Good news, Green Monsters! After waiting with baited breath for three years, world-famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is opening his all-vegan restaurant, abcV! Don’t expect Vongerichten to follow recent plant-based trends and fill his menu with burgers that bleed or hyper realistic vegan cheeses. Unlike many of the restaurants serving plant-based food nowadays, Vongerichten’s creations won’t be trying to mimic meat or dairy at all. Instead, the chef, who has dubbed the eatery “a vegetable restaurant,” will use his culinary skills to elevate the flavor of vegetables and concoct vegetable-centric dishes that are not only nourishing but exciting for the palate.
This isn’t the first time the restauranteur is making waves by capitalizing on vegetables. He has frequently shared his love for the nature-made wonders and has shared it with the world by stocking only seasonal ingredients in his kitchens, daring to shake up tried-and-true favorites (pea guacamole, anyone?), and now dedicating a whole restaurant to showing people that tasty cooking doesn’t necessarily have to contain meat or dairy.
Vongerichten is one of the many chefs who is rethinking the way we look at meat and dairy. Earlier this year, in an attempt to influence consumers’ food choices more directly and promote healthier and more sustainable food choices in restaurants, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) partnered up with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to urge chefs to rethink the proteins available on their menu. Similarly to Vongerichten, the CIA realizes the tremendous influence that chefs have in shaping the way consumers think about food, and the incredible impact that could be made if chefs are able to create meatless dishes that are filling, tasty, and most importantly, do not feel like a sacrifice.
While Vongerichten hasn’t been particularly vocal about the positive effect his plant-based restaurant can have on the environment, it undoubtedly will have one. Given the chef’s fame, his restaurants are some of the most sought out eateries in the world. The fact that people will enter abcV with an open mind, ready to try some delicious food, and then try plant-based food when they otherwise might not have, is great. Considering animal agriculture’s tremendous environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water use, getting people to see that plant-based food can be delicious, is vastly important. Not only does it break preconceived notions these people may have had about vegan food, but it may even inspire people to ditch the meat and dairy, at least a few times a week, and maybe even embrace the idea that the future of food is vegan. Sounds like a win to us.
Abcv will open some time in September 2016 at 38 E. 19th St., Park Ave. S.
Image source: Jean-Georges.com