Meet 'Cupcake Wars' Champ Chloe Coscarelli at The Inn at Pound Ridge’s Vegan Luncheon This Week
Catch Coscarelli cooking in Westchester for the first time alongside renowned local chef Jean-Gorges.
Left to Right: Chefs Neal Harden, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Chloe Coscarelli
Photo courtesy of Chloe Coscarelli
On June 26, The Inn at Pound Ridge is hosting a family-style Literary Luncheon with guest chef Chloe Coscarelli, author of the vegan cookbook Chloe Flavor, and Neal Harden, chef at abcV, Jean-George’s vegetarian restaurant in NYC. On the menu: smoky eggplant with tomato chutney, coconut yogurt, and mint; sun gold tomatoes with peach, fennel, sherry vinaigrette, basil and ginger; whole-roasted squash with saffron-corn purée and Castelvetrano olives; and Chef Chloe’s assorted vegan cakes (she did win Cupcake Wars, after all).
“This is my first time cooking in Westchester, and I’m thrilled to be cooking with Chef Jean-Georges and Chef Neal,” says Coscarelli. “It’s a dream come true.” We spoke to Coscarelli ahead of the event.
Cupcake Wars champion and vegan cookbook author Chef Chloe Coscarelli will curate a menu at The Inn at Pound Ridge this week. Photo by Christine Homes.
Are people more open to incorporating vegan or vegetarian dishes into their diets in the summer when there’s such an abundance of fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets?
Definitely. I think everyone wants to eat really fresh now. There are so many great fruits, veggies and colors. We’re hoping to have a very vibrant lunch with a lot of different inspirations so it’s a really exciting meal and nobody misses the meat.
In the forward of your book Chef Michael Symon mentions not missing meat when eating some of your creations. Is that the catchphrase for why people don’t cook vegan or vegetarian?
A lot of people do expect that part of their meal is going to be animal protein. I think in Western culture we put an emphasis on the importance of animal protein in your diet. But I think now people are realizing that’s just not necessarily essential to the meal. In fact, you can get loads of protein from vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains, and still have a delicious, hearty meal.
Your book’s name is Chloe Flavor. Do people think of vegan food as not being flavorful?
There was a time when it was a less popular and there were less options. Some people still hold that old-fashioned stereotype that it’s a limiting diet and maybe not that exciting or flavorful. But now, there are so many great chefs such as Jean-Georges and Neal Harden who are innovating with vegetables and earth-grown ingredients… There really isn’t anything — I’ve been vegan for about 15 years — that I can’t have vegan version of. Almost like ‘anything you can eat I can eat vegan.’
Do you see that people are knowledgeable of both health and environmental reasons for eating vegan?
People are eating vegan for so many different reasons now — whether they’re 100% vegan or they just like to or incorporate a vegan meal once a week. Everyone has a different perspective on it, whether it’s health, environmental or animal welfare. I do think we are recognizing that processing animals through factory farming is not a sustainable method. We’re all realizing it’s not going to last. Incorporating vegan meals into your diet is a great way to have a small impact.
Is there a certain demographic that is leading the way toward increased knowledge and embracing of a vegan diet?
There certainly are a lot of trailblazers from older generations who have been doing it for decades, but generally speaking this cuisine is very popular with younger generations. They’re growing up with more information about the food they’re putting into their bodies. I think a very popular term right now is flexitarian, people who are saying, ‘I’m not going to commit to one strict diet, but I am going to make an effort to reduce my consumption of animal products.’
In your cookbook you supply readers with an introduction and a list of ingredients to have at hand. You also tell readers to reach out to you on social media with any questions. Are you trying to make cooking vegan less scary?
It’s definitely my personal mission to demystify the cuisine [and show people that] they don’t need to live near a specialty grocery store to eat this way. You can cook this way using familiar ingredients, and without having to buy a whole host of mock-meat substitutes. I think that’s what my book is about , getting people to feel empowered to create their own vegan recipes.
To purchase tickets for the event, call The Inn at Pound Ridge at 914.764.1400
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