Everybody might think you’re crazy, but your friends and family will at least give you a chance. It feels good, if you exceed expectations, then you have a loyal customer. That’s just how it started. I chose Palm Springs; it was easy. It’s been home since the womb. It was definitely a challenge, but I learned how to do everything.
What keeps you fascinated in creating vegan gourmet food?
People always ask, “Where do the ideas come from?” I think that’s a divine thing often. It usually happens when I’m gardening or doing something. But sometimes it can be as simple as listening to the radio and hearing a fast food commercial. Then I think, “I want to make that, what would I put in there?” I’d like to give something new with something familiar to people. Some of my ideas came from traveling. That’s where the basis for my first restaurant came from. I lived in Asia for a year. I’ve traveled all over Europe. I just love South American influences. It’s just, “Wow, what’s this?”
What dishes will you prepare during your virtual demo?
I love Halloween. We start the demo with the “Pumpkin Soup with Bat Eyes”. It is just a great soup and inspires people to use the pumpkins for cooking. The main course will be the “Transylvanian Ghoulash”. I always thought it’s a little fun to do a parody of a meat style dish sometimes. It is usually spelled g o u l a s h, but I am spelling it “Ghoulash”. Goulash is a Hungarian dish, but Transylvania is close and they have goulash there as well. We’re going to have gourmet flavors that have fun names. I like to have fun with the food. Halloween really inspired me with the name for the dessert. I call it “Road Kill Cobbler”. I’ll mix apples and cherries together because Halloween is about that dark side.
What do you like most about those dishes?
In the goulash, I love the sauerkraut. I put a little bit in that dish and have the sauerkraut implement lots of that umami flavor and balance that people often look for in meat. It just tastes good. I like that, now that’s fall, all the yellow and orange vegetables. Every season provides some kind of nutrition for our bodies to store.
What advice would you give people who want to try eating healthier but are insecure about where to start?
I suggest people just try one vegan or vegetarian meal a week. And don’t give up the first time. We don’t like everything we eat, even with meat, even if it’s not vegetarian. Sometimes there is a meal that one doesn’t like. Don’t give up. Try other choices. I also suggest don’t try to convert yourself right away, just try to have it once a week, twice a week. When you start to crave it naturally because it’s delicious and because you feel good, and then just let it flow. Don’t be so hard on yourself. People are very hard on themselves. What did I eat? Why did I eat that? And is this good for me? And you can’t put stress on when you eat food. It’s a joyous occasion.