Veggie-Centric Celebrity Chefs
Chefs John Fraser, Jose Andres, Quinn Hatfield, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, and Bill Telepan. What do these masters of culinary art have in common? They are not vegetarians, but they have decided to feature veggies rather than meat in their fine restaurants.
Why? Because according to Mario Batali, a huge hunk of meat is boring both to cook and to eat. He says: "I've always been the kind of guy who, after four bites of a big steak, I'm tired of it." In his new cookbook, Molto Gusto, he argues for the use of meat as a condiment to complement veggies and starch, so meat of any kind is cut into small pieces in pastas, pizzas, rice dishes, and vegetables.
Mario Batali is not alone in his sentiment that veggies are both more interesting to cook and more delicious to eat. According to Jose Andres, "I love meat, but it's boring....brussels sprouts, white asparagus, a clementine, a pineapple, a good peach, the flavor in the mouth, the smell, it's unbeatable, ...It's more interesting than any meat."
Batali's restaurant practice of Meatless Mondays has been so well received that it's evident that his customers aren't putting up a fight against his decisions of making meat less prominent in his menus.
In fact, his veggie-centric practice is so successful that in September this year, he will open his 16th restaurant, in New York City, which will be a strictly vegetarian eatery.
Even chefs who run steakhouses are reducing the portion of meat and introducing delectable veggie appetizers. A case in point is Wolgang Puck's Cut; his steakhouses serve steaks in 8oz portions rather than the typical 14oz portion. And when he and his wife eat at his reataurant, they split the 8oz steak. Look at it this way, it's not a form of self-deprivation but a way of enjoying a more varied diet made up of delectably seasoned and seasonal veggie sides.Continued on the next page