The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Bryant Terry Dishes Up Food and Cooking Advice

Phyllis Graber Jensen
Keynote Speaker Bryant Terry doing a cooking demonstration in Gomes Chapel.

As part of the Bates Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance, on January 15, keynote speaker Bryant Terry hosted a food demonstration workshop for students and community members.

Terry, a James Beard Award-winning chef, educator, author, and activist, has authored six vegan cookbooks that intertwine his passions for food, sustainability, and healthy eating. His workshop focused on recipes from his 2020 cookbook, “Vegetable Kingdom.” 

Terry began the workshop by surveying the room, asking how many attendees followed either vegetarian or vegan diets. As a few hands went up, Terry stated, “I’m glad we don’t have a workshop full of vegetarians and vegans.” He went on to explain that he hopes his recipes extend beyond prescriptive diets such as veganism and vegetarianism, saying that he encourages everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables in their diet. He even stated that he would prefer to omit the ‘vegan’ label on his books.

Following a short overview of the workshop, where Terry indicated that he would be making three recipes starting with the least labor intensive and ending with the most involved recipe, the cooking began. 

The first recipe was mashed kabocha, otherwise known as Japanese pumpkin. Since the culinary team was unable to source kabocha, however, Terry substituted butternut squash. The chef explained the general structure of a recipe, the proper way to prepare both kabocha and butternut squash and offered tips and tricks to increase efficiency in the kitchen. He also discussed his love of music in the kitchen, indicating that he includes a song suggestion with each of his recipes.

He then invited attendees to sample the finished product, directing them to a buffet with previously prepared portions of the dish. Terry emphasized the ease of making this dish, stating, “If you can boil a pot of water, you can make this dish at home.”

The chef continued with the second recipe, “citrus and garlic-herb braised fennel.” He explained that with this dish, he wanted to “elevate” fennel from a vegetable commonly used as a garnish to “something special and delicious.” 

While he prepared the fennel, Terry gave advice on how to properly wash vegetables, the differences between organic and conventional produce and insight into how economic considerations factor into the food we eat. As he finished cooking, attendees lined up to taste the final dish.

The third recipe, “Dirty Cauliflower,” began with a brief background on the creation of the dish. Terry indicated that the dish is meant as a healthier alternative to Louisiana-style dirty rice and an attempt to make cauliflower rice delicious. According to the chef, who attended college in New Orleans, LA, creole flavor and cooking have been the greatest influence on his palate. 

As he prepared the cauliflower, Terry delved into the intentionality of the simple cooking set-up he was using in the demonstration. Composed of a simple propane burner, Terry stated, “I think a lot of people have this mental barrier that in order to cook good food, you need a good kitchen…But, the reality is that you can have a little butane burner using propane and you can make really delicious meals.” He continued, “So much of my work has been helping people living on the margins find creative ways they can eat more healthfully.”

Terry also discussed his view on meat substitutes as veganism has become more popular, mentioning that he likes to refer to them as “franken-foods.” While the chef believes that these foods can be a good way for some people to wean themselves off of meat, especially in a meat-heavy American diet, he ultimately warns against their long ingredient lists and lack of ingredient transparency.

As attendees sampled the dish, Terry held a brief Q&A, answering questions about what’s in his pantry and his recipe development process. 

Workshop participants were given handouts containing the recipes and excerpts from two of Terry’s cookbooks, Vegetable Kingdom and Afro-Vegan

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About the Contributor
Trinity Poon, Managing News Editor
Trinity is a sophomore from Sandwich, MA with a double major in English and French. She has been writing for The Student since the Fall of her first-year. She is a member of the Women's Ultimate Frisbee team, Cold Front, and plays the trumpet at Bates. When she is not writing and tossing disks, Trinity enjoys reading, running and spending time outdoors. 

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