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Gratitude Speaks: Crafting the Future of Food with Matthew Kenney

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Eating out used to mean that you traded in quality for convenience. We’ve all been there: hangry after a long day’s work; stuck at the airport; hanging with friends and in the mood for good food and service; desiring a luxurious dinner made from quality ingredients… and more often than not we’ve had to face options that were less than excellent. The number of restaurants serving nutrient-depleted, insecticide-sprayed, GMO-ed, cheap-fried, non-stick-cooked stuff is certainly still massive but the tide is turning.

The future of food is happening at the intersection of supreme nutrition and culinary art. Yes, you can have a meal that’s both scrumptious and healthy. Yes, you can enjoy an atmosphere that’s both elegant and sustainable. Yes, you can do well and do good.

[Photo credit: Martyn Howett].

Chef and entrepreneur Matthew Kenney has been forging an impactful path on the road less traveled. The original Plant Food + Wine in Los Angeles is a must-see (and -eat). Plant Food + Wine Miami just opened. NYC’s new hot spot is 00 & Co, his plant-based pizza bistro in the East Village. Belfast, Maine, is home to PlantLoft and The Gothic. And Plant Cafe is coming to faraway Bahrain.

It feels absurd, really, that restaurants serving fresh, organic, elegant fare seem revolutionary to so many people. Quality should be a given, not an extra one has to hunt down. On the flip side, the beauty of MK Cuisine reveals the utter disregard for nourishment, kindness, and compassion running rampant in mainstream food culture.

I’m thrilled that Matthew’s able to share the power of plants with more and more folks as he’s expanding into new locations and ventures. We all have the abilities to create the change we want to see in the world; Matthew’s doing it by crafting the future of food. Let’s hear what he has to say about art, growth, and gratitude.

{Matthew chose to respond to three of the four questions. I trust you’ll be inspired nonetheless.}

1) How do you define gratitude, and what are you grateful for?
Gratitude is recognizing all of the effort, love and energy in the world. I find gratitude in the small things, a beautiful ripe avocado, learning a new yoga pose, or spending time in our edible garden at our restaurant in Venice, CA, Plant Food + Wine.

[Backyard, Plant Food + Wine in Venice, CA. Photo credit: Geoff Souder].

2) What is art to you?
Art can be anything. A new plating technique, a street mural, a box of cherries from the farmers market. In a way, chefs are artists, and that means creativity can be found almost anywhere.

3) When did you experience significant personal growth, and how did it impact your perspective on life?
I experienced a huge transformation when I transitioned to a plant-based diet. I had been a traditional Chef for many years, and moving towards a diet rooted in plants changed my entire life. I had more energy, greater health, and an inspiration to change the world through my work. We now have culinary schools around the US, in Thailand, and online, this is the best way I know how to share this learning with others. Together, our students, chefs and partners are advancing the world’s plant-based cuisine, and that’s incredibly inspiring.

[Plant Food + Wine in Venice, CA. Photo credit: Erica Rae Brown].

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