The Clever Root

Winter / Spring 2016

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W I N T E R / S P R I N G 2 0 1 6 | 4 3 Kenney's favorite dish from Plant Food + Wine— located in Venice, CA—is the MK Salad with mixed greens, sprouts, avocado, dulse, hemp seeds, feel crackers, olives and lemon dressing. PHOTO: ERICA RAE BROWN PHOTO: ERICA RAE BROWN PHOTO: ERICA RAE BROWN PHOTO: ANNA SCHWABER Veganism doesn't have to be bland: chlorella olive oil cake with fennel-mint gelato, chocolate and fennel seed. Chickpea "frittata" with market greens, shaved roots and green goddess dressing. ■cr After several years of cooking "traditional" cuisine, he transitioned to a plant-based diet after reluctantly attending a raw food dinner, which opened his eyes to a new world of eating. Kenney noted that not only did his health improve, he found new professional inspiration, which he wanted to share with his guests. Spreading the word about this lifestyle took the form of numerous restaurants—Plant Food + Wine in both Venice, CA and Miami in early 2016; plant-based fast casual eatery and juice bar MAKEOUT in Culver City, CA; The Gothic in Belfast, ME; and 00 +Co., a vegan pizza concept, opened in New York's East Village in Feb- ruary 2016—several raw food cookbooks and Matthew Kenney Culinary, an academy built to teach about plant-based cuisine and its preparation. Kenney explains the importance of these educational programs: "We're able to reach so many more people through our academies. We have over 50 countries represented from our 3,000-plus Matthew Kenney Culinary alumni. Our students take what they learn at the academy, adapt it to their culture, finesse the recipes with their local ingredients, and if we're lucky, they pass their learning onto their local communities. We are educating ourselves and our students to make sound ingredient choices, to support more sustainable processes and to promote a plant-based lifestyle that is delicious, healthful, innovative and accessible." These students and guests at his restaurants often find their palates surprised at the depth of flavor that vegan food can offer. Kenney wants to show off the complex nature of these plant- based foods and rid them of the stigma of being bland. To produce these rich flavors, he works with close to 15 local suppliers, endowing the establishment with stunning produce. Giving into his sweet tooth and proving that raw food doesn't have to be boring, Kenney takes the stone fruit from these suppliers and creates a sorbet utilizing the Pacojet, which micro-purées frozen foods without thawing; this technique is one of his favorites and pro- duces a vibrant dessert. After all, as he acknowledges, the only way a guest will change his or her eating habits to an all plant-based diet is if they receive pleasure from the food they consume—and if anyone can make that happen, it's Kenney.

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