Joining Bon Appétit’s Vegan Chef Trainings

Copy of P1040816Silky Sea Palms (seaweed) and California Kombu (kelp)

This summer, Director of Specialty Culinary Programs Jim Dodge and longtime Bon Appétit friend and author Raghavan Iyer toured the country to help host Bon Appétit Management Company’s Vegan Chef Trainings. I joined the Northern California Training, held at eBay’s headquarters in San Jose. It was a fun and flavorful affair! It was especially exciting to see the variety of ingredients with which Bon Appétit chefs cook. Many, such as seaweed, house-made seitan, and nut butters, are less mainstream but nonetheless nutritious and delicious. In this post, I include two of my favorite recipes from the Training. Please enjoy and let us know what you think!

P1040857 Jamie Dominguez, Executive Chef at Mills College

The Jamaican Curried Vegetable Hand Pies with Cashew Sour Cream I sampled are divine. I have never considered myself a hand pie enthusiast, but the experience of eating this one has not left my mind. Although this recipe, adapted from Raghavan Iyer, is quite involved, you will find these flavors insatiable. For the adventurous cooks out there, check out the recipe:  

Jamaican Curried Vegetable Hand Pies with Cashew Sour Cream 

Serves 24


I. Pie Dough

5 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2.5 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons sea salt

¾ cup canola oil

3-4 teaspoon water

1 cup cold water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add oil and mix with a paddle attachment at low speed. Mix together only until the mixture starts to clump slightly. Add cold water and continue to mix until dough starts to form. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until the dough comes together. Cover and chill until needed.  

II. Filling

4 lb Calabria, Acorn, or Butternut squash

4 medium-large red peppers, diced

4 small scotch bonnet pepper, carefully seeded and diced (for a less-spicy dish, substitute milder jalapeño or serrano peppers)

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup diced onion

4 large scallions, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root

3 tablespoons fresh thyme

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Canola oil

Preheat oven to 275°F. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds. Cover the exposed flesh with oil. Place the cut side down on a sheet pan and roast until tender (~40 minutes). Then remove from oven and flip over to allow the steam to evaporate. Once cooled, remove the skin and place in a large bowl.  Saute the onion, peppers, garlic and ginger until onions and peppers are tender. Add the thyme and dry spices and continue to saute for another minute. Blend the zucchini, sauteed mixture, salt and pepper to the squash. Divide the dough into 24 equal round pads. Roll each into about 6 inch ovals.

 Preheat oven to 400°F. Fill one side of the oval with filling, leaving ½ inch on the edges. Lightly brush the edges with water. Fold over and crimp the edges with a fork. Place on parchment lined sheet pans. Bake for about 20 min or until brown.


III. Cashew Sour Cream

2 cups cashews

2 tablespoon miso

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Combine in a blender and process until chopped. Slowly add water to desired consistency. Use the Cashew Sour Cream as a dip or spread and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Bon Appétit!

P1040864 Shannon Donnahue, Field Marketing Coordinator

When it was time to divvy up which chefs would cook which dishes for the Training, Shannon and I naturally gravitated towards dessert. Shannon Donahue is Bon Appétit’s Field Marketing Coordinator and helped to organize the Trainings. Together, we took a stab at making 100 servings of vegan brownies. To our delight, it was a success! Chewy and fudgy, these brownies are the perfect consistency and taste exactly as one would hope. Not to mention, this recipe is straight forward and easy. That is, if you’re not trying to quintuple the recipe. Here’s the recipe, adapted from Jim Dodge.


Vegan Brownies 

Makes ½ sheet pan 

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup cocoa powder

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoons sea salt

4 cups raw sugar

2 cups canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups water

2 cups dairy free chocolate chips (optional)

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine and blend together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients at slow speed and mix only until evenly blended and smooth. Do not over mix. Add the chocolate chips and walnut and blend only until incorporated. Pour into a lightly oiled and floured ½ sheet. Bake for about 20 – 25 min, or until the center is set to-the-touch (or until you cannot wait longer). Set aside to cool on a rack. Voila!