By Emily Pickelson
12:17 PM EDT, April 8, 2013
What is your exact role at G-Zen?
Summarize the food for someone who's never been there.
Upscale vegan food.
Are people ever scared to eat vegan?
All the time – people get concerned about vegan food. I usually refer to it as vegetarian.
What would you recommend for a die-hard carnivore?
Tofu and portabella napoleon with mashed potatoes and "gravy-" it has a very "manly" taste, so to speak. Of course, we are a complete restaurant – we don't cut corners. There is a pastry chef onsite and everything is fresh and organic, so you will get a fine dining experience.
What is your advice to conscientious diners?
Eat organic whenever possible. And change your habits! Some people are forced to change because of health issues, which honestly makes it easier. In my experience, the hardest group to reach is teenagers. But you can start with little changes, such as buying a bundle of organic produce every week. A vegan diet is also much more sustainable – 900 less animal per year will die if you eat vegan. But if you do eat meat, go small and local, and avoid processed meats.
Are you concerned about Genetically Modified Foods?
I think they should be clearly labeled. If someone wants to buy a pepper, they should know if it has been genetically modified. Other potentially harmful foods are labeled. Big agriculture is trying to stabilize the food source and make it sustainable, to be fair, but the public has a right to know.
What local produce does G-Zen use?
We grow our own at Shadle Farms – which is my farm. We are not currently growing but planting for all of our greens for the summer. We also go to Sweet Birch farms in Meriden for kale and squash. Baldor Produce, which is all organic out of New York City, is a great supplemental supply for produce too.
What are easy and good tips for people who are interested in the raw food/vegan lifestyle?
A quick Google search of "becoming vegan/vegetarian" will yield great results. Also, clean out your refrigerator and pantry, read all product labels before you buy, and take your time in the beginning when you shop. There are lots of local stores that sell organic and co-op in bulk. You can also freeze portions for variety and menu planning.
What do you eat at home?
Cereal! At night! I don’t have any food in the house! Just kidding. I bring a little box of organic produce home from the restaurant – I’m fortunate that where I work is a fantastic source of good sustainable foods. I personally eat vegan and enjoy juicing. I start out each day with a green drink instead of coffee.
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