Veg Standards in Restaurants - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-05-2004, 05:11 PM
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In light of a few threads I've read here lately I'm curious,



does anyone know if there are standards in culinary arts institutes and regulations on the preparation of vegetarian and vegan dishes???



Is there even a "governing" body for this subject?



I'd like to know how to make this issue more of an "issue" among restaurant owners, and the culinary world.



Any advice?
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#2 Old 03-05-2004, 05:24 PM
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There aren't any standards in the US. In some countries, like India, there are standards because it's a religious issue.



I don't know how to go about making it an issue for restaurant owners as it's a non-issue for so many vegetarians that they'd support restaurants that served veg food even if they didn't follow the guidelines.
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#3 Old 03-05-2004, 09:21 PM
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Not that I'm aware of.

Most chef's would prefer if you don't mention the word "vegetarian".

It's inconvenient for them to have to do without their animal products - and they don't want to.



The only vegetarian mention I had in culinary school was a steamed vegetable & rice dish we planned into a banquet because "of the vegetarians"
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#4 Old 03-05-2004, 10:05 PM
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The vegetarian society does do cordon vert classes for would-be vegetarian chefs. I don't know much about them, but they'll be somewhere on www.vegsoc.org . Do beware that the vegetarian society's website isn't all that well-maintained, so it may be difficult to navigate.



I think most chefs won't have a thing against vegetarianism, as when you think about it, most chefs will end up cooking a few vegetarian dishes every day, so it'll be fairly commonplace.
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#5 Old 03-05-2004, 10:29 PM
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I am in the process of writing a book on this very subject. I have been in the restaurant industry for 18 years and could tell you all sorts of things you wouldn't want to believe. I would say 95% of all vegetarian dishes served in restaurants have some animal by-product in it.



I personally have seen many chefs serve a meal that wasn't even close to being animal free and call it a vegetarian dish, and in very upscale restaurants too I might add.



There are no standards for the preparation of vegetarian foods in the restaurant industry.



I have recently read the following which you may find interesting:



"Burger King Corporation makes no claim that the BK VEGGIE Burger or any other of its products meets the requirements of a vegan or vegetarian diet."



Burger King uses a poultry-derived amino acid as a flavoring in their french fries, and McDonalds says that the natural flavor used in their French fries is from an animal source and is considered a "beef product".






I think the corporate chain style restaurants will be the first adopt some sort of disclaimer on the use of animal products in vegetarian meals to cover their back end.



I too would like to make this an issue.
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#6 Old 03-05-2004, 10:42 PM
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Fennel, I'm fascinated by your book topic. When do you expect to be finished?



What do you attribute to the reasoning of these "upscale" chefs for adulterating the vegetarian/vegan dishes?



Are they lazy? Is it a power trip? A joke? Are they opposed to the lifestyle?



Are you able to draw any conclusions thus far?
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#7 Old 03-05-2004, 10:50 PM
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There are standards in Australia (legal ones, too, not just industry) but I don't remember which body covers them. For example - for a pizza to be called "vegetarian" it can have no meat - and no rennet in the cheese either - or it cannot be labelled as such. The "veggie" burger can get away with have meat or meat by-products in it because it is labelled as "veggie", ie - haveing vegetables in it, not as actually vegetarian. For food to be labelled as "vegan" it must not contain any animal by-products.

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#8 Old 03-05-2004, 10:53 PM
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Thanks for the website Loki. It has great info. That school sounds interesting.



Since I have become vegetarian and found the eating out to be difficult - and now finding it to be unscrupulous as well - I have been considering taking some formal food training. I don't want to be a chef - way too hard a job, I think. What I want is enough know how to do for myself and to open up a restaurant (where I hire a professional to do the cooking.)



I'm very disturbed at the idea that I don't have rights as a veg. It seems that I should be able to go into any restaurant and request a vegetarian meal or a vegan meal and be assured that, even if I don't like the way it tastes, that I am getting what I ordered.



Remember when there was all that hype about McDonald's having worms in their burgers? And rats in the KFC instead of chicken? When it comes to meat people demand to get what they ordered. My mom used to have a fit if she was served "dark" chicken meat instead of white - it was a BIG deal!



I just want to know how to uphold these same "rights" for veg*s.
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#9 Old 03-05-2004, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiz View Post

There are standards in Australia (legal ones, too, not just industry) but I don't remember which body covers them. For example - for a pizza to be called "vegetarian" it can have no meat - and no rennet in the cheese either - or it cannot be labelled as such. The "veggie" burger can get away with have meat or meat by-products in it because it is labelled as "veggie", ie - haveing vegetables in it, not as actually vegetarian. For food to be labelled as "vegan" it must not contain any animal by-products.



I really like that...



You guys need to come train the US's FDA!
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#10 Old 03-05-2004, 10:54 PM
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Thanks Kiz, I'm going to research that. It would be great to find a system in place that may be a likely transplant for US food standards.
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#11 Old 03-05-2004, 11:04 PM
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Fennel, just so you know, Burger King hasn't used poultry flavoring in a couple years.



On the subject, Olive Garden has several vegetarian items, but they also put a disclaimer on their website that says something like "we can not guarantee any items will be suitable for vegetarians or vegans."
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#12 Old 03-06-2004, 12:23 AM
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I am debating if it should be a physical book, e-book or cd-rom since the computer seems to be taking over these days, but I expect to be finished this summer.



Most chef just do not think about it. The majority of people who choose to cook for a living are not vegetarians and don't really give it a second thought. They dont think about the chicken stock they put in the rice or soup as being meat, it's just a flavor. I don't want to label all chefs, some do make attempts at making real vegetarian dishes, but I am speaking about your average restaurant.



Kiz made an interesting point about how veggie just means there are vegetable is it, and not that it is vegan or vegetarian.



Thanks for the update on BK Kpickell,



I think more & more restaurants are trying to become vegetarian friendly now and I expect to see a lot of change in the coming years.
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#13 Old 03-06-2004, 12:35 AM
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My boyfriend is a culinary student, and I was suprised by how much they taught on vegetarian and even vegan cooking. There was an actual test question on what a vegan is. Most of it was part of a mandatory nutritional cooking class, where they spent at least a week on vegetarian cuisine. I think it really depends on if the school is in a big city setting where they often deal with the vegetarian 'issue'. Im sure my boyfriend would know not to use the same pan that he just cooked bacon in for a veg dish, but others may not. I think one problem is that if you order something that is normally veg, such as alfredo, they would not know not to toss it in the same pan that they used for an alfredo with chicken/shrimp/whatever.
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#14 Old 03-06-2004, 08:06 AM
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what culinary school does your b/f go to? I'm going to culinary school, and am in a advanced culinary program now through my highschool that uses college books ( the same ones i'm going to be using as a freshman) and the only mention of vegetarian and vegan (other than what comes up because i'm in the class) is in the nutrition unit both words are defined, but they said that its normally for health reasons. They dont mention not using the same pans or anything. In the stock unit they do mention that veggie stock can be used in vegetarian dishes, but they say its not as good because it has no gelatin in it. During our stock unit everyone else was expected to make a complex soup and a sauce, veggie stock group was told "make vegetable soup, I dont even know of a sauce you can make with vegetable stock" ummmmmmm yeah, i dont know what i've been doing for the past 6 years, but all my sauces come out yummy.
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#15 Old 03-06-2004, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebelovedtree View Post

what culinary school does your b/f go to? I'm going to culinary school, and am in a advanced culinary program now through my highschool that uses college books ( the same ones i'm going to be using as a freshman) and the only mention of vegetarian and vegan (other than what comes up because i'm in the class) is in the nutrition unit both words are defined, but they said that its normally for health reasons. They dont mention not using the same pans or anything. In the stock unit they do mention that veggie stock can be used in vegetarian dishes, but they say its not as good because it has no gelatin in it. During our stock unit everyone else was expected to make a complex soup and a sauce, veggie stock group was told "make vegetable soup, I dont even know of a sauce you can make with vegetable stock" ummmmmmm yeah, i dont know what i've been doing for the past 6 years, but all my sauces come out yummy.



http://www.ilic.artinstitutes.edu/ad...egreeTypeID=10
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