon 555 national tour since their stop in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 5th at House of Blues in West Hollywood. Our own Chef Jet Tila headed one of the five competing teams creating dishes from a whole heritage pig. Each culinary team provided tastes for the 400 attendees who were then part of the final judging.

The ten regional winners met at the Aspen Food & Wine Festival last Sunday for the final showdown, The Grand Cochon. Among the finalists was Chef Ray Garcia of Fig in Santa Monica, the supreme porker from the Los Angeles competition.

Cochon founder, Brady Lowe, based in Atlanta, joins us with the final report of this year’s results.

Tal Ronnen of Crossroads KitchenTal Ronnen is the go-to vegan chef cooking in the United States. He opened his first Los Angeles area restaurant, Crossroads, back in March. It’s at the corner of Melrose and Sweetzer Avenue in West Hollywood. The food is fine-dining vegan with Mediterranean-style small plates in a highly designed space.

“I just can’t do the throw some vegetables and a starch on a plate thing,” Ronen once said in a Los Angeles Times profile. “That’s the problem with most vegan dishes. It’s a Portobello mushroom cap, or pasta primavera, and when you’re finished with dinner you have to hit the drive-through. You have to give people something that will satisfy them”

Chef Ronnen also contributed to the original menu for LYFE Kitchen which launched earlier in the year in Culver City.

His reputation is such that in early 2011 when very particular casino resort mogul Steve Wynn wanted to add vegan dishes to all of his acclaimed restaurants at both Wynn Las Vegas and Encore the plum assignment went to Chef Ronnen.

Podcasts

Segment One: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy
Segment Two: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part One
Segment Three: Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto in Los Angeles Part Two
Segment Four: Brady Lowe, creator of the Cochon 555 National Tour
Segment Five: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part One
Segment Six: Chef Tal Ronnen of Crossroads in West Hollywood Part Two