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Vegan cuisine is getting haute

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Forget just being labelled hipster, veganism is a full blown fine dining trend.

Robb Reports writes about the popularity of vegan fine dining for more than just the cool kids. No longer plates of bland tofu relegated to picket sign waivers activists, cooking without animal products is considered a legit cuisine, not unlike Japanese, Mexican, or microwaved dinners.

With only 3 percent of Americans living a vegan lifestyle, this author is excited to highlight that many of the vegan restaurants popping up are taking on a fine dining quality. So what’s to blame for the switch from salad bars? In this perspective, it’s a variable stew of investigative videos, new information regarding health ramifications, and celebrity. But if factory farm exposes, carcinogen warnings, and Beyonce were enough to make people go to vegan restaurants, it should be enough for them to go vegan.

So the real driving force behind the new found fame? According to Richard Landau, chef and owner of Philadelphia’s Vedge, it’s big name chefs taking their fruit and veg seriously. “I’d say the biggest push for vegan was when Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, and José Andrés started taking it seriously,” Landau told Robb Reports. “Those are three huge names supporting this style of cooking.” 

So while braising, brining, and deconstructing used to be for meat fiends only, demand for better vegan eats has invited chefs to get funkier with their produce, grains, and legumes. “Some people think cooking vegan is easy—here, here’s your salad,” Landau continued. “But that’s not cooking. That’s why a lot of vegan food was so uninspiring. Everything at Vedge goes through six or seven processes before it hits the plate. There are a lot more talented chefs cooking vegetarian or vegan now. But we still need more.”

But for non-vegans like Landau, great cooking techniques that were once applied to meats can find new applications. Something this author says helps everyone because, “After all, three meals of meat a day is a decent way to get acquainted with a defibrillator.” We’re in the future, people.

So vegans, pinkies up…there’s always boxed vegan mac n’ cheese for later.

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