My entry into the culinary world started when I was just seven years old. I announced one day to the surprise of my parents that I was a vegetarian and declared from that day forward that I would be eating only vegetarian food. Having asked my mom to prepare vegetarian only foods, her reply was: ‘It’s time for you to learn how to cook so that you can make any kind of dish that you like.’ My first dish was Ratatouille–a classic Provençal vegetable stew with capers and olives that originated in the city of Nice. I still make Ratatouille, with a variety of seasonal, organic vegetables and fresh herbs de Provence. It’s an exquisite dish that always tastes like home!
Over the years I’ve developed a culinary niche that is inspired by vegan Mediterranean foods and fresh, organic ingredients. Although my journey of cooking and baking began as a child–to this day I still get excited about being in the kitchen. I absolutely love experimenting with recipes and flavors, and creating culinary treats for my clients and friends. For me dishes can only taste as good as the ingredients sourced for them. Living in Santa Cruz we are blessed with a year-round bounty of fresh organic vegetables, fruits and herbs. It’s no secret that lavender has a special place in my heart! But for me the sourcing of fresh herbs from organic gardens and local markets provides a signature touch on every dish that I create.
It has been a childhood dream of mine to write a cookbook with one hundred vegan Mediterranean recipes. Over the years I have been developing recipes for; appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, desserts, compotes, marmalades, syrups, breads and pesto. I completed my 100th recipe about a year ago–that being a Purple Potato and Herbes de Provence au Gratin. A milestone for me–and a perfect potato au gratin!
Over the past year, I’ve been exploring publishing options for my cookbook, sorting through thousands of food pictures, and working with the very talented Santa Cruz based food styler and photographer, Heidi Montoya. Publishing a cook book has been quite a journey and there always seems to be something that needs my attention from revising recipes to thinking through the smallest of details about wording, culinary techniques, tips, and so much more! But through it all I remain committed to having my cook book published in 2022.
Thanks to all of you for your inspiring inquiries regarding the availability of my cookbook: The Art of Vegan Mediterranean Cooking. Once published, I will be having a book signing event, which of course will include some signature dishes and of course celebratory champagne aperitifs! So please stay tuned. I can’t wait to share the news of my imminent book release. Until then, happy vegan cooking and please enjoy the featured recipe in each of my newsletters.
Chef Ellie Lavender
Vegan Mediterranean Personal Chef
Culinary & Wine Pairing Instructor
Lavender Design + Cuisine
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