Turns out he has been a big name lately because of his Oprah ties. But I'm not an Oprah fan in even the slightest way, so I didn't know he was cooking for her during her short-lived vegan test run. So upon getting the book I was not familiar with it or Chef Tal Ronnen. I went into checking out this cookbook with totally new eyes.
The first thing to mention about this book is that it is beautiful. I don't believe I have seen a vegan cookbook done so nicely. It is filled with gorgeous full-color photos of the dishes, as well as various ingredients. I found this really refreshing, because often times you are interested in a recipe first from the picture. Yet most cookbooks seems to be light on pictures these days.
I have taken the time to read through this whole book. I have come up with many recipes I fully intend to try, including:
- sweet onion beggar's purse
- Gardein "chicken" piccata
- tomato bisque
- California gardein "chicken" salad
- tofu cakes
There are many recipes that looked delicious in the pictures, but these are the ones that I plan to start with.
Another thing I appreciate with this book was the interviews that were sprinkled throughout. There were Q&A articles with people like the creator of Gardein, Follow Your Heart, and others. Those were very interesting.
I believe this book is especially good for someone that is not a vegan, but may be interested in giving their hand at preparing some tasty vegan food. Having the pictures will make it easier for non-vegetarians to see that vegan food looks good, which will prompt them to want to try it. Also, the information about veganism is provided in a non-threatening way, so it won't turn those readers off. It's also a good book for aspiring vegan chefs.
Using Gardein products in a several of the recipes is a plus. I think it makes it seem simpler, because you have the base already prepared for you.
The only downsides of the book may be the price (the cover price is $30) and the complexity. Some people may shy away from trying some of the recipes in the book because they may feel it is too challenging. There are some recipes that seem within my reach, but a few others I would probably not attempt because they seem a little complicated.
Overall this is a nice cookbook. And I am glad that Chef Ronnen is getting so much attention, even though I hadn't heard of him. The more veganism we can get into mainstream America, the better.