Throughout October, OpenTable is celebrating Vegetarian Awareness Month by spotlighting chefs, restaurateurs, trends and innovations in the world of plant-based dining. Follow along here.
When it comes to vegetarian dining, few restaurants have been as influential as Moosewood, the Ithaca, New York restaurant that led the way with creative plant-based cooking. Even those who haven’t visited have likely flipped through the pages of the 12 iconic Moosewood cookbooks celebrating the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
Now more than 40 years old, Moosewood has seen decades of evolution in vegetarian dining — and shows no signs of slowing down (a 13th cookbook, The Moosewood Restaurant Table, is in the works). Run by a collective of 19 members, the restaurant pioneered a movement toward natural ingredients, conscious cooking and collaboration that has inspired change in the industry as a whole.
To learn more, we talked to David Hirsch, a collective member since 1976 who’s cooked in the restaurant kitchen and authored a number of Moosewood cookbooks. Here, he tells us the story behind Moosewood’s approach to vegetarian cuisine, the changes and innovations he’s seen in the vegan and vegetarian movement over the years, and the trends he is most excited about today.