November 17, 2008

Open Letter To The Food Network

To Whom It May Concern:

I have often been disappointed in the Food Network's lack of interest in Vegetarian Cuisine. Being a vegan, I have yet to see a show devoted to cooking veg*n meals. Sure some chefs feature a vegetarian dish once in a while, but a show chock full of ideas would be great. Believe it or not, veg*ns LOVE to cook, and I love to cook with things other than stereotypical veg*n ingredients (i.e. tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc.).

Recently on the Food Network, Dinner Impossible featured a vegetarian rodeo bbq. It was A HORRIBLE representation of vegetarian cooking. Chef Symon was cynical and cranky the entire show - complaining about everything. He made it look like vegetarian cooking was uninteresting, flavorless & frustrating. Veg*n cooking is NOTHING of the sort! But after that show, I can't imagine anyone would ever believe that it's a great way to eat.

Therefore, I am requesting a couple of things from the Food Network:

1) please read my blog The Vegas Vegan: There I review restaurants in Las Vegas. My mission is to find veg*n foods at the most unlikely places. When one veg*n gives the thumbs up to any establishment, more veg*ns are sure to follow. It's not about being afraid to go out to eat, it's about learning how to eat out.

2) please check out Colleen Patrick-Goudreau at Compassionate Cooks: She teaches cooking classes in San Francisco and around the country. She has published a wonderful cookbook: The Joy of Vegan Baking. She would make a great addition to the Food Network line-up, offering veg*n choices not only for veg*ns, but for those interested in making healthy changes to their diets. Some omnivores are actually interested in adding vegetarian meals to their weekly menus, she would be a great person to help!!

3) I would like to see less grunting & groaning from the on-screen personalities when it comes to "having" to make a vegetarian meal. My impression is that they need to be enlightened on what veg*n cooking actually entails. It's not about bulking up with cheese & eggs for vegetarians or just eating tofu & seitan if you're a vegan. It's about discovering the wonderful rainbow of flavors available in the produce section of the grocery store. I rarely cook with tofu and have actually never used seitan. I've been vegetarian for 18 years... there is no need to portray veg*ns as ONLY eating those foods. Some research into the actual diets of veg*ns, and not just listening to chefs regurgitating stereotypes, would be helpful.

Please contact me via email

Thank you for your time,
Lisa Smolen-Jenkins


The Veggie Queen said...

Great post. Do you know Don who just set up a Las Vegas vegan website?
I am all about the vegetables, and getting people to eat more of them.
I, too, have a chocolate thang, and that's just fine.
Keep up the good work. And check out my websites at and

Lisa J. said...

Thank you!! Checking out all the sites now!!!

Alison said...

I am so glad I found your blog! Just in time, too. I'll be visiting my sister in Vegas in a couple of weeks and I've been so worried that I won't be able to find anything to eat with them!

Lisa J. said...

Yay Alison!!

Have a fun visit! Just don't be shy - ask for options wherever you go (call ahead when you can).

And enjoy the cool weather!!! It's been raining here all day... yuck!!

David said...

thx for your comments, much appreciated...
last time i was in vegas, my friend took me to a chinese food restaurant where all the "meat" was vegan. sound familiar? Is it still there, I wonder? I'll ask him.

Haley-O said...

So true, Lisa. I can't believe there's not a single vegan (let alone VEGETARIAN) show on the food network.... It's because of this, that I don't bother watching it. Whenever I turn it on, someone's cooking meat....