Food

 

Chef AJ

Chef AJ

Posted February 27, 2010

Published in Food, Health

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New Chef on The Blog

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Hi Everyone,

  I'm Chef AJ and I have followed a plant based diet for over 32 years.  In the last 7 years I kicked it up a notch by following a WHOLE FOOD/PLANT BASED diet, free of all PROCESSED FOOD like refined sugars, oil and salt.  I am a pastry chef at a Los Angeles restaurant and have been a culinary instructor for the past 10 years.  I would love to answer your culinary questions and help you on your journey towards optimum health.

 

Love & Kale,
Chef AJ

Thanks Jeff & Sabrina for this opportunity!


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16 Comments | Leave a comment

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Awesome! Glad to see you on VegSource!

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Hi Chef AJ!!! Good to see my favorite chef here!

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Looking forward to your posts!

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Looking forward to following you here.

Michelle B (from drfuhrman forum)

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Wow! I'm rather new at this vegan thing and I must say, I've been rather disappointed at some of the vegan recipes I've found. Some of them don't seem very vegan to me, but maybe it's because I've been expecting something more like what you've suggested. I certainly look forward to learning about how to eliminate the processed items, sugar, oil and salt -- and still have something delightful to eat and serve my family!

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Hi Ruby,

Where did you find your recipes? On line or in cookbooks? Perhaps I can make some suggestions once I know what you are looking for. I will post some videos of my recipes as soon as my husband shows me how. I am new to computer stuff, it's much easier to make food!
I have been a culinary instructor in Los Angeles for the past 10 years. As a matter of fact I just got home from teaching a class at Whole Foods where I talk about what I call "The Evil Trinity" sugar, oil and salt. They are in everything from baby formula to geriatric formula and the more of them you eat, the more of them you want. But once you learn to eliminate them from your diet, you can taste the sweetness and saltiness that is in natural foods. Your palate adjusts and you actually appreciate the subtle flavors more than your previous way of eating. I work as a vegan/rar pastry chef at a restaurant and am able to create decadent desserts without these ingredients.
I really can't refer you to a book that doesn't have any of those 3 items. Mine has not come out yet but I do have a cooking DVD without them. In the meantime, all of Mary McDougall's cookbooks use NO OIL and not to much salt and Dr. Esselstyn's book uses NO OIL AND NO SALT. ww.fatfreevegan.com also had many great oil free recipes.

Love & Kale,
Chef AJ

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Hi Chef AJ:

I find my recipes online and in cookbooks. I have Mary McDougalls books and Esselstyn's book. Some of the recipes are good, but some of them leave a LOT to be desired. Some of the best recipes I've found are on line.

I'd love to find a good yeast bread recipe and a few dessert type recipes as well as more like Rip Esselstyn's Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna. That is fantastic!

My problem with some of the recipes is they are so foreign to me. Like Rip's New York Times Veggie Burgers. I didn't like those at all.

I guess I'd like to find dishes that are at least somewhat similar to non-vegan recipes. I wish I could figure out how to just modify my usual recipes. If you could give a few suggestions like that, I'd be delighted.

BTW, I have a vegan cookbook for desserts, but the recipes have a lot of sugar.

Thanks and I look forward to your wisdom!

Ruby

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Hi Ruby,

I just posted a video for a decadent chocolate mousse torte that we serve at the bakery. It is sweetened only with WHOLE DATES. Many vegan desserts use a ton of agave and coconut oil which is not at all healthy. I prefer to sweeten only with dates as they are a WHOLE FOOD and to use nuts or seeds instead of extracted oils.
I'm sorry I can't help you with a bread recipe. I haven't made bread in over 20 years. With the exception of an occasional whole grain tortilla, breads just don't appeal to us much anymore. It's like the whole world has gone gluten-free!

Love & Kale,
Chef AJ

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PS: I don't think Rip Esselstyn is a Doctor of anything. He's just an enthusiastic healthy vegan.:-)

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His father is a well known physician, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., author of "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" and his website is www.heartattackproof.com.

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Live and learn! Thanks for the link - I'll check the book out. :-)

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Hi.

Do you consider heat a form of processing food?

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Hi Jonathan,

I'm not exactly sure what you mean. Do you mean do I consider cooked food processed? Sometimes processed food and refined food gets used interchangeably but they are not really the same thing. For example, if I put cooked lentils and onions in my food processor to make my lentil loaf, I am processing it but I am not stripping the food of it's nutrients like when a food is refined.
I consider processed food pretty much anything with a label that comes in a can, box, bottle or bag that is not a WHOLE FOOD. So that's pretty much anything that has a label that has more then one ingredient listed.
I will eat canned salt free beans because the only ingredient is beans. But I won't eat canned bean dip. I will eat olives and flax seeds but not olive oil or flax oil. I will eat dates, but not agave.
Many vegans will eat anything if it's plant based, but for me it has to also be a whole food. Whole foods contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, pytochemicals and antioxidants. Processed Foods (and animal products) contain no fiber and few, if any micronutrients.
While some nutrients are lost by cooking food, some of the nutrients actually become MORE available when the food is cooked (e.g lycopene in tomatoes, lutein in spinach and caratenoids in carrots).
I like to go by the old Jack La Lanne adage "if God made it eat it, if man made it, don't eat it".

I hope I answered your questions. If I didn't, please write again.

Love & Kale,
Chef AJ

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Hi Chef AJ--so glad you are on vegsource! Looking forward to all of the yummy and healthy recipes!

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Glad to see so many folks are finding you here.

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Me too!

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