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Some Top Chefs Don't Seem To Get What Veganism Is

Armen Hareyan's picture
Vegan ingredients tomato mashroom and dill

As vegan lifestyle transforms and more people follow the vegan diet it's interesting to know what top chefs think about veganism and how vegan people react.


Yesterday The Independent published a story in which it discusses top chefs reveal what they really think about going vegan. One of the options there was like this: 'Would I go vegan? Over my dead body.'

Several vegan people discussed the story and those top chefs' opinions, mentioned int he story at the Vegan Philosophy Forum on Facebook and generally concluded that according to those top chefs' reasoning "most don't seem to get what veganism is all about." If you would like to get all their opinions you can read the story linked above, but in this article I will share with you how the vegan members of the group react and think about the opinions of those "top chefs."

Veganism is an Ethical Movement

One group member, named Daniel, calls the attitude of most chefs typical. "Absolutely no understanding of veganism as an ethical movement. This is why, even among my vegan friends, I get labeled as the extremist militant because I insist that we keep veganism true to its ethical roots. Every time veganism appears in the mainstream not at all affiliated with an ethical imperative to animals, it reinforces the perception that veganism is nothing more than a lifestyle choice. This completely erases the idea that veganism is something we must do because it is ethical. It makes it so easy for others, like these chefs, to just put their personal preferences forward as if that justifies not being vegan. 'Oh, I don't like that, it's not for me. I just get too much pleasure from not being vegan.' If they understood what veganism actually is, it would be shameful to use pleasure to justify their position," Daniel writes.

When you read the opinions of those chefs it's like it's all about them, their whims and desires. In fact, the animals, as sentient beings with rights, get virtually no mention.

Another vegan member of the group, named Pierre, wrote he is more sad than mad. "These people personify willful ignorance, cognitive dissonance and a human-centrist view of the world. As such they are in good company with the 97-98% of humanity who, if given the chance to express their views and have them read on-line, would essentially say many of the same things these chefs did.

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"Being part of such a huge majority, non vegans know that most other non vegans will come to their defense if their excuses and reasons are countered with logic, etc. Being confronted by a tiny percentage of vegans is no more than a slight annoyance and the solid backing of non vegans and their opinions only helps to solidify the engrained confirmation bias shared by most non vegans.

"I would guess that most of these chefs and other non vegans have never heard of Donald Watson or the definition of veganism he coined 73 years ago back in 1944. The best most non vegans could come up with if asked to define veganism would be to say that it is someone who does not eat meat. Many still confuse veganism with other forms of non veganism such as vegetarian, pescatarian, reducetarian, etc. The information regarding veganism is out there for those who seek it. As vegans, we face an uphill battle trying to educate a largely willfully ignorant public," writes Pierre.

First Good Step Though

However, I should mention that there is a bright light here too. I suppose at least veganism and vegan diet are being discussed and not completely ignored, like it doesn't exist. Maybe the next stage is understanding it. And then the stage after that thinking, well, maybe they have a point. As a result more vegan meals and menu items will be available in our restaurants.

In fact, I found this quote hopeful: One of the chefs says: "The vegans I know are devoted to what they believe in and consider it to be a way of life, which is something I respect. They inspire me to reach out of my comfort-zone." That's one of the positive points in the story.

I understand most of these top chefs can't live without meat and cheese because the entire food and restaurant industry is based on meat cooking, but some circumspection is expected from them, especially toward those, who decide to deny themselves and consume only a vegan diet. Let's hope that more top chefs will see the light in preparing more vegan foods. It's good to see that Veganism is catching on becoming one of the most popular dietary movements of 2017.

Here is another piece of good news. Now the doctors are told to recommend vegetarian and vegan diets to patients for reversing disease.

For Discussion
You go to a restaurant and ask for a vegan or vegetarian menu. What do you get? How do you react?



We went to dinner last night, and I ordered a Cobb salad, but this particular restaurant is actually well known for vegetarian options. They offer Gardein plant based protein on their menu, and of course I asked for the Gardein instead of the chicken it normally comes with. They usually are able to accommodate this request with no trouble, but last night? My salad came smothered in BACON. Yuck! We have to be so careful whenever we go out to eat! I always try to ask about every ingredient, to my server's annoyance. But for example, I recently was at another local restaurant and found out that they cook their CORN in chicken broth. Really?! Only because my server happened to be vegan would I ever have know that! I definitivamente appreciate when restaurants indicate on the menu which items are meat free.
Ethics is a lifestyle choice. Not everyone follows the same system of ethics.
It's indeed true. Some people go vegan for ethics, other for vegan diet's benefits and yet others for both.
Most times in MY choice there is no problem. But if I eat outside and not what I like or prefer and the stuff don't seemed to be nice it is much easier in this way: I'm lacto intolerant. So sometimes I say I'm VERY lacto intolerant and I don't eat animals. After I ask for vegan alternatives.