The food world has changed dramatically in the past few years alone. We’ve seen grocery store aisles transform from being dominated by meat and dairy products to bursting with plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. The change here has been so dramatic that Big Dairy and Meat are fighting to “protect” their products, claiming that only products created using animal products can be labeled “meat” or “dairy.” (Hey, you know you’re doing something right when people start to complain “consumers are confused” and that’s why they are buying billions of dollars worth of your product instead of the “real thing.”)
But the world of packaged food isn’t the only thing that has changed. Just take a look at the restaurant space and the growth of plant-based chefs. While the phrase might seem cliché, in the chef space it’s becoming more and more clear that the future (especially in the case of plant-based food) is female.
For proof of this incredible phenomenon, you need look no further than the latest episode of the #EatForThePlanet podcast. Nina Curtis is the Incoming President of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR), an active resource for women seeking to advance culinary education and gain recognition in various areas of the food and beverage industry. She has been plant-based for over 18 years and her background includes working with the Marriot Group, Hilton Hotels, Baxters, Manhattan Beach, the El Caballo, Oakland, Pure Food and Wine in New York, the Springs Restaurant and Wine Bar, Los Angeles and The Ranch, Malibu. Suffice it to say, when it comes to plant-based cuisine, Nina is a prominent leader. In this episode, Nina is joined by chef Peggy Chan, founder of Grassroots Pantry, Hong Kong’s leading meat-free eatery, and Berlin-based chef Sophia Hoffmann, author of the Vegan Queens cookbook and host of the Vegan Queens Podcast.
These three acclaimed chefs recently came together in New York to cook at the James Beard Foundation for their International Women’s Day dinner. This event marked the second all-vegan dinner served at the Foundation and the first with a team of all female chefs.
During the conversation, Nina, Peggy, and Sophia speak candidly and openly about their experiences coming up in the food world and explain how they have been able to use their passion for environmental conservation to influence the future of vegan food in the space. From coming up with innovative ways to use vegetables in the center of the plate to finding new ways to reduce packaging and food waste in the restaurant industry, they share how they hope to affect change in the broader food system.
Nina, Peggy, and Sophia also discuss how they are working to fight stereotypes and change perceptions about vegan food in each of their countries, and strategies and advice for building a successful business and empowering other female leaders in the food industry.
If you want to learn more about how female chefs from all over the world are fighting to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable food system with plant-based food, this interview is a must-listen!
You can listen to the full episode below or on the following platforms: iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher.
If you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias podcast for new episodes with food industry leaders, health, and sustainability experts, as well as entrepreneurs and creative minds who are redefining the future of food – and order your copy of the #EatForThePlanet book!