CENTER OF THE PLATE
Vegetarian Style Chicken Piccata
Inevitably, when I dine at an upscale casual or fine dining restaurant the vegan vegetarian option is either an expensive after thought for the entrée or a center of the plate pasta and vegetables. While the entrée is generally well prepared, it fails miserably in protein innovation and perceived value. That is where chefs generally miss their mark. They have the culinary skill sets but lack knowledge on vegan protein options and perceived value.
By perceived value is meat that the cost of the entrée is worth what the restaurant is charging. At a restaurant where the cost was a prefix of $50 for a 3 course menu friends had Roast Duck for their entrée and I was served a few ounces of Quinoa with vegetables. If the chef had nut crusted a tempeh or even tofu, served it with Hazelnut (any nut) Mushroom Duxelles, soft Polenta/vegetable Du jure that would have hit on perceived value. Tempeh cost a few dollars a pound and the mushrooms/nuts bring up the perceived value of the tempeh.
The chef has the use of Tempeh, Tofu, Seitan, Beans, Meat Analogues (dry and frozen), nuts, seeds, and high value vegetables to be creative with on their menu. My focus with the ANF is primarily set on teaching chefs the core culinary skills on how to create vegan entrees with the wide variety of plant based protein options available to them. The dairy/egg options are easy. To master vegan cuisine one must master vegan protein entrees.
Contact the ANF for information on how professional cooks and chefs can become professionally certified in the core competency skills of vegetarian cuisine.