Chloe Coscarelli of Chloe's Kitchen

Interview by Melanie Powers

This month, VegFamily is pleased to share with our readers an interview we had the pleasure of doing with Chloe Coscarelli, a classically trained vegan chef and winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars with her vegan cupcakes. Her very first cookbook, titled Chloe’s Kitchen is getting ready to launch in March 2012 and we caught up with her to chat about her own vegan journey and this exciting new cookbook.

Chloe Coscarelli VegFamily: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Chloe. When did you decide to follow a vegan diet and what was the turning point in your life that brought you to that decision?

Chloe: When I was a child, I made the connection between my pets and the animals on my dinner plate. It didn't feel right, nor did it taste that great. After exploring vegetarian and vegan cuisine, I realized I could eat delicious and exciting meals that were good for my body and the planet. It was a win-win and the best decision I ever made!

VegFamily: What were the biggest obstacles for you when you first transitioned to a vegan diet?

Chloe: The hardest part for most people is getting caught up in strict labels. They best way to transition is to try it out once in a while or once a week and don't be too hard on yourself if you slip up. Every vegan meal you eat makes a difference!

VegFamily: Did you always want to be a vegetarian/vegan chef growing up or was that a decision you made later in life? How did you get to that point?

Chloe: It wasn't until I became vegan that I wanted to be a chef. Vegan cuisine was fascinating to me and it opened my eyes to new ingredients and flavor combinations that I would have never discovered on a carnivorous diet.

VegFamily: When you were chosen for Cupcake Wars, how were you accepted by the other contestants and judges when they found you would not be using any milk, butter or eggs?

Chloe: At first they were all sceptical, which made me extremely nervous! I stood strong against their initial doubts and when they tasted my cupcakes they all changed their minds!

VegFamily: You’re first cookbook is getting ready to launch in March. Tell us a bit about it? What makes it different than all the other vegan cookbooks out there?

Chloe: CHLOE'S KITCHEN is designed for everyone who loves food, including beginner chefs and people who are not vegan. It features 125 recipes and the ingredients I rely on are inexpensive, accessible, and can be found at any mainstream grocery store. The recipes are easy peasy and simple, so that working parents can get dinner on the table in a jiffy! Each recipe features a gorgeous full color photo and I also cater to gluten-free and soy-free readers. Most importantly, every single recipe is hand-down mouth-watering delicious! From Fettuccine Alfredo to Double Double Burgers to Chocolate Molten Lava Cake, every single recipe is extremely delicious and flavor-loaded!

VegFamily: In your experience, what has been the biggest misconception people have about vegan food and how do you overcome that?

Chloe: I’ve heard so many people tell me that they think vegan food is bland, dry, and boring. WRONG! It's actually very easy to cook vegan meals and desserts that are exciting and exceptional in flavor and texture!

VegFamily: For you, what has been the best way to share and promote veganism to others?

Chloe: Always through food! Food speaks to people in a way that no words can. Everytime I cook a delicious vegan meal for someone, they leave with a positive perspective on veganism.

VegFamily: What are some of the highlights or great projects you’ve been a part of since becoming a vegan chef?

Chloe: The most exciting project I've worked on since becoming a vegan chef is my new cookbook CHLOE'S KITCHEN. It is such an honor to have the opportunity to share all of my favorite recipes with everyone. The idea of my meals and dessert being enjoyed on someone else's dinner table across the world is so thrilling!

VegFamily: Other than the cookbook what are you currently working on or what exciting things can we expect in the future?

Chloe: Hopefully, lots! Stay tuned on to follow me on this adventure!

VegFamily: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Chloe. We’re sure your new vegan cookbook is going to be just wonderful and we wish you all the best in your career!

Chloe: It was my pleasure! Thank you!

Avocado Pesto Pasta Chloe Coscarelli Here is one of Chloe’s favorite recipes from her new cookbook!

Avocado Pesto Pasta
Serves 4 to 6

Put a healthful California twist on a traditional Italian favorite and you’ve got Avocado Pesto Pasta. Adding avocados to pesto creates a rich and creamy texture without using cheese. Kids and adults often tell me this is the best pasta they’ve ever eaten!

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Toss pasta with pesto. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with cherry or sun-dried tomatoes. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish each serving with a basil leaf.