Meet Chef Michael Natkin! Chef, Cookbook author and Food Blogger!
We had the pleasure of meeting Michael at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories. Normally we arrive early enough to follow the Chef around the Santa Monica Farmers Market. There was a lot of traffic this week and by the time we arrived, they had already begun their tour. Thankfully, we didn’t miss the demo and Michael’s fantastic cooking.
Michael’s cookbook is called: “Herbivoracious – A flavor revolution with 150 vibrant and original vegetarian recipes.”
The book is named after his blog “Herbivoracious” and if you want vegetarian world cuisine with a powerful punch of flavor and spices, this is the blog (and cookbook!) for you!
Michael was kind enough to autograph my copy…
Squeee! How COOL is that? I love it! Remind me, when I’m a famous cookbook author that I need to personalize everyone’s book. Hahaha! Seriously, it really does make it extra special and I am thankful to Michael for taking that extra moment to connect and personalize!
Enough of my rambling! Let’s get to the FOOD!
Michael started with Vietnamese chanterelle banh mi bites! A sliced baguette spread with spicy mayo, and topped with pickled carrots and daikon, sliced cucumbers, chanterelle mushrooms and a tiny slice of jalapeño for a zesty kick!
Here’s a close up!
I have to tell you, I know very little about Vietnamese dishes. This little bite made me want to explore the cuisine in-depth! It was spicy and tart and full of flavor.
Next, Michael made crispy Vietnamese crepes with vegetarian nuoc cham. For those of you who don’t know (don’t feel bad, see my above comment about how much I know about Vietnamese food) nuoc cham is a dipping sauce traditionally made with fish sauce, but Michael replaced it a seaweed broth that was spicy and delightfully refreshing with the addition of lime juice!
Paired with his Vietnamese crepes (called banh xeo) this was a fun new main dish I know I will be making at home!
These crepes have tofu and mushrooms in them, wrapped around mung sprouts. Michael sliced the crepes and served them on a huge bed of herbs and the nuoc cham!
The combination of flavors and textures is hard to describe. Fresh herbs. A spicy, lime dipping sauce. The crispy crunch of a crêpe with fresh mushrooms and a nice bite from the tofu… amazing.
My vegetarian daughter is excited to have a new cookbook in the house and I am looking forward to following Michael on his blog and learning more about Vietnamese food! Stay tuned for some great dishes from THIS imperfect kitchen. ;-) Thank you again Michael!