Continuing my journey, eating vegan in Buenos Aires, I come to what was one of my favourite meals. Even after being back in England for over a month, time has not dulled the memory of a Palermo Hollywood restaurants famous Raw Cannelloni…Oh my...so good I ate it twice (on different days!)...I recall with fondness every texture, every layer of flavour, every brightening herb, and every delightful crunch and chaw.
All vegan, nothing cooked. The cannelloni is made from dehydrated vegetables and filled with a béchamel sauce and colourful shredded veggies, red sauce is drizzled over the top with minced onions and fresh herbs. Nutty sprouted quinoa and activated almonds (soaked and then dehydrated to give them a supreme crunchiness) scattered across the dish. The guac was chunky and the dark, flavoursome olives gave a 3rd, 4th, 5th dimension to the whole ensemble. Oh how my heart beats a little faster at the memory!
The menu is printed in English too. The waitresses have a canny knack of spotting a language-shy English speaker at twenty paces. The food at BA Verde is not totally raw, nor is it totally vegan. 90% of their desserts have honey as a sweetener, or sugar. It is 100% vegetarian. Their salads with raw crackers and cheeses are scrumptious. They have soups, 'one-pots' and smoothies too.
With delicious food, lovingly prepared such as this, it is no wonder I was intrigued by Mauro, the artisan chef behind Buenos Aires Verde Organico Vegetariano.
He seemed a quiet figure. The three times I visited he was deeply embroiled in planning or meetings. I see a man, keen to carry forth a movement that seems, surprisingly, so well established in Buenos Aires. I still cannot put my finger on the reason I was drawn to trek thousands of miles to Buenos Aires and see for myself. I guess, nowadays, travel is so easy, the internet carries information in a heart beat and this made it appear so accessible. One can't help but accept that we are all influencing each other and the 'butterfly' effect is not just a hypothetical. If you took mainstream travel journals at face value, you may be led to assume vegetarians do not exist in this South American country. I found out for myself that they do…in droves.
So, I wanted to dig deeper. I sent ….. a few…(ok a lot of) questions to Mauro. He kindly found the time to oblige. I've left the translations as is. (So cute).
[ ] are my interpretations
What led Mauro to open a vegetarian restaurant?Changing my lifestyle to a vegetarian diet made me have a different connection with food, and that's what I wanted to convey to people
Are you a vegetarian or a high raw diet?
Vegetarian, cheese consumption three times per semana [week]. Tengo [i have] stages where consume more raw foods and smoothies all
What or who influenced cooking? Who or what influenced you to one side of the typical diet heavy meat and adopt cleaner Argentina vegan / vegetarian lifestyle (if any)?
All my life I devoted to cooking, the greatest influence was my madre.En never really had a preference for meat, easy dejarlo [take it or leave it] .En Argentina was not easy in the environment of family gatherings or friends do not eat meat because it is usually the main course, people gather to eat barbecue, I adapt eating fresh salads
How long have you been a vegan / vegetarian chef?
For 5 years, previously to traditional
What changes have you experienced as a result of adopting a plant-based diet high?
Really sick less, lose weight, I feel more energy, need less sleep
What was the initial reaction to its opening and now is your typical restaurant? gender / class / nationality
The food is tasty, the public was very popular and they are not all natural food vegetarianos.El concept if you have a stronger weight in Buenos Aires, and a vegetarian diet of little more being installed in public. [people are seeing a vegetarian diet can lead to weight loss]
What is the% of organic matter produced by the use in their dishes and is easy to produce the source?It is not always easy, few organic producers and export their production. No most all are in Buenos Aires and depend heavily on how the weather affects their cosechas.En the restaurant everything is organic.
Is there a vegan / vegetarian society in Argentina, other than the uva.org.ar? I have not found any products with accreditation (I've only found a vegan / raw food product on a diet). I have emailed directly ova.org.ar also to answer this question.
There is only government agencies NGOs vegan vegetarian but not yet.
Is there a vegan or raw foodist politicians or influential people in media?
Many actors and celebrities are vegetarians, none recognized political.
What is your most requested dish?
The dough rolls stuffed dehydrated vegetables and cashew cheese, raw ice cream and risottos.
What is your favorite dish (if you have one .... or at least one current)?
The quinoa wok
Have you ever appeared in elgourmet or the like, or a lifestyle magazine?
In several articles in newspapers and journals in utilisima in air channels, and realize a series of shorts for a cable show cooking.
In preparing your food at home and creating our recipe, do you have a favorite piece of music do you listen, or environment you want to create?
As this depends on the time.
What is your current favorite restaurant (if you ever have any free time!) In Buenos Aires or Argentina as a whole?
Osaka could be [http://www.osaka.com.pe]
What is your vision for your restaurant and the scene of vegetarians/vegans in Argentina?
Growing, with increasing acceptance
Do you have plans for a cookbook? My Spanish is improving but not enough to discover if there is a vegetarian or vegan cookbooks on the market for Argentine chefs?
Not really, most are translations of books outside.
What do you want to answer questions that I may have omitted to ask?
It could perhaps be about organic growth, which to me is very importante. No one could speak of intelligent power outside organicos. The concept that it is time for people to invest more into your diet and less on drugs, and for that food must be important. Not just avoiding meat and meat special, if not also choose seasonal flavors, enjoy them, and work with the middle ambiente. Dejar [stop] of eating fruits, vegetables and cereals treated with fertilizers among other things . Return to origins, to nature, to enjoy cooking and eating.
I hope Mauro accomplishes all he sets out to improve, and continues to gather a hungry and conscious crowd. Oh and the restaurant holds classes too, to help people master his techniques.
Want to know more about vegan food in Buenos Aires? (click here for gluten free vegan products and links to my reviews)