The tastes, textures, and aromas of food have fascinated me since I was little. As I was growing up, I found myself wanting to experiment with these elements, so I made sure to be in the kitchen as often as I could. Later, I studied culinary arts, and then spent years working in restaurants of all kinds, where I learned how to perfect my skills. I then set off to Asia in search of adventure, new flavors, and cooking techniques.
There, I discovered the Buddhist philosophy and its principles of nonviolence. I briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a monk and never coming back home, but the woman whom I would later marry was waiting for me in Canada. When I returned, my interest in Buddhism kept growing. I took part in meditation retreats where I would meditate and work as a chef. Since the meditation centers served food that used no animal products, I found these retreats to be the perfect opportunity to learn how to cook with plants and grains and test out new vegan recipes with a focused yet very willing clientele.
As time went on, it became more and more difficult for me to continue cooking with meat as part of my job as a chef. My values had changed, and I was miserable working in a system that promoted principles that contradicted my own. One evening, after cooking lamb for 400 guests at a banquet, I realized I could no longer be a part of an industry that took advantage of the weakest beings. I could not go on like this.
I knew I had to do something—but what? Interest in vegan cooking was growing at the time, which was wonderful news for our health, the environment, and the animals, but many people did not know where to begin. My wife then gave me the idea of gathering all the knowledge I had acquired during my culinary career and using it to promote vegan eating. A blog seemed like the perfect venue because readers from all walks of life would be able to find simple, delicious recipes that use no animal products. And that is how The Buddhist Chef was born!
To this day, I love sharing my recipes with anyone and everyone who wishes to learn how to cook vegan. I try to make veganism accessible and show how simple it is to make a delicious meal using plant-based ingredients you can easily find at your grocery store.
This cookbook, my first, is my way of helping you to cook vegan simply and flavorfully.
It contains my “classic” recipes, the ones my virtual community members appreciate the most. It also features brand-new, fun, and mouthwatering recipes that everyone at your table will love. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or simply trying to decrease your meat consumption, I hope you’ll enjoy these easy-to-follow and, above all, delicious recipes!