Culinary Trends: High Concept Vegetarian
Vegetarian food never tasted as good as it has in 2009. We encountered more delicious and dynamic meatless main dishes than ever before; we were so impressed that three of our 2009 Rising Stars are from meat-free restaurants—no small feat in a nation still somewhat obsessed with animal proteins in various forms. The motives for the veg-heavy dishes varies (not all the chefs are vegetarians), but the end results—rich, deeply flavorful food with incredible texture and diversity—were all similarly innovative and noteworthy.
Perhaps vegetable-centered cooking is the next step in sustainability—at least that’s how some would argue it, like 2009 New York Sustainability Winner Amanda Cohen of her veg-only restaurant Dirt Candy. For another chef, 2009 Seattle Rising Star Colin Patterson of Sutra, his vegetarian cuisine is about health and living a yogic lifestyle. Yet for 2009 Napa Sonoma Rising Star of Ubuntu it was simply unexplored culinary territory.