Chef praises plant-based diet
Chef Sarah Forrester-Wendt enjoys working with vegetables at her Charlottetown restaurant
Once thought of as the cuisine solely belonging to a specific set of the population, meatless meal preparation has come to the fore in recent years.
According to Loblaw’s Canada, 2017 will bring on the rise of the “conscious consumer”.
“Canadians will put the spotlight on vegetables first with smaller portions of sustainably sourced protein. Alternative proteins (think insects and plant-based) will increase.”
I’ve personally eaten insects on my travels to Asia (scorpions), and the prospect of mainstream home cooks preparing insects may be a little tough to swallow, at least for now.
Alternatively, plant-based proteins are increasingly approachable and affordable. Chefs are celebrating vegetables by making them the star of the plate in 2017, and guests are willing and eager to see the diversity of humble vegetables like strikingly coloured root vegetables such as carrots and beets.
One of the newest restaurants in the P.E.I. culinary landscape plants itself firmly alongside the vegetables it proudly serves. My Plum, My Duck, on University Avenue in Charlottetown, is run by owner/operator, chef Sarah Forrester-Wendt, a selfproclaimed “macro-mom”.
Forrester-Wendt is not new to the game of vegetarian/ vegan cuisine; it is a diet she was raised on since childhood.
“I was raised on a macrobiotic diet. My father recovered from stage 4 non-hodgkins lymphoma over 35 years ago by adopting this lifestyle.”
The macrobiotic diet became popularized in the 1960s and focuses on the mindful consumption of organic grains, beans/ sea vegetables and vegetables.
Chef Sarah has carried forward her lifetime of understanding of the balance and vitality meatless eating can bring in her newly opened restaurant. Her menu offers on-trend dishes, like Ramen Noodle Bowls, traditional macrobiotic soups, “Schteak” made from wheat gluten known as seitan and house-made desserts.
What can one expect upon a first visit to My Plum, My Duck? “A bright, cozy restaurant with a wonderful staff and a menu with a variety of choices, says Forrester-Wendt.”
Chef Sarah loves the discovery found in preparing vegetables as she finds it exciting to “see how many things you can make out of each ingredient. I love pickling. I pickle almost everything.”
The name of the restaurant is one with a great story, which is a loving nod to her ties to her family and the inception of Chef Sarah’s lifelong journey of meatless meal preparation.
“The name of the restaurant is a term of endearment. It’s what my dad called my mom
when I was a kid. It makes me happy.”
When it comes to the benefits of a meatless diet, ForresterWendt thinks a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to go.
“People are often surprised that you can eat a balanced meal and get all your protein and vitamins. It’s great for your heart and can lower your cholesterol. Plus it can be really fun and creative.”
Chef Sarah’s recipe for a meatless version of “crab cakes” is an illuminating exercise in demonstrating the diversity of plant-based proteins.
Chef Sarah Forrester-Wendt, right, is shown at her Charlottetown restaurant My Plum, My Duck on University Avenue in Charlottetown, with chef Ilona Daniel.
Tempeh “crab” cakes with sugar and gluten free mustard pickles, egg-free remoulade, and sauteed collard greens are prepared by chef Sarah Forrester-Wendt at her Charlottetown restaurant My Plum, My Duck.
Chef Sarah Forrester-Wendt, left, and chef Ilona Daniel work in the kitchen of My Plum, My Duck restaurant, preparing collard greens to accompany Forrester-Wendt’s vegan “crab” cakes.