Culinary World Travels: Vegan Chef Justin P. Moore

When he first visited Berlin in the late 90s, vegan cookbook author and artist Justin P. Moore felt like he was “finally home”. But what does “home” mean to someone who was born in the American South, raised between the Marshall Islands and New Jersey suburbs, and traveled to 50 countries? Justin ditched a career in Boston, chased his dreams, and built an worldwide audience for his international series of crowdfunded, travel-inspired cookbooks – in Germany and beyond. With his third cookbook recently published and a fourth in the making, we sat down with Justin in his Kiez (German for ‘hood) Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin to talk about inspiration, challenging traditions, and “adventurous Germans”.

Hi Justin. Please introduce yourself, give us the details.
Hi, I’m Justin, an artist, designer, world traveller and the author of the international vegan cookbook series The Lotus and the Artichoke which features recipes, artwork, photography and stories inspired by my travels in nearly 50 countries. Since I was a kid I’ve always been into art, travel, photography, and cooking. I became a vegetarian when I was 15 and two years later evolved to vegan. Back then being vegan was a pretty weird and unconventional thing! This was way before the media and mainstream approved of and acknowledged plant-based nutrition, but for me it was always a very natural thing that fit with my ideas of non-violence and consciously reducing the impact of our life choices on other living things, the environment, and our own health and happiness.

You just published your third cookbook. What’s it about?
In 2012 I self-published my first cookbook, The Lotus and the Artichoke – Vegan Recipes from World Adventures, with over 120 recipes inspired by my travels. I self-published and financed the first edition of the book in English with a very successful Kickstarter crowdfunding project. That edition was sold out in a few months and a German publisher contacted me for a partnership. Shortly after that the cookbook was reprinted in English and the German edition has since been reprinted twice. It was one of my adolescent dreams to write a cookbook, but I never imagined it would be so popular! I went on to make the second cookbook focusing entirely on 3 months of travels in Mexico. This year my third cookbook was published, based on 10 weeks of exploring Sri Lanka. I originally thought my third book would focus on Indian food, my favorite cuisine, but after a week in Sri Lanka I was so blown away by the food that I knew the book would be all about Sri Lankan traditions – which are heavily influenced by the South Indian cooking traditions in the north.

What’s the concept behind these cookbooks you do?
I explore countries and cultures, cook with the locals, eat in restaurants, homes and at street food carts all over the world, and collect ideas for recipes. I do as much video, photography, travel writing and artwork as possible. I take notes everywhere about the cooking methods, ingredients and dishes I’m introduced to. When I come home, I spend several months refining the recipes, cooking and photographing everything, making the artwork and design, and working with my recipe testers and professional translator to get everything set to publish the books simultaneously in German and English. The project is financed entirely from book sales and crowdfunding campaigns. When I’m not traveling or in intense cookbook production mode, I’m usually setting up promotional and culinary events including cooking shows, dinner parties, and cooking classes to share my passion and pleasures with others.


Is everything you find already vegan or are you veganizing things a lot after you get back home?
I focus on cultures and countries that have a rich and diverse tradition of vegan and vegetarian food, so there’s not always a lot of work to adapt things if necessary to be all vegan. With my first cookbook, which features a lot of European cuisine, I did change things up quite a bit. Eastern Europe and the Balkans in particular required some creativity. I also have several French, Austrian, and German recipes where the traditional dish is almost entirely animal-based, so that takes some experimentation. Many recipes and cookbooks rely heavily on processed substitutes for meat and dairy – They don’t really re-evaluate the core recipe and cooking method. I prefer whole foods and vegetable-based ingredients, but I’m not afraid to have fun with tofu and seitan here and there. Again, many of the cuisines I’m into are already on my wavelength: for example, Mexican, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai and Sri Lankan cuisines are very vegan / vegetarian friendly. I seek to create new recipes. Some are more based on traditional recipes; others are a tribute to celebrated ingredients and methods of a particular culture.

How important is travel to you and why?
It’s hard for me imagine a life without travel, variety and new flavors! I’ve always been fascinated by languages, different ways of life, transportation, nature, art, philosophy… and adventure. I like to challenge myself and expand my horizons. I dedicate several months of every year to really diving into other cultures. This means seeing at least one new country a year and learning the basics of at least one new language. My brothers and I grew up constantly on the move, going to exotic places, living unconventionally, and I’ve always been hungry for changes and challenges. The most magical and rewarding things in life happen when I take risks, confront fears, and indulge my curiosity. I also have a son who’s now 2 1/2 and my partner and I do our best to introduce him to other cultures and countries. He’s been to over a dozen countries, speaks two languages, and has a good time pretty much wherever he is. We have the opportunity and privilege to live a full, exciting and rewarding life, and it’s something that we appreciate and enjoy taking advantage of. These are our priorities and our passions, and they are constantly evolving. I like to encourage others to follow their dreams and explore the world, but as with my dietary choices, I try not to judge others for their choices. I respect and in some ways envy those that are very rooted and established where they live. The world is made up of so many beliefs and opinions. I follow mine, but I’m very intrigued by how others seek their bliss and find meaning and purpose.


You’ve been traveling to some remote places – what’s the strangest story you have when it comes to getting something vegan to eat?
When I travel anywhere, and when I meet new people, I almost never immediately introduce myself as a vegan, nor do I just focus on me, my eating restrictions and requirements. Instead, I try to make a personal connection and express respect and interest in the culture. A few words of greeting, in the local language, and basic friendliness open doors like nothing else. If you travel the world expecting to find difficulty, you’ll definitely find it. I prefer to believe I’ll always find something to eat, and it almost always works out for me.

I have two stories I love to tell, one from rural China, the other from rural Germany. I was out in the middle of nowhere in an industrial town a day’s ride from Beijing, on my way to visit Buddhist caves in the countryside. I hadn’t seen any other foreigners, and everything, everywhere was in Mandarin (Chinese). I went to the restaurant in my hotel and started trying to decipher the menu with my phrase book. The waiter came over and it was clear he wanted to take my order, so I smiled and greeted him and started trying to order some familiar vegetable dishes. It was going absolutely nowhere. This poor guy was just nodding and smiling, but then looking around nervously. My attempts with broken Chinese phrases and simplified English weren’t working. He holds up his hands and then runs into the kitchen. I was utterly confused. Two minutes later the doors to the kitchen fly open and what appeared to be the entire kitchen crew, almost a dozen cooks, come waltzing out and form a line in front of me. They’re all holding different foods for me to inspect and select, I gather. So I’m like, okay, yes, broccoli, tofu, carrots, yes, yes, yes, egg, no thanks, noodles, yes, rice, yes, and so on. By this point everyone in the restaurant is smiling and looking at us and there’s a lot of laughter. Then the cooks return to the kitchen. Ten minutes later they start bringing out one dish after another. In total I got probably five or six dishes and it was all super delicious. Amazing things happen when you just do your best to respectfully communicate your desires and then let go and let the cooks do their creative magic!

I’ve had experiences similar to this in many parts of the world. The same principle functions in rural Germany. I arrived with my partner at some inn totally out in the countryside. First we asked if they had a room for us, then I pointed out how interesting the menu for the restaurant looked, “Oh look, so many vegetable dishes. And a whole page of vegetarian stuff. Great, this will work!” They mananger is telling me how the kitchen loves creative challenges and they can just put something together for us with all kinds of salads, vegetable, grains, etc. Without mentioning the V word, I answer her questions as to what we like: sautéed vegetables, cous cous, all kinds of fresh herbs and spices, but no butter or cream, etc. And again, we get this amazing meal, we eat every crumb off of the plates. The manager comes back over and asks how it was. We, of course, tell her how happy we are and how it was delicious and we are so grateful for their generosity and flexibility. And then she says, seriously, “Oh, we love cooking up special stuff. And that was totally easy! Thank god you’re nothing like all of those totally impossible vegans!” And we just laughed… she really had no idea their kitchen just made a vegan feast and that reasonable, modest vegans actually exist!


You settled down in Berlin – why Berlin?
I visited Germany for the first time in the late 90’s primarily to go to art museums, but also because I was intrigued by the language, and my favorite authors were German – most notably Hermann Hesse. I fell in love with the city. I was riding a bus on the second night here and a powerful wave of emotion hit me. I felt like I was really home for the first time in my life. I never really thought I belonged in the U.S. – I always felt like a visitor, or like America was just my early schooling. I got a degree in painting and printmaking and worked in interactive design and advertising for several years in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City before moving to Berlin. That makes it sounds so simple and straight-forward, but it took me a while to collect the courage to break from my career and move so far away from my family, with whom I’m quite close. I backpacked around Asia for six months before making the transatlantic leap. In 2001, I bought a one way flight and booked an intensive German class. The art scene — and the vegetarian / vegan scene — were still very much in their early years, and it’s amazing to see how both have flourished. In my travels, especially in India, I met so many wild and adventurous Germans, and I love the German approach to travel: the answer to “Have you been to…?” is never simply “No”, but rather “Not Yet” or “Yes, but *only* for 6 weeks”. This mentality, and the geographical proximity to the East were driving factors for my decision to relocate to Berlin. The cost of living here is also extremely reasonable, and I love the fantastic variety of culinary and cultural activities and places.


What’s next on your bucket list? Where to go next?
Tomorrow I’m leaving for a 5 week adventure in Malaysia! We plan to travel all around the country and also visit Singapore and Borneo. I’m still not sure how many different places I’ll visit, and how it will influence my next cookbook project — I’ll decide a lot of that along the way and let things flow and take form. I do have a list of places I’ve read and heard about. I’m really looking forward to the food and getting to know people there; cooking with locals, learning some of the language, getting a feel for life in other places is more interesting to me than just seeing all the tourist sights and staying in a posh hotel. There’s a very rich history of culinary fusion in this part of South East Asia. I’m especially excited for all of the Indian and Chinese neighborhoods, restaurants, and street food. While there, I’m meeting up with a few other travelers and backpackers, some of which I’ve been writing with for years but haven’t met yet, and others I do already know in real life. Crossing paths on the other side of the world is always great fun!

Alright, thanks a lot for the interview.
Thanks very much, too!

click here for Justin’s website



Photos by JP Bevins

Chef Dan Strong is co-owner of one of New York City’s most sought-after food stands. I’ve waited on many a long line for Chickpea & Olive’s famed Phatty Beet Slider as earlier customers walk by groaning in pleasure. With his partner Danielle Ricciardi, the duo are one of the city’s power couples reshaping the gastronomic landscape. In this third installment of LÄRABAR’s Healthy Hero series, we spend an afternoon with Chef Strong as he shares an amazing mazemen recipe and features a cherry pie LÄRABAR crusted Zabaglione. We get to hear what inspires this butcher-turned-vegan chef, what frustrates and calls to him, and we even get some insight into what he soon plans to ferment.


Joshua Katcher: I’ve eaten your food and it’s awesome. What is your creative process for developing new foods?
Chef Dan Strong: Inspiration, procrastination, exasperation, coffee, serve the first draft, and keep adjusting until I have a recipe. Often Danielle and I will find a recipe for something we miss and then I will try to rebuild each piece. For thanksgiving I found a Bon Appetit recipe for cornbread stuffing with pears and banger sausage. So first step, find an authentic cornbread recipe and test it until I have a solid vegan version. Then I turn to the next piece. I imagine it’s like any of the creative processes that I can’t do: draw on inspiration, figure out how to make it authentic, and then adapt it to reflect a noble truth.


JK: Chickpea & Olive has a huge following. What is it like to maintain such a sought-after brand in New York City?
DS: It’s an honor. I go into work everyday and feel obligated to make each dish better than it was the day before. I don’t know if I’m always successful, but I always try. Maybe it’s a little salt on the bread, or the three layers of sauce on our phatty melt, or a little extra sear on the burger. I like to think that those little details get translated to our customers. They might not be able to put their finger on what made their sandwich “so good”, but they have to go tell their friends about it.


JK: The mainstream culinary community seems to look down upon vegan cuisine, yet so many exciting things are happening with it. How do you account for this disconnect?
DS: Change always starts when the artists pick it up. Next, Alinea, Picholine, Gramercy Tavern, Del Posto, Per Se…. Every one of them has a vegan tasting menu. Jean George Vongerichten is opening a plant based restaurant. I see that the food culture is moving in that direction, but I’m still frustrated every time someone looks at our menu and sneers. But hey, the way I see it, the 6th mass extinction is already underway. Why grumble?


JK: Tell us about the food you made today.
DS: We have a buckwheat somen mazemen in miso-shiitake gravy, with pan roasted mushrooms, okra, bokchoy, snow peas, and grilled tempeh in a chili black bean marinade. For dessert we went Italian with a cashew zabaglione, and we used LÄRABAR for the crust.

Buckwheat Mazemen (family size)



  • 8 quarts water
  • 1 pound dry shiitake mushrooms or 2 pounds mushroom stems
  • 1/2c Shiro miso

Tempeh marinade:

  • 1/4c spicy black bean paste
  • 1/4c stir fry sauce
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • 2tbsp peanut oil

1/2lb each:

  • Okra, trimmed and split in half
  • bokchoy, cleaned and cut in cross-sections
  • snow peas
  • tempeh

1/4lb each:

  • oyster mushrooms, rough chopped
  • shiittake mushrooms, rough chopped


  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 inch ginger, diced

2lb soba noodles

  • Bring water to a simmer, and add the miso and the mushroom stems. Toast half of the chopped garlic, shallots, and ginger in a pan with a little oil until caramelized and add to the pot of water. Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Cut tempeh into 1 inch cubes and marinate over night, or at least for a few hours. assemble on a lined sheet tray and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.
  • Pan roast the mushrooms with oil in batches until golden brown, seasoning each batch with salt. Toast the remaining garlic, ginger, and shallots until caramelized and toss all of the mushrooms back into the pan. Stir until the mushrooms and aromatics are fully incorporated.
  • Remove the mushrooms stems from the broth with a spider or strainer and bring the broth to a boil. Blanch the snow peas, the bokchoy and the okra in the broth in batches, removing each ingredient after and running under cold water. This step is especially important for the okra.
  • Cook the noodles in the broth for 5-6 minutes and remove a portion to each serving bowl. Return the vegetables to the broth, add the mushrooms and let the pot return to a simmer, then ladle the broth over the noodles. Garnish with the baked tempeh.


JK:You used LÄRABAR to make a really good dessert. What about LÄRABAR do you like? Do you have a favorite flavor?
DS: LÄRABARs are simple, delicious, and remind me of many of my favorite desserts. I ate the blueberry muffin today, it was excellent, but peanut butter cookie is my favorite.

Larabar-Crusted Cashew Zabaglione


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp marsala
  • 1 cherry larabar
  • Combine everything but the larabar in a high speed blender and puree until creamy. transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a boil. set aside.
  • Place the larabar in between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out with a rolling pin or a bottle of marsala wine until its about an 8th of an inch thick. line the inside of a ramekin with the larabar roll-up. press into the corners.
  • Pour the cashew mixture into the ramekin and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours until the custard sets.
  • Garnish with marsala wine reduction or sprinkle with caster sugar and brûlée with a torch.


JK: Where do you get most inspired when buying ingredients?
DS: In my early days I used to wander the markets in Chinatown for inspiration. Nowadays I go mushroom foraging whenever I have a chance. When I don’t have time for all of that I go to union square farmers market. Lani’s farm has an amazing organic selection with all sorts of weird looking root vegetables, and sweet berry mountain farms has something in the order of 6 varieties of heirloom fingerling potatoes. The German butterballs are incredible.


JK: Have you discovered any new foods that you’re excited about using?
DS: Not so much “using” as making. We have started along hummus recently, and that project has gotten me interested in other packaged products. I want to start fermenting pickles and cheeses, and I found a tofu misozuke recipe that I’m excited about. LÄRABAR was fun to use as well. The ingredients like date, cherry and almond, are fantastic for chefs because they’re simple and versatile. They’re great on their own, but in this case it was a convenient way to make a tasty, gluten-free crust.

JK: Aside from gastronomy, what else do you spend time doing?
DS: Binging on NPR, yoga, fantasy novels, and therapy.


JK: What must we all try? (Food or not)
DS: If I had my chance to be a dictator? Everyone would have mandatory therapy. I also think everyone should try a plant based diet. I’m vegan because as I see it veganism is a form of protest. The plant based diet that comes with that protest has made me healthier than I’ve ever been.

JK: What does the future hold for Chickpea & Olive?
DS: Fast casual restaurants, tinned and potted products, packaged dips and spreads. And then I want to diverge and try to do a trattoria, a bistro, and a noodle shop. Danielle wants a juice bar and a raw shop. Maybe also a saprophytic mushroom farm! And a creamery! And a cheese cellar! But I digress.



Richie Kul isn’t just a model. He’s an Ivy League educated, vegan model with a passion for being a hero. He’s articulate, warm and perpetually using his powers for good. I’d seen Richie in various campaigns from brands like Swatch and VAUTE to organizations like Animals Asia, PETA and Compassion over Killing, so when we finally got to meet in person over some Beyond Sushi in NYC’s East Village, I found that there was much more depth to Kul than first meets the eye.

Joshua Katcher: How did you end up in front of the camera?
Richie Kul: After graduating from Stanford with degrees in Economics and Organizational Behavior, I was convinced that a career in finance was the next logical step. Through stints as an Investment Banking Analyst and Finance Director, I came to realize that a life poring over spreadsheets and company financials wasn’t for me so I reflected back on the times I’d been approached in shopping malls or on vacation about modeling and figured I’d give it a serious go. Ten years, twenty countries and countless memories and friendships later, I’m really glad I took that leap.


JK: I always see photos of you with your dog. What’s her story?
RK: Lily is a rescue and was found abandoned in a foreclosed home in Las Vegas. At the tender age of 4, she’s proven to be a chip off the old block and has already participated in a number of photo shoots and developed quite the extensive portfolio and fan base all her own. In fact, for many of the animal welfare campaigns I’ve shot, it’s been specifically requested that she be featured front and center. She’s vegan as well since I didn’t feel it made any sense to nourish and sustain life at the expense of others. I actively researched how healthy it was to have her on a plant based diet and found that many pups have thrived on them so it was an easy choice. Many people have commented on how energetic and happy she is, and her cruelty free path has inspired others to make similar shifts for their pups and themselves. She’s quite the ambassador for cruelty free living!


JK: Being vegan in the fashion industry can be challenging. Have you ever refused to wear something, or walked off a shoot? Does animal activism and modeling coexist smoothly?
With clients I’ve worked with previously, they’re generally more accommodating and willing to make adjustments. I try to be reasonable and recognize that, with notable exceptions, fashion by and large is not vegan friendly and to help bring about meaningful change, you sometimes have to work from within while sowing well-placed seeds. I have worn products that incorporate wool, silk or leather but if I find that it’s egregious and obtrusive like a leather jacket or fur coat, I’ll opt out. Sometimes stylists and clients are receptive, and sometimes I’ve simply had to walk away. Work is not life and life is not work, but the daily decisions you make contribute greatly to shaping who you are, and at the end of the day you have to be able to put head to pillow knowing you stood up for what you believe in and didn’t compromise your integrity.


JK: What is dating like for a working model with strong principles?
Early on, I was fortunate to have found someone who shares my principles of compassion and non-violence and that’s proven to be a major source of comfort and strength. So thankfully I haven’t had to contend with the dating scene much but I know it’s a struggle in any relationship to strike that balance between standing firm in your convictions while being malleable enough to allow for personal and shared growth.

JK: You’ve been all over the world, what are some of the best spots you’ve found for food, clothing, and culture?
RK: There are always cruelty free options and outlets available if you’re proactive in seeking them out. On the fashion front, the U.S. is light years ahead of its international counterparts. A number of great American brands have emerged here over the past decade so I like to do most of my shopping Stateside. With regard to food though, I’ve found it easier to find vegetarian and vegan fare in Asia when I’m there for work vs. most places in the States or Europe (New York City, Los Angeles, and London being notable exceptions). In Buddhist countries, vegetarian restaurants are more integrated into the fabric of everyday life, and when I was in Bangkok last month, I overlapped fortuitously with the Thai Vegetarian Festival which ran for two weeks this year. It enjoys widespread participation and it was so easy to find tasty options wherever I went.

Style: "Neutral"

JK: In the fashion world, awareness of race and ethnicity is very heightened due to desired aesthetics. Have you experienced any forms of racism in the fashion world?
Workwise, being different from the conventional standard of beauty has proven to be both blessing and curse. Agents regularly send out casting briefs where clients have explicitly stated “No African American or Asian models.” That brazenness initially irked me but in the end I prefer not to commit time and energy trying to appeal to someone who is completely closed off and not receptive to diversity. I’ve also found that particularly in the high fashion world, clients often accentuate stereotypes and when they do incorporate Asian models into a campaign, they’re rather likely to further a cliché aesthetic of porcelain skin and slanted eyes that doesn’t actually represent many Asians or Asian Americans. On set I’ve been lucky to have met and worked with lots of creative, progressive individuals who see diversity as something worth celebrating and actively promoting. They take note of the growing clout of consumers in the Far East and find that incorporating someone of that background into their brand image enables them to better capitalize on those markets and I respect that. In the end, casting decisions are often very deliberate and well calculated and go beyond whether they like you as a person or think you’re attractive. So while I don’t always agree with those decisions, I also don’t take them to heart.

JK: Books, music, art and ideas… What is inspiring you right now?
The growing awareness of the ethical, environmental and health benefits of going vegan excites and inspires me more than anything. Seeing public figures like James Cameron, Ellen Degeneres, Brad Pitt, Cory Booker and fellow Cardinal Griff Whalen extoling the virtues of a plant based diet gives me great hope that through their words and examples, many hearts and minds will awaken to the idea that we as humans should be caretakers rather than exploiters of our fellow animals. Traditionally, I’ve been pretty conventional in my music tastes and usually listen to a lot of top 40 – Coldplay, One Republic, Sam Smith, Train, The Script. But lately I’ve been getting more adventurous and have been digging some great indy artists slightly off the beaten path like Mat Kearney and Andrew Ripp. My favorite though is Ilse Gevaert, particularly her single “I Am Human”. I love her textured voice and her personal story of overcoming struggles in her life and I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which she approaches her craft. On the art front, I really like the work of Mark Humphrey, a NY based artist who incorporates a lot of thoughtful shapes, textures and colors into his pieces. His work is elegant while still being affordable.

JK: Have you acquired a sense of style since working in fashion? What fashion tips do you have for other guys who may not have been dressed by many stylists?
RK: Day to day I’m admittedly very much a cut off tee, shorts and sandals kind of guy. Every now and again there are opportunities to spruce myself up and in those instances I have definitely benefited from seeing talented stylists at work. Top tips I’ve acquired along the way include ensuring that garments really fit and flatter your body type regardless of the size on the label and being premeditated when it comes to big purchases. Go ahead and splurge a little if you feel you’ll get some long-term utility out of something but make it neutral enough that you can pair it with lots of other pieces. Male wardrobes tend to experience less turnover so it’s all about making those decisions smart and impactful.


JK: You’re in your undies a lot – firstly, what’s your favorite underwear, and second, what do you do to maintain such envious abs?
Being a Miami-based model, you shoot a lot of underwear and swimwear jobs. When I first started modeling it wasn’t something I envisioned doing much of, but as a vegan I’ve seized on it as an opportunity to combat the widespread perception of vegetarians and vegans being sickly and emaciated. Modeling has been a platform that’s allowed me to show people that you can live a cruelty free lifestyle while still being healthy and strong. Plus most underwear is cotton based and thus vegan friendly so that’s a major bonus. I’m not obsessive about fitness but I do make it a point to work out every day. Though a lot of my routine centers around lifting weights, I try to mix it up with battle ropes, muscle ups, TRX, Pilates and various targeted abs exercises like planks and hanging leg raises. My daily cardio I have Lil to thank for as we regularly go for jogs along the beach in the evenings.

JK: What must we all try?
I think we’re happier, more interesting people when we proactively seek out our passions in life. I’ve found that tremendous fulfillment can be achieved in reaching beyond ourselves and helping others, and while everyone is different, I derive great satisfaction and purpose in advocating for rescue, animal welfare, and vegan advocacy groups.

KNOWWEAR feat. Brave GentleMan, GIG Radio Interview on SIRIUS XM, & John Corbett

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• KNOWWEAR recently featured our recycled-PET Brave GentleMan “Covert” three-piece, Italian, vegan suit. KNOWWEAR is a new online space that cuts out third-party retailers by bringing the latest products directly to you through a carefully crafted daily editorial experience. They’ve been featured on’s The GQ Eye and we love the clean, perfectly styled experience almost as much as trying it on ourselves.

• You can hear all about the Brave GentleMan suits since I was interviewed this week on business mogul and vegan environmentalist John Shegerian’s Green Is Good Radio. Green is Good broadcasts on SIRIUS XM. Green is Good Radio is a fantastic resource for any professional looking to make their business more sustainable. You can subscribe on iTunes or listen live on channel 244 on Saturdays at 5pm.

• You may know that Mr. John Corbett has played leading men on telvision from Northern Exposure to Sex and the City and The United States of Tara. But did you know he’s now a musician and a vegetarian of over 20 years? John recently lent his famous voice for a Farm Sanctuary video about a pretty amazing pig, The Doctor. Check it out below, and his full interview here. Tweet at John to tell him thanks for being a hero to animals: @realjohncorbett


Art & Animals: An Interview with Giovanni Aloi

-2In Giovanni Aloi’s groundbreaking book, Art & Animals, the reader is asked to look critically at the way in which animals – living, dead or in representation, have been and are increasingly used in contemporary art. Dealing with identity, “otherness” and down the roots of civilization itself, the book is insightful, inspiring and yet very worrying for anyone involved in the creative industries, or anyone who is concerned and fascinated by animals and the environment. Aloi’s honed analysis is informed by almost seven years of experience as Founder and Editor in Chief of Antennae, the Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. Giovanni and I spoke via email:


JOSHUA KATCHER: We deal a lot with masculinity on The Discerning Brute, mainly from a critical perspective regarding the illusion that exploiting animals is a reflection of strength and virility. In your book you refer to natural history dioramas as “a violent subjugation of nature, a typically masculine endeavor, manifestation of the deep desire to possess and control nature, arresting life in a three-dimensional photographic capture designed to educate and inspire while also demonstrating human supremacy over nature”.  Where else do you see conventions of patriarchy being sought out in the art world regarding our use of animals? In your book, Zang Huan’s muscle/meat suit seems to have avoided a machismo interpretation.

GIOVANNI ALOI: This is a very interesting question. That quote from my book is substantially informed by the writing of Donna Haraway, her famous essay on taxidermy titled ‘Teddy Bear Patriarchy’, and was needed within the main context in order to reflect the current predominantly negative, cultural approach to taxidermy. I still believe that statement to be very much true when considered with regards to the golden age of taxidermy (late Victorian period) which led to the expansion of natural history collections around the world. The synergic conflation of gun, camera, gaze and the desire to possess involved in taxidermy of the golden age predominantly was the resultant of traditionally masculine perceptions and attitudes towards the wider world, not just animals. As aptly pointed out by Hogart in the famous series of engravings titled The Four Stages of Cruelty (1751), what we do to animals, we are likely to do to other humans…in a literal or metaphorical sense, I would add.

Since the writing of the book I have been further developing my views on taxidermy (a project that will be published next) and most especially on its ambiguous presence in contemporary art. The current revival of taxidermy is a much more complex phenomenon that some claim. In my opinion it has less to do with a sense of guilt for colonialism, a reparational practice, and much more to do with where we are right now, culturally and historically. Continue reading “Art & Animals: An Interview with Giovanni Aloi”