There was a lot of hype surrounding Wanderlust Squaw Valley’s first ever Vegan Farm to Table dinner with world renowned vegan chef Tal Ronnen. Never heard of him? Well, he’s prepared meals for Oprah’s 21-day cleanse and catered Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s vegan wedding. He’s kind of a big deal.
Obviously, I wanted to meet this guy, and eat from his exquisite menu. Although, I eat a predominantly plant based diet, I do swoon for local, handcrafted artisan cheeses and ethically sourced meats from time to time. And apparently, that’s totally okay, even encouraged by Chef Tal, who has been a vegan for 14 years. He had some great advice for those of us who want to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into our daily lives:
You don’t have to commit to an all or nothing approach. Try designating two days per week exclusively to meatless eating, suggests Tal. When pressed on his thoughts as to why people fail to succeed in changing their food habits over time, he cites moving too quickly as the number one reason. Gradually, increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables until you are at a level that you are comfortable with. If we all did just that, we’d be giving ourselves and the planet a huge gift.
What serves as constant inspiration for his creative culinary genius? Nature. Tal simply states that he focuses on what’s local, fresh and available – and you should too. Be creative with what you can find at your local farmer’s markets and you can create something like his watermelon, Persian cucumber, Kite Hill ricotta nut cheese, heirloom cherry tomatoes and roasted pistachios, drizzled with balsamic gastrique. Enough said.
Just don’t stress about it, encourages Tal. Enjoy new flavours and tastes by frequenting local ethnic restaurants and trying new recipes at home. Adopt a mindset of abundance and adventure, eating locally and fresh is a vibrant way to live!
The Vegan Farm to Table Dinner was presented by Gardein hosted by the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. To get your copy of Tal Ronnen’s book, The Conscious Cook, click here. A special thanks to Executive Chef Ben “Wyatt” Dufresne.
Often referred to as a little firecracker, Mara Panacci is an international yoga teacher and holistic nutrition expert. She is the founder of Yoga Renegade, your rebellious playground, and co-muse at Accidental Renegade, helping yogis navigate the branding and marketing underworld. Nomadic adventurer and wellness devotee, Mara leads programs and workshops all over the world.