Vegan chef Tal Ronnen, author of the New York Times best-selling book The Conscious Cook, will make an appearance at Whole Foods Market on Arden Way on Thursday, March 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. Ronnen will be demonstrating dishes from his book, which provides oodles of recipes that mimic meat-based dishes but are vegan. And, yes, that means there will be samples. If nothing else, go for the samples. I say this from personal experience. I had the opportunity to sit in on a class at Sacramento’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts yesterday for a workshop lead by Ronnen. For a man who’s worked with the likes of Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres, Ronnen was humble, humorous and honest as he shared tales of working with celebrities and politicians as well as the challenges of opening up a vegan restaurant. The students peppered him with questions as he demonstrated how to prepare celery root soup, tortellini and “chicken” scaloppini. I’m not much of a chef, but I do like to eat so I spent the next hour salivating over the wonderful smells coming from Le Cordon Bleu’s demonstration kitchen. But when the samples started appearing, moi—being an interloper and not an official student—was too shy to go up to get any, though I did try to send telepathic messages to the students. It worked! One nice aspiring chef brought me a sample of the soup. Oh, my! It was so darn delicious, I licked the sides of the cup trying to get every last drop.
Samples should be easier to come by at the Whole Foods event. Copies of Ronnen’s book—named one of the top 10 cookbooks in 2009 by epicurious.com and VegNews magazine—will be available for purchase.