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Cal Alumna Rockstar (part 2): an interview with Chef Chloe

Posted By Ryan Roschke On Apr 11, 2012 @ 11:53 pm In Sandbox | Comments Disabled

Chloe 1

Last week [1], we introduced you to adorable vegan chef, Chloe Coscarelli [2]. We were lucky enough to stop by her book signing and meet her in person, and boy is she adorable. Chef Chloe came ready to talk about food, and a batch of vegan mini cupcakes (major bonus points). To make matters even more unbearable (and we mean that in a good way), said cupcakes were adorned with glitter.

Chloe gave a talk about vegan cooking and what it means to be vegan, followed by a little Q&A session. Afterward there was a wonderful meet and greet, where the young chef proceeded to sign books and talk to her fans. She spent so much time with each person that the owners of Omnivore Books [3] were ready to close up before she was done! Now that’s too much to handle (also in a good way).

Before Chloe left the bay, we managed to snag her for a quick interview! Check it:

Chloe1Daily Clog: Were you always cooking from a young age? When did you decide you wanted to pursue a professional career in the culinary industry?

Chef Chloe: Like many kids, I cooked with my mom at a young age. She gradually gave me more responsibilities other then just “pour and stir” and then I started reading her cookbooks and together we started making dinner.  I think my dad was jealous because my mom wouldn’t let him into the kitchen to cook! The summer before my senior year of college, I got an internship at my favorite restaurant in San Francisco, Milliennium. All my friends were interning in law offices or medical research facilities, but I wanted to try something different. I learned so much and decided that after graduating Cal I would head to culinary school in New York!

DC: What first influenced you to pursue the vegetarian/ vegan lifestyle? Do you find it hard to keep up with a strict vegan diet while you’re on tour?

CC: When I was in elementary school I made the connection between my pets that I loved and the food on the table and I realized I didn’t want to eat animals anymore. Luckily, my parents were very supportive and even more so later on when I became vegan in high school.  I really feel that taking my diet to the next step allowed my choices of food to explode! It went so beyond just cheese pizza and scrambled eggs. Now my food choices included more grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits. I was eating more and feeling better.

I find it very easy to stick to a vegan diet no matter where I am in the world.  Every culture has vegetarian options and most restaurants are happy to accommodate me and leave out cheese or butter or cream. I also am a bit of a pack rat. I bring along cereal, protein bars, granola, apples and peanut butter. Maybe that’s the Berkeley hippie girl inside of me. I’m very satisfied and I don’t go hungry.

DC: What was your major at Cal? When did you decide you wanted to go to culinary school? Were your parents supportive of your decision?

CC: My major at Cal was sociology with a minor in dance. You should have seen all my Bollywood [4] dance routines! I decided in my senior year of college that I wanted to go to culinary school. My parents could not have been more supportive of my decision to attend culinary school. My mom thought it was the coolest thing.

DC: Did you always want to cook exclusively vegan food?

CC: Once I was old enough to really get in the kitchen and cook, I was already vegan so that is pretty much all I know.

DC: What advice would you give to young college students who have a passion for cooking?

CC: Go for it! Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t succeed. It’s like the old saying, “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”

DC: What’s your favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Berkeley? In San Francisco?

CC: In Berkeley, Long Life Veggie House [5] on University and Shattuck: all vegan Chinese food! My friends took me there for my birthday every year in college. In San Francisco, Millennium Restaurant [6]: it’s the best place in the world for vegan fine-dining! Their Oyster Mushroom “Calamari” is divine!

DC: We saw on your website that you used to work for Herbivore [7]! Is that where you first became interested in cooking vegan food?

CC: I went to Herbivore when I first came to Berkeley to see the school. I had one of the best meals of my life and I would have to say that cinched the deal! Now I knew I wanted to go to Berkeley! I applied to work there when they opened right down the street from my apartment in Berkeley. It was my first restaurant job! It was a hostess position, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t give customers my two cents on what my favorite dishes were!

DC: It has surely been a whirlwind for you in the past couple years, from winning Cupcake Wars [8] to your soon to be released cookbook. Did you ever think your recipes would reach so many people?

CC: Never! And it sure is gratifying to see them reach so many people.  I really love interacting with my Facebook [9] and Twitter [10] communities. When someone tells me they tried a recipe from my website or book and it was delicious, I am so happy. I love the photos of their creations as well!

DC: What’s your process for coming up with delicious and innovative recipe ideas? Is it hard to find vegan substitutions for meat and dairy products?

CC: My recipes go through a lot of stages before I can post them on my site or in the book. I really like taking traditional recipes that use animal products and “veganizing” them like Mac ‘n’ Cheese [11].

DC: After your book tour, what comes next?

CC: No time for rest. I will be getting back into the kitchen and coming up with more recipes for my next book!

Image source(s): Ryan Roschke [12] at The Daily Clog


Article printed from The Daily Clog: http://clog.dailycal.org

URL to article: http://clog.dailycal.org/2012/04/11/cal-alumna-rockstar-part-2-an-interview-with-chef-chloe/

URLs in this post:

[1] Last week: http://clog.dailycal.org/2012/04/05/cal-alumni-rockstar-chloe-coscarelli/

[2] Chloe Coscarelli: http://www.chefchloe.com

[3] Omnivore Books: http://omnivorebooks.com/

[4] Bollywood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc5OyXmHD0w&ob=av2n

[5] Long Life Veggie House: http://www.yelp.com/biz/long-life-vegi-house-berkeley

[6] Millennium Restaurant: http://www.millenniumrestaurant.com/

[7] Herbivore: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CE8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.herbivorerestaurant.com%2F&ei=zNqET6L-EqeciQKng-H2BA&usg=AFQjCNElH4nmhHSz8wwq26fo6WZfRHWKVg&sig2=bYNdbaIsHCdDjrzgw_9NwQ

[8] Cupcake Wars: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.foodnetwork.com%2Fcupcake-wars%2Findex.html&ei=sNqET-_CG4PhiAKboan1BA&usg=AFQjCNHrBYScn30fMlVZAOVcJB0KbofmdA&sig2=sTQab7i_CRXw_hPaPPQqNg

[9] Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChloeCoscarelli

[10] Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ChloeCoscarelli

[11] Mac ‘n’ Cheese: http://chefchloe.com/entrees/vegan-mac-n-cheese.html

[12] Ryan Roschke: http://clog.dailycal.org/author/rroschke/

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