A Delightful Interview With Vegan Chef Laura Theodore

By Jodi Truglio — October 15, 2019

“I strongly believe that eating “animal-free” is healthier for us, the planet and, of course, the animals. For me – I went vegan over many years – first giving up meat, then chicken, dairy, fish and so on. Everyone has their own pace to make the change – some over time, like I did, some overnight,” says Laura Theodore.

It still amazes me how time seems to file by. I first interviewed popular television and radio host, vegan chef and cookbook author Laura Theodore in 2015. I have learned so much from her cookbooks over the years specifically when it comes to baking, which is a skill I have always struggled to master. Theodore’s books along with her cooking show made my attempts at baking less timid and more fun, even if the recipe didn’t come out exactly like the picture her food has aways been a hit in my non vegan household.

Recently, I had the pleasure to do a follow up interview with the incredibly humble  Laura Theodore.

Can you tell me about you journey to go vegan? 

I strongly believe that eating “animal-free” is healthier for us, the planet and, of course, the animals. For me – I went vegan over many years – first giving up meat, then chicken, dairy, fish and so on. Everyone has their own pace to make the change – some over time, like I did, some overnight.

Do you remember the first recipe you prepared? 

Great question! There are a few that I started with, but the first big success I had in turning a family recipe vegan was Pots De Crème! It is my go-to dessert for serving family and friends. It is a delicate, but rich, dessert  and it is my vegan version of a sixty-year old recipe that my Grandma often made. Served in tiny espresso cups, it provides an elegant finish to any fancy meal. As a child, it was my favorite dessert, but it was packed with eggs and heavy cream. Over the years, I developed this fail-safe vegan version that faithfully mimics the taste of Grandmas specialty! 

You were one of the first people to have a cooking show on a national television network (PBS). How does it feel to know that you paved the way for others? 

Thank you! I felt that there was a real void for vegan cooking shows, so with my extensive background in both television and cooking, I wanted to create a television show. I wanted to showcase a vegan program that was mainstream and show people how you can serve plant-based food and make it delicious for anyone, whether they are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous.” I shopped the show to all the networks – and was able to make the deal with PBS. Now, the show is in going into Season Eight on September 28th, 2019 and it feels awesome to have pushed through all of the closed doors to pave the way and help make vegan mainstream!

Are there any vegan chefs that you are currently following? 

Sure! Chef Christina Pirello has a wonderful vegan show on public television too, called Christina Cooks. She is awesome!

Since the shows conception how has the show evolved? 

We have had lots of great seasons, but a big change from season one is we have had diverse guests through the years – from Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Pam Popper – to musical legend Michael Feinstein and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s lead guitarist, Rickey Medlocke! 

What can we expect from season eight of Jazzy Vegetarian on PBS, which premieres on September 30th, 2019? 

In Season Eight of Jazzy Vegetarian, I’ll invite you into my own home kitchen where I’ll prepare some of my favorite vegan recipes. From hearty pasta impostors – to luscious fruitful desserts – to a festive family holiday celebration, this season is brimming with plant–based delights that will please everyone you are cooking for!

Featuring some of my favorites like Black Bean-Zucchini Burritos with Almond Crème Fraîche, Maple Roasted Portobello “Bacon,” Zucchini Fettuccine Alfredo, Lemon-Raspberry Swirl Cheeze-Cake, Garam Masala Sweet Potato Bites with Spicy Catsup Dip, Spinach, Onion and Red Pepper Crustless Quiche and Little Vegan “Ice-Cream” Sandwiches, this season really rocks!

So I hope you will tune into season eight for tasty recipes and happy, healthy home-style meals.

Can you tell me a little bit about your current cookbook, Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan?

Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan has won two silver medals! It has over 175 recipes and is a full color, 320-page cookbook with beautiful photos on nearly every page! In addition to easy plant-based, vegan recipes, in this book I help readers learn what it takes to stock and cook in a well-equipped vegan kitchen, with my favorite Top Ten lists!

• Ingredients to have on hand at all times in your pantry

• Effective egg substitutions for baking

• Delicious options for making vegan cheese and cream

• Two-ingredient recipes

• Herbs and spices to always keep in your kitchen

From simple snack ideas to enticing entrées to mouthwatering desserts, this cookbook

features delectable main dish recipes like Tofu-Teriyaki Kebabs, Sunny Black Bean Burgers and Gingered Portobello Steaks. Crowd-pleasing party foods include Guacamole Mini Peppers, Chili-Maple Almonds and Miso Hummus. Vegan Burritos with Tofu Queso Fresca, Golden Cashew Milk and Seitan Fajitas round out diverse dinner menus. And for dessert – plenty of scrumptious sweets to choose from, like Lively-Lemon Cupcakes, Sweet Potato Pie and Divine Chocolate Mousse Cake.

How does it defer from past books you have written? 

My top ten lists for essentials in vegan cooking are included in this book – I have been working on them for years and was so excited to include them in this book!

Looking toward the future what can we expect to see from the Jazzy Vegetarian in 2019?

I am working on my new cookbook, “Vegan for Everyone: 160 Family Friendly Recipes with a Delicious, Modern Twist” (Scribe Publishing Company, Feb 2020) and it will accompany Season Eight! It features delectable dishes, while highlighting some of my long-time personal favorite recipes. Focusing on easy weeknight suppers, classic weekend menus and festive holiday family fare, this book is for everyone looking to “jazz up” mealtimes by adding easy-to-prepare and delicious, plant-based food into their weekly menu plans. In addition to featuring over 100 new recipes, the book also includes 60 recipes that are fan favorites from my first four books, making this new cookbook a complete and fun way to make family meals kinder, healthier and – most of all – tastier!

 

Courtesy Image: Laura Theodore

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