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Articles

Vegetarian Catering: Finding Your Culinary Career Niche

In 1991, "Chef Al" (Albert H. Chase, Jr.) heard a lecture by EarthSave founder John Robbins, followed his heart, and traded his conventional culinary career for the calling of vegan catering. Through his Institute for Culinary Awakening, Chef Al shares what he's learned about healthy cooking. So, if your heart is hungering for something outside the culinary arts mainstream, perhaps vegetarian catering is the culinary career for you.


Niche Market Catering

If you're a professional chef with a culinary career or an amateur with the determination to try vegetarian cooking, first get your training. Whether it's a course at a culinary academy or a focused culinary workshop, you'll learn to tailor your craft to vegetarian fare.

While the whole world seems to be going global, your cooking will turn to your own back yard, using locally-grown produce and in-season vegetables and fruits. Explore the organic farms and food providers in your area. If you're "called" to the craft of vegetarian catering, you'll be catching a career wave. Chef Al tells the Vegetarian Journal that now is "a very opportunistic time for vegan chefs, as there is a high demand for good ones."

Vegetarian Culinary Arts for Special Occasion Catering

When a correspondent complained "I can't serve lentil loaf to a wedding party!" Vegetarian Journal responded, "since when is meat necessary for elegance?" If you're afraid that vegetarian fare rules out special occasion catering, consider the spectacular vegan fare suggested by the Journal.

Here's a feast to make diners turn their backs on Atkins: a salad of greens and pears with raspberry balsamic vinaigrette, grilled Portobello mushrooms on tomato foccaccia, wild mushroom stuffed crepes, and eggplant with barley risotto. Perhaps the best advice of all to any vegetarian caterer is the Journal's upbeat suggestion to think of all the ingredients you have to choose from--not the ones that you can't use.

So raise that champagne flute and toast your spectacular culinary possibilities as a vegetarian caterer. The glass is definitely half full--and then some.

Sources
  • EarthSave
  • "Food Service Hotline." Vegetarian Journal's Foodservice Update 9.1 (Winter2000/2001).
  • "Our Global Plate," by Albert H. Chase. Nutrition Health Review: The Consumer's Medical Journal 80 (2000).
  • "Vegetarian Action: Chef Albert H Chase Jr. and the Institute for Culinary Awakening," by Meri Robie. Vegetarian Journal 19.5 (Sep/Oct 2000).