Vegan chef gives free lessons, samples

Returning by popular request to the Carnegie, Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., chef Michael Laidlaw will again prepare and provide a special food demonstration in the continuing effort to present his introduction to vegan preparation and cooking.

Once a vegetarian, Laidlaw transitioned to vegan. According to Laidlaw, while vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry, vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey or any items derived from animal products. People choose to be vegan for health, environmental and/or ethical reasons.

The key to a nutritionally sound vegan diet is variety. A healthy and varied vegan diet includes fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. It is easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein as long as calorie intake is adequate. Strict protein planning or combining is not necessary. The key is to eat a varied diet.

Almost all foods except for alcohol, sugar and fats provide some protein. Vegan sources include lentils, chickpeas, tofu, peas, peanut butter, soy milk, almonds, spinach, rice, whole wheat bread, potatoes, broccoli and kale.

Samples of recipes such as “Lentil Loaf with Mushroom Gravy” and macaroni and cheese will be provided upon arrival to the program. Laidlaw will then conduct food preparation and cook brussel sprouts with apple and shallot. A sample of this recipe will be offered as well.

“Keeping my recipes to no more than five items is the key to a successful recipe,” says Laidlaw.

Laidlaw focuses on easy-to-prepare recipes with very little preparation time involved, catering to people with busy lifestyles.

Limited seats are available for this free adult/senior education and enrichment program. To reserve a spot, contact the Carnegie at 770-683-1347. The Carnegie is located in downtown Newnan on the historic Courthouse square.