By Patricia Reaney
NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - For chef Chloe
Coscarelli preparing vegan meals is more about being creative
and adding variety with new ingredients and flavors than simply
not using animal products in her recipes.
Coscarelli, who stopped eating meat while still a child, is
a classically trained chef who shot to fame after winning the
U.S. cooking TV competition "Cupcake Wars" in 2010, after
impressing the judges with a variety of vegan cupcakes.
In her first cookbook "Chloe's Kitchen" the 24-year-old
California-based chef dishes up 125 recipes and proves that
vegan food can be exciting, delicious and creative, as well as
Q: What made you decide to become a vegan chef?
A: "My love for animals inspired me to choose a vegan way of
eating and cooking. But once I went to college I just decided I
wanted to intern in a restaurant and learn more creative ways to
prepare vegan food because a lot of the old-fashioned notions
are that it is dry or bland or boring. It was my mission to
break those stereotypes and find delicious creative ways of
Q: How do you dispel the belief that a vegan diet is bland?
A: "For me as a chef, flavor is the most important thing. It
is not so much about taking away ingredients and making this a
restrictive diet, but instead opening it up to more creative
possibilities and adding more flavors and relying on a more
varied array of produce and vegetables and spices and herbs. And
it is really making sure that no flavor is sacrificed when you
are taking out the animal fat."
Q: How difficult is it to cook without butter and milk and
A: "It is much easier that you think. With just a couple of
tricks you can veganize almost any traditional recipe. For
example, when I make my cupcakes I rely on a very simple
technique, and that is using just a couple teaspoons of vinegar
in the batter. I know that sounds disgusting and I promise you
won't taste the vinegar actually in the cupcake. It is just a
chemical trick. The vinegar reacts with the baking soda and it
binds the cupcake and makes it rise, so it replaces the egg.
That is an extremely reliable technique."
Q: What are the main sources of protein in a vegan diet?
A: "It has been proven that vegetarians and vegans actually
consume more proteins than people who follow a traditional diet
because if you are following a healthful vegan diet you are
eating vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, all
these different sources that you may have never consumed before
and they are packed with proteins."
Q: How do you develop most of your recipes?
A: "I have been cooking for a while. My mom is the one who
taught me how to cook before my whole family was vegetarian, and
we took a lot of old family recipes and actually veganized them.
We used some simple techniques that I developed to make them
vegan. I like to get a lot of my inspiration from things that
are not vegan and turn them vegan."
Q: What would you advise to someone who is thinking about
switching to a vegan diet?
Read the chef's answer and the rest of the interview here.