Max the Zero Food Waste Vegan Chef You Need to Know!
I always love when I see people doing something AMAZING to make our world a better place. I heard about Max La Manna from his blog “Eating with Max” and he immediately had me at zero waste vegan. His Instagram is filled with daily inspiring posts about food waste, benefits of going vegan and yummy healthy recipes for dishes he whips up. I just knew he would be a hit with my readers and knew all of you would love him too!
I had the chance to talk to Max about why zero waste is so important to him and he even cooked up a recipe for us with the ingredients from Farmbox Direct!
Give us a bit about your background and what made you decide in this path of career?
Max: Growing up, my father was a chef and my mother was a great cook and took care of our garden in the backyard. I was always surrounded by food and learned how to cook at a very young age. I always knew I wanted to be in the food business and when I was introduced to the zero waste community, this is where everything changed for me and made more sense. I have always been conscious of the food I create and put into my body and have become even more aware of the impact we have in this world.
What is a zero waste chef in your opinion?
Max: Having the capacity to understand that everything has a purpose. Utilizing every ingredient you have and consciously being aware of the impact you’re creating. Our food waste as a society can help solve world hunger, so if I am able to do my part in reducing my waste then I know that I am making a difference and can help show others too.
Why did you decide to become vegan and how long have you been vegan?
Max: I was on a holiday trip to Hawaii with some friends and met a couple who started talking to me while I was in the kitchen cooking. They were obviously vegan and in that moment after hearing their stories and information that is when I went vegan and that was 6 years ago.
Why did you decide to be so vocal about being zero waste?
Max: Growing up my mother was very vocal about the amount of waste she would see on the streets, whenever we went to the beach we would walk and start picking up trash and she would always ask my siblings and I this simple question: “what happens to the trash you throw away and where does it go?” At a very young age this got me thinking. We all need to be aware of the trash and the destruction we are creating.
Is it hard to be zero waste in NYC as opposed to other places?
Max: I find it achievable living in NYC – I am living proof of this. I think it can also be done living in other places too. We need to educate ourselves and do the research we need in order to live a package free, zero waste lifestyle. We all have the capacity to change, but do we desire to be the change? I couldn’t tell you how many messages, emails and letters I receive weekly for those who are changing their old ways and being accountable for the waste they create.
If someone is trying to lower their food waste what are a few helpful tips?
Max: First thing they can do is invest in a canvas or tote bag. Plastic is the issue and if you can nip that in the bud, then you are golden. Shop for produce that has NO packaging – this is your fresh produce mostly in the front of grocery stores. COMPOST – if you have food scraps either in your preparation of cooking or leftovers this can all go to the compost. Place a bowl to the side and that can be a friendly reminder to compost.
How can our readers reach you and what’s next on your agenda?
Max: The best way for readers to reach me and see what I am up to is through @eatingwithmax on instagram or visit my website and blog www.eatingwithmax.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I always respond and give advice – I’m here if you need help!
Marinated Kale, Zucchini and Carrot Noodle w/ Roasted Red Potatoes and Cashew Cheese
- 1 zucchini
- 1 carrot
- 2-3 red potatoes
- 5-6 garlic cloves
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 lemon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbs white miso
- 1 cup cashew
*Note: take out a small bowl and place to the side; this will be your compost bin for today’s dish. Any food scraps and or pieces of food that you will not consume will go into this bowl for later composting.
First things first, take your 1 cup of cashew and soak in hot water for 1-2 hours or overnight (whichever you prefer). For 1 cup of cashews, you should have at least 1 1/2 -1 3/4 cups of water. Once your cashews have soaked, add the cashews and water to your blender, add 2-3 garlic cloves, 1/2 lemon juice, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tbs white miso, 1 tbs EVOO, salt and pepper to your liking and give it a good mix, until the texture is smooth and creamy and is easy enough to pour over our dish in the end.
Next, begin by chopping your kale into thin pieces. Set the kale aside in a bowl and add a small amount of EVOO and 1/2 lemon juice and massage kale with hands for 1-2 minutes- you may season with salt and pepper if you like for added flavor – I even like adding paprika and cumin for added spice!
With 2-3 garlic cloves, chop finely and with a 1/2 sweet onion dice as well and place on medium heat in frying pan with a generous pour of EVOO. Allow the onions and garlic to sweat until they become translucent. Meanwhile, cut and chop your red potatoes into small cubes and add to the garlic and onions. Be sure to mix well and allowing all flavors to blend nicely with each other. Season to your liking – I’ve added a pinch or two of pink himalayan sea salt and a bit of black pepper. Bring the heat up just a touch and allow the potatoes roast nicely, occasionally stirring until they have that nice golden brown crispy texture – you are almost done!
If you have a spiralizer – bring that out and spiralize 1 zucchini and 1 carrot, finely until they are in the shape of a noodle. Place this aside as well because we are almost done and I know you are hungry!
Placing your marinated kale on the base of a plate, add your zucchini and carrot noodle, sprinkle the roasted red potatoes evenly around the plate and with your avocado – cut in half and very carefully cut small slices to place along your dish and with your cashew cheese, now you can drizzle over the top of your meal.
Amazing! You’ve done it and you’ve made it zero waste too! Enjoy your meal! Be sure to follow @eatingwithmax for more recipes and inspiration and follow @farmboxdirect.