My name is Chantal Bekhor and I started Vegetarian Gourmet to share my favorite vegetarian recipes and holiday menus with you!
This website is designed to give creative meal ideas to meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. It's ideal for those of you who are looking to add more vegetables and meat-free dishes to your menus.
As a Foodie, I never compromise on taste and quality. When cooking, whether for my family or for a big dinner party, the food must be delicious, creative and really satisfying. That's where the "Gourmet" comes in. This website is all about big and bold flavors! It's important never to feel that you have settled by eating vegetarian food. Yes, vegetarian cooking is generally healthier, but it can be as gourmet as any other. When I develop the recipes you will find on this website, I use quality ingredients, time-tested techniques and tools, a variety of exotic spices and creative ways of bringing all of them together in winning recipes!
I also love to explore different cultures and cuisines from all around the world. Inspiration comes from looking at their take on vegetarian cooking. And if a dish includes meat, I get creative and adapt it using legumes, tofu or other meat replacements. I have been experimenting and testing all sorts of meat replacements for so many years that I can teach you how best to use them well. That is what makes the recipes on this website so special and trustworthy. I encourage you to try them out when cooking for yourself.
I've been cooking and baking since I was 12 years old and my early love for cooking came from my mother. My mother is a wonderful cook and hostess, even though she has a very demanding job as a physician. Eating a proper meal with the family was always important to her, who had to come up with healthy dinners on weeknights after getting home from work. Her task became even more difficult when I decided to become a vegetarian; from that point on, she was practically planning 2 meals for the family. That's when I stepped in. As a fifteen year old, I would try to come up with a meal the whole family would eat that did not include meat. It was difficult at the time. My repertoire was limited to a vegetable stir fry or pasta with tomato sauce! My older brother and sister were pretty tough critics, which pushed me to try to expand my cooking knowledge. Slowly I started experimenting with different types of meat replacements such as beans and legumes, tofu, seitan, and TVP. It came naturally to me. I could imagine what I wanted a dish to taste like and boom...there it was! Over the years, I have developed so many thousands of ingredient combinations for making a fulfilling and delicious vegetarian meal.
It's also at home that I learned to entertain. When I was growing up, I remember so well the parties and gathering my mother used to host. She bought the freshest ingredients and made delicious and creative dishes. Everyone was always so impressed with how the house was so well decorated and how the table was so elegant. She even made beautiful centerpieces combining flowers, herbs and vegetables. My parents loved to entertain and have the house full of people (and still do!). Whether it was a special occasion or our family Friday-night dinners, every gathering was always important. I loved to help my mother prepare for these gatherings. When I was very young, I would do things like wrap the cutlery in napkins and as I grew up I would make a lot of the dishes on the menu. It was just so much fun!
Whatever your cooking inspiration, or reasons for wanting to add vegetarian recipes to your menu, I encourage you to try the recipes on this website. Please feel free to provide your comments and feedback. I would really love to hear from you!
The Vegetarian Gourmet
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