I am Italian and I have been raised with the cult of eating well. When I was a kid every Sunday my mom used to cook a great meal while me and my dad were busy looking for the best pastries for dessert. My father has always been obsessed with fine dining and gourmet cuisine; that’s why it has always been normal to me, since I was 3, to enjoy amazing restaurant meals.
When I decided to cut meat and fish in my early seventeen, because animal suffering was really unacceptable to me, I never had problems to find great food wherever I was. The Mediterranean Diet has its foundation on vegetarian ingredients such as vegetables, olive oil, cereals and legumes. That’s why in Italy you can eat vegetarian everywhere.
But it is when I decided to become a vegan, almost 7 years ago now, that the fear to lose that feeling of enjoying amazing food started worrying me. I consider eating well in an elegant environment as one of the greatest experience in life. How could you renounce something you love that much? I have been lucky enough to discover on my own skin that a gourmet vegan cuisine is possible and it is such a great combination of values to be even better. Now a dish it’s not just a dish. It is a concentrate of nature, compassion, love and intelligence. It has not be cooked just because it has always been cooked that way. It has been cooked because there is a thought behind it. There is the will of discovering a new ingredients order.
It has not always been so easy of course. Many people in the restaurant business tried to ride the ‘Vegan wave’ offering low key food with no culture and nutrients knowledge. Just a huge ignorant mess of ingredients. No balance, no colors, no sensitivity, no competences.
The fact that a dish is plant based doesn’t necessarily mean that is good. It has been realized with no animals ingredients, which is a plus, but it may be not healthy and not even good.
The vegetable world is so rich that combinations are limitless. And believe me when I say that you can understand at the very first glance if a Chef had fun in cooking a dish or not. You can realize almost immediately if he or she is considering a challenge to cook something different from usual or just a waste of time and an obstacle to the daily routine. Many chefs want to stay in their own confort zone without even taking a look outside. But many others are discovering the pleasure of the plant based cuisine and are accepting the challenge.
Surprisingly they can realize magnificent vegan tasting menu. From the amuse-bouche to the dessert an outstanding path of taste, fun and beauty prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients cooked in a colorful and tasty plant based version. You can feel the love of these Chefs for the vegetable ingredients and the real food.
That’s why a Gourmet Vegan Cuisine is possibile, because it’s not just food but it’s a journey through compassionate food surrounded by beauty and hope for a more respectful world.
Photo credit: Eleven Madison Park – NY