Vegan and Gluten Free...
I remember way back several years ago when I was first being approached for vegan & gluten-free options I was caught off guard. My first thought was that I needed to do some research. Back then everything seemed so complicated and uncharted. I was trying to please my guests, so my approach was complex.
Fast forward to many years later...the approach is now very relaxed. Actually at times simple! I can personally thank the many quality gluten-free flours that I can now acquire so easily. That has made a huge difference. I have also learned to balance texture and flavor to complement and balance the flavors. The use of corn and rice flours are alredy used in so many dishes already! From tempura batters to cornmeal based batters I knew then that I was only building off of techniques I already knew.
As for vegan options.... at first, it was always a curve ball thrown at me when I least expected it. I was challenged to find flavors that matched the umami "meaty" flavors that always balanced out my dishes so well. I struggled to find the textures through vegetables that resembled a protein on the plate. Eventually, I found delicious options for my vegan clients and their guests. The perfectly roasted foraged mushrooms...the pan-seared thick-cut vegetable that gave a meaty texture...pickling and infusing handmade condiments into fresh vegetables to lighten and brighten their taste.
At this point in time, I feel comfortable enough to play and create dishes that my clients will be proudly serving their vegan and gluten-free guests. Cooking is good!