Very rare do I get the chance to pick the brain of a vegan chef. My first time to interview one was with Filipina Vegan culinary artist, Nona Lema who shared her knowledge of Filipino food and its rich history. The whole exchange was only through email (she lives in the Philippines).
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to discover the works of another vegan chef, Philip Gelb. This time, the learning experience was hands-on. Philip is based in Oakland, California so I was able to visit and take one of his classes.
It was my friend TJ who told me about him. Early this year, TJ, Chris, and I took Philip’s Thai vegan class at his loft in Oakland. I remember enjoying cooking and learning, and since then I had been wanting to go back. As a birthday gift last August, TJ and her boyfriend, Rupert, surprised me with a gift certificate to Philip’s class. Needless to say, Chris and I headed back.
In our second class, we learned how to make vegan holiday dishes.
Here’s Philip talking about the fresh ingredients we were going to use in our recipes. He was teaching us about the holiday recipes he grew up cooking and eating with his Jewish family.
The class had only three students that day-lucky for me. I got to do more cooking.
The menu lineup for that day: Mushroom Sauce, Cranberry Yuzu Sauce, Garbanzo-wild rice loaf, Potato Latkes, Applesauce, Apples stuffed with nuts and dried fruit, and Pear Parsnip Soup.
Here’s Philip demonstrating how to make Garbanzo-wild rice loaf.
Here I was stirring olive oil and flour over low heat for the Mushroom Soup.
Diced up some mushrooms, my favorite! haha
Frying Potato Latkes. I heard Latkes are a staple for Hanukkah. I had never had them before so trying them was such a treat. Plus, anything fried potatoes I LOVE.
Philip shared this heartwarming story about how he used to join his grandmother making Potato Latkes in the kitchen. He said he would try to help with the potato grater but his aunties would have a problem with it because he might hurt himself. His grandmother would allow him though, encouraging him to develop his curiosity for food and cooking.
Mashing apples for the applesauce:
Prepping the Apples Stuffed with Fruits and Nuts:
Once everything is cooked, we all gathered at the dining table to feast on our creations.
The finished product:
Pear Parsnip Soup
Garbanzo-wild rice loaf
With mushroom sauce on top.
Down to my last bite of Potato Latkes when I remembered to take a photo. With applesauce on top. Yum.
Success! Thanks Philip!
Here’s a list of Philip’s upcoming classes in December:
Saturday Dec 8
Cookies and brownies
Sunday Dec 16
Sunday December 23
Japanese winter dishes
Here’s a little bit more about Philip:
On my next post, I’ll be sharing one of the recipes from the holiday vegan class, guess which one is it!