The Oakland chef, caterer and restaurateur is the author of the recently published “You Won’t Believe It’s Vegan!: 200 Recipes for Simple and Delicious Animal-Free Cuisine.”
What’s the origin of the book? I had a restaurant, Down to Earth, in New Jersey. My partner and I decided to put together the recipes of all of the food we served there.
Are you a vegan? I’ve been a vegetarian for 13 years, about nine of them, vegan.
Does the book offer a particular philosophy? We promote whole foods and eating close to the foods’ source — and far from the package.
Are there misconceptions about the vegetarian diet? People think you need a lot of protein, but it’s really about balancing.
How do you feel about soy? It can be major for beginners, but you don’t necessarily want to be a “soyatarian.” Choose soy in whole form, such as tempe or beans.
What’s your favorite recipe in the book? The chocolate cake; it’s simple and awesome. I also like the Blue Corn Hempeh, a Southern-crusted blue corn tomato pudding.
What’s next for you? I’m going to open a vegetarian wine-bar-cafe called Encuentro with Eric Tucker of Millennium.
Do you ever eat potato chips or a Snickers bar? Of course! I eat chips, the natural ones. And I eat chocolate — good chocolate.