I have always considered Whole Foods a go-to place for plant-based groceries: nut and plant milks, tofu, tempeh, seitan, soy yogurt, and coconut ice cream, to name just a few. I did not know until recently, however, that the last Thursday of every month is “Vegan Thursday.”
Irene Devore, Culinary Demonstration Specialist at Whole Foods Market, White Plains, serves up vegan treats from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. by the coffee bar. Trained at the New York Restaurant School, Devore selects a vegan cookbook each month and demonstrates several recipes. Participants receive a copy of the recipe and, most importantly, samples of the finished product.
I observed that two types of Whole Foods customers experienced the event. The first group were those who came to the store specifically for the vegan demonstration (I was a part of that group). This group stands at the station while Chef Devore talks us through each recipe, answers questions and, of course, gives us food. The other group of customers are the curious shoppers. There is an inviting sign over the demonstration kiosk
that entices customers to stop for a sample and to hear about the recipe. On this particular Thursday there were far more of the latter. Dan Burnstein, pictured above, in town on business from Tulsa, was simply in the store to pick up supplies for his stay in White Plains. (He is a vegan and we vegans know to find a Whole Foods when traveling out out town.) He was delighted to see the Vegan Thursday sign and sample a sweet treat.
For the April “Vegan Thursday” Devore selected the classic plant-based cookbook How It All Vegan and she served up three terrific recipes: Vegan Spanakopita, Lemon Kale SooFoo Salad, and Vegan Black Bean Brownies.
The secret to the Kale Salad was the vegan “feta” (made with herbed tofu) and SooFoo, a blend of brown rice, grains and lentils. Both the herbed tofu and SooFoo are available in the store, naturally.
“Vegan Thursday” is just one of many in-store events planned by Culinary Demonstration Specialist Irene Devore. Be sure to check out the store calendar for future tastings and demonstrations. The next “Vegan Thursday” is May 26, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m., Whole Foods Market, White Plains, 110 Bloomingdale Road White Plains, NY 10605.
I Eat Plants columnist JL Fields blogs about her transition to a vegan diet and lifestyle at JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a Side of Kale. Her original recipes have been featured on Foodbuzz, BlogHer and Meatless Monday. She is the editor of the community blog Stop Chasing Skinny: Find Happiness Beyond the Scale. JL is the founder and lead consultant for JL Fields Consulting. She serves on the board of directors of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and the advisory board of Our Hen House. Follow JL on Twitter and Facebook.