Once called a €œvegetable shaman€ by former New York Times dining critic Sam Sifton, Christopher Cipollone (executive chef and partner at NYCs Michelin-starred Piora) is no stranger to plant-based cuisine.
And when the culinarian noticed an increase in veg requests at his award-winning eatery €” he got even more serious about the herbivorous game. The restaurant now offers a vegan entree option, in addition to a lengthy list of vegetarian selections, all part of a new prix fixe menu.
€œAs the world is depleting resources to produce meat, its natural to see chefs steer towards plants,€ Cipollone says of the culinary worlds overall transition towards more vegetable-strong foods.
So when did Piora start seeing more requests for vegetarian and vegan fare?
€œPretty much after the first year of Piora [the restaurant opened 2013], after all the reviews and such,€ Cipollone says. €œI became known for vegetable cookery and as word got out, more vegetarian customers came in.€
Pioras menu offers a veggie-focused Garden section which includes a platter of seasonal pickled, poached, roasted, dried and raw vegetables; a parsnip agnolotti; and a charcoal-roasted romanesco cauliflower, served over a pear-black garlic-winter citrus puree with poached butternut squash dressed in vegan €œfish€ sauce (made with fermented kombu and mushroom), pickled fresno chilies, candied peanuts and lavender mint.
€œI looked at those flavors because they were bold. Blending the idea with some Korean ingredients [such as gochugaru pepper powder] and using local New York state grown vegetables as the platform worked out well.€
Cipollone says hes a fan of veg cooking because it offers €œendless possibilities.€
€œI can go buy a great chicken and cook it perfectly and thats it, but if I satisfy you with a carrot, its way more rewarding.€
Piora is located at 430 Hudson St., NYC. The new prix fixe is available in two ($62) and three courses ($85).