Meat-Loving Chef Eats Mostly Vegetarian. We All Should Too.

hugh fearnley-whittingstall photo

Image credit: River Cottage
Anthony Bourdain's argument that we should eat less meat took me a little by surprise. But he's not the only carnivorous chef making the case for veg-centric eating. In fact, British celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal—whose River Cottage Meat Book graces the shelves of many a meat-loving environmentalist, and whose Fish Fight campaign has created a massive consumer cry for more sustainable fishing—has dedicated his latest book to celebration of the vegetable.

So, has Hugh turned into a vegan?Over at The Guardian, Fearnley-Whittingstall lays out in great detail his case for why vegetables should be at the heart of our culinary culture, not its periphery. He is not, and is not likely to ever be, a vegetarian. Nevertheless, we could all do with eating more vegetables—says the man who has made a career of cooking every imaginable part of an animal on TV (and one human placenta). Here's why:

To summarise, we need to eat more vegetables and less flesh because vegetables are the foods that do us the most good and our planet the least harm. Do I need to spell out the arguments to support that assertion? Is there anyone who seriously doubts it to be true? Just ask yourself if you, or anyone you know, might be in danger of eating too many vegetables. Or if you think the world might be a better, cleaner, greener place with a few more factory chicken farms or intensive pig units.

He says that over the past 18-months he's been experimenting with veg-centric cooking, and what started out as an exercise has become a revolution in how he eats. Now most meals he cooks contain absolutely no meat or fish, and while he has been a powerful advocate for meat thrift and low meat recipes, he refused to focus his latest efforts on such a "cop out" approach. Food can be just as good without any animal products at all, says Hugh, and often it can be better.

The Vegan Zombie and the Vegan Black Metal Chef do not, I suspect, have to fear direct competition from Hugh just yet. But like Weekday Vegetarianism or Meatless Mondays, this is one more victory for those who want to see vegetables reclaim their rightful place on our plates.

River Cottage Veg Everyday is available for pre-order now. And head on over to The Guardian for the full scoop on how Hugh learned to severely curtail his meat eating ways.

More on Vegetarian, Vegan and Low Meat Cooking
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