Covid-19 continues to significantly alter the way we function, and has led to a change in some of the most important aspects of our lifestyle, including our diet. The Coronavirus outbreak has compelled people to make conscious food choices which can greatly impact their sense of wellbeing. The serious health risks associated with eating meat and the impact of meat eating on our environment has led to an increase in the number of people adopting a plant-based diet. People from different strata of society are switching to plant-based foods either because of ethical, health or environmental concerns.
According to epidemiological evidence, long term consumption of meat is associated with an increased risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer in both men and women. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats and red meats as carcinogens. Consumption of these meat products increases the risk of bowel and stomach cancer along with a dozen other lethal diseases.
Michelin-Star Restaurants Turning Vegan
Since the world is making a shift towards veganism, some of the world’s top restaurants, including the Michelin starred ones, are not willing to be left behind. Renowned chefs from the culinary universe are making a contribution to the plant-based revolution by turning their top-ranked restaurants vegan.
Eleven Madison Park is a highly reputed New York-based fine dining restaurant and is often known as the ‘world’s best restaurant’ with three Michelin stars to its name. Due to the pandemic, the restaurant has been closed since March 2020. It has now revealed that when it reopens on June 10, its menu will be fully vegan!
According to reports, the restaurant decided to eliminate all meat-centric dishes from its menu as a response to the havoc created by the pandemic. It is a bold move that could shock its patrons looking to go back to the restaurant for relishing their favourite dishes.
In an interview with Bloomberg, EMP’s chef-owner Daniel Humm said, “A piece of fish, meat—there aren’t that many different ways to prepare them. If you have a beet, an eggplant, the opportunities feel endless.” This shows that the world’s leading chefs are motivated by everything from health and environmental concerns, to taking up the opportunity to be creative with plant-based foods.
Another Michelin star restaurant Din Tai Fung is all set to launch its new vegan menu across all US outlets. The world-famous Taiwanese eatery has expanded its vegan offerings across its US locations in partnership with San Francisco food tech Eat Just.
The five new vegan items range from dumplings to noodles featuring the plant-based Just Egg. The dishes include Vegan Wontons with House Spicy Sauce, Vegan Noodles with Sesame Sauce, Vegan Wonton Soup, Vegan Noodles with House Spicy Sauce, and Vegan Noodle Soup.
In a statement, Albert Yang, VP of Din Tai Fung, said, “We have received an incredible amount of feedback asking for more vegan options. We have been working hard to ensure these new offerings are up to the quality standards our guests expect.”
Besides these restaurants, popular culinary chefs such as Alexis Gauthier are also promoting plant-based meals. The Michelin-star chef has turned his Soho brasserie Gauthier 100% vegan, making a significant change from the traditional French cuisine it served. Despite pushback from customers, the French chef confirmed that his London restaurant will turn completely vegan when it reopens on June 23, as soon as COVID restrictions are uplifted.
In an interview with Big Hospitality, he exclaimed, “There are no animal products in the restaurant whatsoever, not even in the chef’s pocket. I’m vegan myself; it would be unethical for me to profit from selling dead animals.” Gauthier has also opened up a vegan café in Fenwick, with more affordable vegan dishes including Beyond Burgers
Since people are becoming more conscious about their lifestyle and its impact on the environment, the month of May is now globally celebrated as “Meat Free May”. It is being seen as a collective effort to make people aware about the negative effects of mass meat production on human health, planet, and of course, animals. Even the Michelin star restaurants mentioned above decided to either go fully vegan or launch their plant-based menus in this month, raising the importance of ‘Meat Free May’ tremendously.
Writing about veganism in a recent article, Vir Sanghvi, the prolific journalist and author, stated, “Veganism is based on a fact of life: the planet is in deep trouble. The more we rear animals for food, the more we add to the crisis. According to this argument, a guy who eats beef is not much better than a person who drinks milk, eats Dahi or has food cooked in ghee or butter. All of those things involve rearing cows — which is the real problem.”
Very recently, Bill Gates also urged nations to completely give up conventional beef to save the environment by cutting down on global methane emissions. These major developments are stepping stones towards creating a sustainable, more ethical and a healthier future. Are we at the brink of a revolution?