Adam Brigham is a man’s man. Massively built, covered in tattoos, and sporting a bald head, long beard, and nose ring, Brigham could easily blend in at any tough biker bar.
And you had better keep your distance, because if you are not careful, he just might make you a salad.
As the new chef and director of operations at Green Bar & Kitchen, Brigham is the last person you would expect to see working at a vegan eatery. But once you know his story, it all makes sense.
Brigham loves Red Bull and junk food — lots of it.
Working long hours at a Boca Raton country club left him little time to prepare meals, and he fell in to the all-too-common habit of grabbing unhealthy, quick food on the cheap. Typical meals included hamburgers, hot dogs, fast food, pizza, soda, and as many as six energy drinks a day.
But it all came to a screeching halt in December 2015 when the 36-year-old Brigham suffered a heart attack.
“The doctor said, ‘Your blood pressure if off the charts. Your cholesterol is off the charts. What are you doing?’” Brigham says.
So he took to the internet, spending days reading up on healthy eating, worried that he may not live to see 40.
What he learned was that he not only needed to change his diet, but his entire way of life.
Now living and loving his new vegan lifestyle, Brigham is infusing his outgoing and infectious personality into new dishes at the restaurant dedicated to the very concept that changed his life.
“My blood pressure is down now,” Brigham says. “My cholesterol is down and I’m down about 25 pounds. I feel better and I’m able to fight sicknesses better.”
Brigham’s strategy is make flavorful and healthy foods that leave even the most ardent of meat-eaters completely satisfied.
“The vegetarian and vegan lifestyle right now isn’t just salads and sticks,” he says. “It’s for everyone.”
Brigham says that vegan cooking has really evolved and incorporates flavors that are surprisingly similar to that of their meat-and-dairy based counterparts.
“We’re looking to take the foods you are familiar with and veganize them to make them flavorful and nutritious,” he says.
In conjunction with the restaurant’s co-owner and chef Charlie Grippo, Brigham has developed some new additions to Green Bar’s current line-up.
New offerings include vegan versions of traditionally meat-based dishes like General Tso’s chicken, beef tacos, and fish tacos. Blistered Shishito Peppers, along with non-GMO french fries, sweet potato fries, and tater tots, round out new additions to the existing menu of scrumptious offerings that include fresh-made juices, cupcakes, and cookies.
Wonton Wednesdays are not to be missed beginning on May 25. Bursting with flavor, the flower-shaped delicacies are crispy on the outside with a velvety filling of vegan cream cheese, green onions, and Green Bar & Kitchen's signature GBK burger mix on the inside.
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“It’s possible to eat the things you love with no dairy and no meat," he says. "That lifestyle is possible.”
After all, he's living proof.
Green Bar & Kitchen is located at 1075 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-533-7507, or visit greenbarkitchen.com.