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Veggie Chef Serves Up a Smorgasbord of Rich, Filling,
Scrumptious, and Completely Plant-Based Cuisine  


Delicious Meatless Recipes that will
Change the Way you Eat


Whether you’re seeking to reduce your carbon footprint, lower your cholesterol, or save dough on your grocery bills, eating a plant-based diet makes sense. So, what’s stopping all the health-conscious, eco-conscious, and cost-conscious Americans from cutting out meat and dairy products? For most, it’s the fear of being doomed to bland, meager meals of tofu, sprouts, and brown rice, day after day and after night after night. 

Chef Tal Ronnen used to love steak, overstuffed pastrami sandwiches, veal scaloppini, paella with spicy sausage, and all kinds of rich, scrumptious, satisfying food. When he became a vegetarian and then a vegan, he took his taste buds with him. In fact, he took them further. “I became obsessed with the idea of creating vegan food that was just as mouth-watering and delicious as anything I’d ever had as a meat-eater,” he attests. In THE CONSCIOUS COOK; Delicious Meatless Recipes that will Change the Way you Eat (William Morrow, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; October 2009; $29.99 Hardcover), Chef Tal shares his enticing, unexpected vegan dishes with everyone who relishes eating beautiful, flavorful, and filling food. Every recipe delivers on his promise to omnivores and foodies: “You won’t miss the meat.”

A vegan visionary who has cooked for notables from Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres to Kathy Freston, Chef Tal specializes in meat- and dairy-free fare that is rich and buttery, elegant, luscious, and substantial. In THE CONSCIOUS COOK, he reveals his secret: maximizing the nutritional benefits and taste of his favorite plant-based proteins. Whether cozy, sophisticated, or fun to gobble up, every entrée in the book features a center-of-the-plate protein packing a powerful energy-boosting, hunger-banishing punch. Among the eclectic treats and surprises, cooks of all appetites and motivations will delight in: 

  • A simple recipe for the magic ingredient that makes it easy to fill raviolis, thicken soups and sauces, top off desserts, and live without dairy: cashew cream
  • Finger foods fit for a cocktail party, a potluck, or a Super Bowl spread, including innovative twists on classics, like Artichoke and Oyster Mushroom Rockefeller.
  • Sensational salads pairing great homemade salad dressings, from Champagne Vinaigrette to a Parmesan-free Caesar, with vegetables beyond lettuce.
  • Wholesome, rich, creamy, and hearty soups, from Tomato Bisque to Split Pea with Tempeh Bacon and Chipotle Cream
  • Pointers on cooking with top quality premade products, like Gardein, a garden grown protein with the texture and taste of chicken, steak, or pork that will fool everybody.
  • Vegetarian sandwiches that truly eat like a meal, from a Gardein “Steak” with Horseradish Mayonnaise to Cajun Portobello with Avocado and Rémoulade.      
  • A striking array of really satisfying vegan entrées, from quick and casual to elaborate, including Old Bay Tofu Cakes with Pan-Roasted Summer Vegetables, Artichoke Ricotta Tortellini with Saffron Cream Sauce, Tempeh Creole, Gardein “Chicken” Scaloppini with Shiitake Sake Sauce, and Paella with “Sausage.”

Since, in Chef Tal’s definition, “being vegan means eating everything in the world except animal products,” he leaves room for dessert. The tantalizing selections range from the fresh and light Seasonal Fruit in Papillote with Whipped Cashew Cream to the decadent Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake with Berry Sorbet.           

Busting notorious vegan myths, including “You won’t get enough protein” and “It’s boring to eat vegan,” THE CONSCIOUS COOK entices everyone to sample a taste of healthful, ethical, environmentally-friendly eating, without pushing an agenda. “It’s easy to be convincing when the food is delicious,” Chef Tal states, backed by his success at opening minds and menus to vegan options. “It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice—it feels like a step up.”

Accompanied by cooking tips, serving suggestions, and a bounty of exquisite full-color photographs, THE CONSCIOUS COOK presents 75 original vegan recipes to tempt and satisfy anyone interested in eating meatless meals occasionally, as well as anyone serious about abstaining from animal products permanently.                           

Tal Ronnen is the founder of Veg Advantage, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping food-service operators integrate vegetarian options into their menus. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, he has worked at the top vegan restaurants in the United States, including Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, Madeleine Bistro in Los Angeles, and Candle 79 in New York City, and conducted master vegetarian workshops for students and staff at Le Cordon Bleu College campuses nationwide. Best known as the chef who created recipes for Oprah’s 21-day vegan cleanse in the spring of 2008, he also assisted Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders in opening her restaurant, VegiTerranean in Akron, Ohio, in 2007.

THE CONSCIOUS COOK: Delicious Meatless Recipes that will Change the Way you Eat
By Tal Ronnen
Foreword by Kathy Freston
October 6, 2009
$ 29.00/ 38.99
ISBN: 978-0-06-187433-8; Hardcover
William Morrow, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers and Melcher Media