It is DAY 29 of "Gluten Free Vegan Recipes with Breville" and I am humbled and honoured to be featuring the visionary leader of high-end vegan cuisine, the brilliant Eric Tucker, Executive Chef from the highly acclaimed Millennium Restaurant at the Savoy Hotel in San Francisco. Since this "Vegan Mecca" opened in 1994, it has been widely considered to be the best vegan restaurant in the world, gracefully setting the benchmark for sophisticated vegan cooking. Using exotic ingredients, subtly nuanced flavours, and absolutely exquisite presentation, Tucker and his team have elevated vegan cuisine to the level of fine dining.
THE MILLENNIUM COOKBOOK shared many of their inspired gourmet vegan dishes with the home cook. In their second book, THE ARTFUL VEGAN, chefs Eric Tucker, Bruce Enloe and Amy Pearce present 140 new innovative recipes, putting their wildly inventive spin on eclectic global favourites. All of the recipes are mind-blowingly tasty, and are cholesterol free! Many are also low fat, or can be made with little or no oil.
Eric Tucker, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute of Food in New York, has written a heartfelt introduction to this culinary journey, explaining the history and philosophy of the Millennium world. Bruce Enloe, who was Sous-Chef from 1998 - 2003 and helped cultivate the impressive organic wine list, shares his passion for responsibly-produced vino, and takes us inside Millennium’s “wine pairing process.” Then Amy Pearce rounds things out in a sweet way with elegant, sell-your-soul desserts!
This cookbook is really a legacy journey – a celebration of the wonders of plant foods, organic and sustainable agriculture, local food growers and purveryors, personal story, and community. Each chef has brought his/her own personal experiences, cultural upbringing, and musical background to the table, “riffing” off each other, and the result is a spectacular extrapolation and fusion of world cultures centred around fresh vibrant food. It makes for beautiful music!
Inspiration is the name of the game with this book. Some of the recipes are simple, and others are quite involved. However, all recipes are broken down into components, and with easy-to-follow instructions, the extra work is BEYOND WORTH IT. Be BOLD, add these recipes to your culinary vocabulary, and you will be entering a new dimension of plant-based bliss! This food is elegant and absolutely bursting with complex flavours that dance across your taste buds and leave a lasting impression that will have you on your knees BEGGING for more!
There are Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Pastas, Entrees and Desserts. Then there is also a handy Technique and Glossary section where all ingredients and processes are explained. Many of the reviews say this book is not for beginners. Yes, many of the savoury recipes are quite fiddly. However, this book still offers up a lot of accessible straight-forward dishes. I tell people to whet their appetite by making the simple soups like Chilled Tomato and Watermelon Soup with Lime Ice, Chanterelle Mushrrom Chana Dal, or Mother’s Artichoke-Tomato Bisque; or easy salads like Milly’s Warm Cabbage Salad or Nori Salad Rolls. There are some other simple savoury dishes like Exotic Mushroom Ceviche, and the Sesame-Crusted Oyster Mushroom Calamari. Pastry Chef Amy Pearce offers up some simple desserts too: try her Walnut Macaroons, Tapioca Pudding, Bittersweet Truffles, the Strawberry, Rose, and Rhubarb Soup, and Pear-Cardamon Sorbet.
Then there are the more advanced recipes like delectable Miso-Broiled Japanese Eggplant over Noodle Cakes with Walnut-Miso Sauce and Wasabi Cream; Yellow Fin Potato Gnocchi with Beet Merlot Reduction, Roasted Beets, and Walnuts; Lemon-Pine Nut Ravioli over Baby Artichoke Golden Tomato Ragout; and Tamarind and Cardamon-Glazed Tofu Brochette over Zucchini Cake with Butternut Squash Baduche. That one took me half a day to make, but OH MY!! The Vegan Root Vegetable Ravioli with Portobello Mushroom Pate & Sweet Pepper-Olive Tapenade that they are sharing here today is an absolute SHOW STOPPER! Just relax, read the entire recipe, make your shopping list, put on your favourite music, and prepare for culinary MAGIC! Then wash it down with their German Chocolate Cake. WOW!
I honestly cannot rave enough about this book. Be brave and delve into the treasures of it! This is my “event” cookbook. I pull this book out when I want to expand my horizons and be inspired with “out-of-the-box” flavour combinations, use my imagination, and serve up visionary food with the WOW factor for a dinner party! If you want to learn, and feel like a professional chef, this is a fantastic springboard for BOLDNESS in the kitchen! All of these recipes are dressed to impress. This book is a glorious feast for all the senses with gorgeous food photography by Renée Comet.
I have learnt SO much by following the Basics Section, where the team talk you through making many of their staples, such as: Stocks, Pastas, Braising Garlic, Tofu Aioli, Oils, Pickles, Smoking Food, Cooking Legumes, and more. I feel like I am in culinary boot camp every time I explore this book. I am both humbled and overjoyed!
THE ARTFUL VEGAN would make an AMAZING Christmas gift for anyone who loves fine food. Do NOT be intimidated by this book. There is something for everyone, and it really WILL make you a better, more adventurous cook. Besides, Eric Tucker provides lots of suggestions on how to adapt the recipes. Trust me, this food is visionary and extraordinary, and features some of the BEST food I have ever tasted in my life! NOT to be missed!
To Millennium - Thankyou for everything you have done to inspire greatness in vegan cuisine. Your talent and commitment to excellence and mindfulness amazes me.
Special thanks to Kelly Snowden at Ten Speed Press for co-ordinating this contribution.
Reprinted with permission from The Artful Vegan: Fresh Flavors from Millennium Restaurant, by Eric Tucker, with Bruce Enloe, copyright © 2003. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Photo credit: Renée Comet © 2003