Chef Ayinde Howell’s new book, The Lusty Vegan, co-authored by Zoe Eisenberg, is a delicious, fun, sexy and indulgent cookbook that focuses on innovative recipes with savvy relationship advice for people that may not see pie-to-pie. Yours Truly gives some of his own relationship advice on page 89! I’ve had the lucky opportunity to both work with Ayinde as a featured chef, and eat his delectable creations at more than one glitzy event. I went back for seconds. And thirds. With his new book hitting the shelves, I got the inside scoop on what makes the perfect recipe for a book about what it takes to keep on loving food and each other.
Joshua Katcher: Which two recipes from your new book are your personal favorite?
Ayinde Howell: Orange Cream Stuffed French Toast and the Hearts of Palm Lobster Roll
Hearts of Palm Lobster Roll, from The Lusty Vegan
JK: Why is food such an issue for people in relationships or dating?
AH: Because it’s physical evidence that you agree or really disagree on a pretty key element of life. At just about every meal it can be an easy source of conflict or reassurance. The key is to have understanding, mutual respect and good vegan food. I try to address as much of these as possible with my co-author in TLV. And provide 80+ recipes for the eating part.
JK: What have you learned about relationships from writing this book?
AH: That I have been selfish in the past and didn’t know how to compromise. But I do now. Really! It’s a two way street and when we talk about building a life with someone there is a lot to consider. So if it’s a serious one, be open.
JK: List 10 ingredients you could never live without.
AH: 1. Flavored oils, truffle, sesame, olive etc.
2. vinegars, balsamic, cider, rice etc.
4. powdered herbs
5. an all purpose seasoning, I make my own but old bay is nice and a good masala curry
7. vegan butter
8. organic veggies
9. tamari sauce
JK: I love your point in the book to “let the food do the talking”. I feel like this can be applied to a lot of things. Tell us about an experience you’ve had where your food did the talking.
AH: Mostly it’s from when I worked as an executive chef in Manhattan, I would sit in the dinning room during lunch and watch as vegans would drag their non vegan co-workers to the vegan cafe. Witnessing their faces go from skepticism… to that silent fork… to plate-clanking joy never got old. I saw that worked so much better than any pamphlet or attempt at convincing.
JK: I’ve met some people who don’t like art, don’t like kids… but would you date someone who didn’t like indulging in good food?
AH: So interesting, I’d have to say no. As a chef I get a lot of inspiration from the person I’m dating pleasing her palate and surprising those testbeds is a such a fun thing.
JK: I love the theme of the book and its inclusiveness. What kind of feedback have you been getting? Any haters?
AH: Well we release on Oct7th, I’m sure there are some haters out there. My co-writer Zoe Eisenberg was called vegan whore for dating her meat eating BF by one of our ieatgrass.com commenters (at least it was a vegan whore).
JK: When are you opening a restaurant and when will I ever get to have your Mac-n-Yease again?
AH: Ha! Post writing this book I am putting together a plan and team so I can create the space I want in the the best way! I will let you know sir!
JK: What do you have your sights set on for the next year?
AH: More TV stuff, I am working on merging all my talents together and hitting the world with veganism in ways they have not seen before.
JK: What’s the best way for people to get your book?
AH: Most book stores or Amazon.com.