by Linda Long
Vegan cookbook review
Most vegans are good cooks out of necessity. Eating out in a non-vegan restaurant can be difficult, so for good, meatless food, it’s usually easier to just make it yourself. But I’ve found that chefs at gourmet restaurants can usually come up with something pretty great if I call at least a day ahead of time. They seem to enjoy the challenge, and I nearly always enjoy their creations.
Linda Long, author of Great Chefs Cook Vegan, had the same idea, but took it a lot further by asking 25 famous chefs to create three- to four-course vegan meals. She combined their biographies, recipes, and cooking and plating tips with her photos to make a visually stunning, inspirational book.
Unsurprisingly, if you’ve ever seen true chefs at work, making fantastic elaborate meals – with or without animal products – takes a lot of work. The recipes in Great Chefs Cook Vegan can be daunting, but the results are well worth the effort. Imagine serving stuffed squash blossoms with mint and fava bean purée at your next dinner party, and maybe some chocolate cake with molten chocolate truffle center for dessert. Or how about sharing cauliflower steaks, garlic tortillas, or watermelon-tomato salad with your sweetie?
So far I’ve tried two recipes, and while they were both delicious, they had problems. The "tofu salmon" tastes nothing like salmon, so if you’re looking for a vegan fish replacement, this is not the recipe. But it is very good, so I renamed it red pepper tofu. The pastrami tofu was fantastic, but only after I tweaked the recipe a bit.
This is not a cookbook for someone who just likes to dabble in the kitchen, or whose recipe box includes nothing more complicated than marinated tofu. But it is a perfect book for vegans who love to cook and eat spectacular food. (And with all the photos, it also makes a great coffee table book.)
Buy Great Chefs Cook Vegan: