If you've entered a Barnes & Nobles since October 2009, you may have seen Chef Tal Ronnen's book The Conscious Cook, dominating the food books aisle. In years past, vegan cookbooks have appealed to just a niche audience, but Ronnen's tome -- the first full color vegan cookbook to be published in North America -- landed him a spot on Oprah's couch (he orchestrated a 21-day vegan cleanse for the talk show queen) and a place on the New York Times bestseller list.
According to his website, "Tal has worked at the top vegan restaurants in the United States, including Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, Madeleine Bistro in Los Angeles, and Candle 79 in New York City. He also assisted Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders in opening her restaurant, VegiTerranean in Akron, Ohio, in 2007. Additionally, Chef Tal conducts master vegetarian workshops for students and staff at Le Cordon Bleu College campuses nationwide."
On Wednesday, June 16, Ronnen is coming back to the 954 to prepare a four-course meal at Fort Lauderdale's gourmet vegan restaurant Sublime.
Sublime's proprietor, Nanci Alexander, says that Ronnen worked for her as a consultant about three and a half years ago when she relaunched the restaurant and updated its menu. "He was so unbelievably caring, and was very excited to see people eating," she remembers.
Of his success as an author, Alexander says, "I'm not surprised." Vegan cooking, she says, is going "not only mainstream, but upscale." Alexander says that her restaurant is profitable and that despite the recession, business has remained steady over the years with an average weeknight attendance of about 100 diners per night, and approximately 200 on Friday and Saturday nights. Alexander says the restaurant is currently transitioning to treating water by reverse osmosis in order to avoid shipping bottled water. In the fall, she plans to add Sunday brunches and a vegan bakery.
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Meat-based diets, Alexander says, "are devastating to the environment." She cited water shortages, pollution, and a loss of biodiversity as negative effects. She expects the dinner with Ronnen to sell out.
Check back next week for an interview with Ronnen.
In the meantime, here are details of the dinner, from a press release:
The menu will feature: White Asparagus Soup with Crisped Capers and Truffle Oil;
Quinoa, Avocado and Mango Timbale with Roasted Tomatillo Dressing; Chanterelle
Mushroom Ravioli with Baby Arugula and Chardonnay Cream Sauce OR Gardein
Scallopini with Shitake and Sake Sauce over a Crispy Udon Noodle Cake
accompanied by Braised Pea Tendrils; followed by Banana Rum Cheesecake with
Spiced Pecan Crust and Maple Rum Sauce.
Guests will also receive a
personally autographed copy of Chef Tal's New York Times bestselling cookbook,
"The Conscious Cook".
Seatings for this special dinner are available from
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm. Sublime's regular menu will also be available. The price is
$79 per person (not including tax and gratuity). For reservations, please visit
www.sublimerestaurant.com/cheftal or call 954-615-1431.