Bryant Terry, The Inspired Vegan, and Ridge Vineyards!

As you may know, I am a lover of the “unorthodox” when it comes to pairing wine and food. And by “unorthodox,” I do not mean, for example, molecular gastronomy. I do not consider “foam” to be unorthodox at this time. I do, however, consider things like Indian Curry with Carignane unorthodox.

And I relish, and I mean RELISH, pairing vegetarian and vegan foods with our wines; I find it to be quite the refreshing upending of the paradigms in place.

In my field in general, and particularly working for a producer of highly regarded red wines, one goes to an awful lot of events where red wine is being served with steak. Many, many iterations of steak. Steak, steak, steak. Not to say it’s a bad pairing per se, and certainly not to disparage any of the hosts, chefs, and restaurants out there who have assembled and presented these pairings (I’ve been fortunate to dine in outstanding circumstances, in tremendous company, on astonishing dishes, and regret not a one of them, and am thankful to and for all of them), but the omnipresence of one governing aesthetic can oft leave one wishing for the occasional bout of alternative imagination. So again, I tend to crave the unorthodox, especially when it comes to pairing our wines.

So when the following came across my bow, you can bet I was excited; an opportunity to present Ridge wines at an exclusive VIP party in celebration of Bryant Terry’s new book, “The Inspired Vegan,” to be held at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, with La Cocina Food Truck (or should I say, “Soul Cocina”) cooking from “The Inspired Vegan.”

Here is the “official” blurb on Bryant’s new book …

From the author of Vegan Soul Kitchen: ingredients that inspire, unique recipes, and menus for everyday feasts.
Marking his 10-year anniversary working to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system, Bryant Terry offers more than just a collection of recipes. In the spirit of jazz jam sessions and hip hop ciphers, The Inspired Vegan presents a collage of food, storytelling, music, and art. Bryant shares his favorite preparation / cooking techniques and simple recipes—basics to help strengthen your foundation for home cooking and equip you with tools for culinary improvisation and kitchen creativity. He also invites you to his table to enjoy seasonal menus inspired by family memories, social movements, unsung radical heroes, and visions for the future. Ultimately, The Inspired Vegan will help you become proficient in creating satisfying meals that use whole, fresh, seasonal ingredients and are nutritionally balanced—and full of surprising, mouth-watering flavor combinations.
Vegan cooking? Soul Kitchen? Jazz Jam Session? Food, storytelling, music, and art? Yeah, you KNOW I’m into this …
Mr. Terry has accrued accolades upon accolades along his journey; one such comment particularly resonates:
“Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege.” — Alice Waters
There it is again, that enacted reconciliation of high-brow artisan  seriousness and low-brow populist approachability. The head and the heart, the brain and the soul, the melody and the rhythm, the science and the mojo.
The event was held on January 24th, and while I personally was unable to attend, Ridge was most definitely present, in the form of our own Amy Monroe and Tara Einis, proud residents of San Francisco, and proud participants in the event at hand.
As I said, I myself could regrettably not attend, but thankfully, Jennifer Martine (who photographed the book itself) was on hand to snap some pics with Tara’s iPhone. Here’s a sampling of what went on at this truly singular and extraordinary happening; for example, some culinary action …

The menu!

The truck!

The food!

Some guest profiles …




And the man capturing the guests …

Capturing the guests!

And some key and significant principles …

Renee Wilson, set to perform later in the evening

Heidi Swanson, fellow food writer

And of course, the guest of honor himself, seen here with Jennifer Martine, and Ridge’s own Tara Einis …

And especially, Bryant’s special guests, wife Jidan Koon (on right) and their baby girl Mila!

 Needless to say, it was a decidedly groovy event, and we were THRILLED to support it. I can’t encourage you enough to get involved in the world of Bryant Terry; it can literally change your life. You are what you eat, people. So eat well.
As a resource of sorts, here are some important links you might wish to follow:
Bryant Terry
“The Inspired Vegan” on Amazon
Event photographer Byron Malik
Singer Renee Wilson (seen in “Ray!”)
Heidi Swanson (author of “Super Natural Every Day”)
And because I can’t resist, as it’s one of my favorite topics (wearing important footwear while drinking fine wine), I just have to share this:
Thank you to all involved, this was a fantastic event! Thank you to Amy and Tara for hosting, thank you to Bryant Terry for inviting, thank you to Jennifer Martine for photographing, and thank you to the gods for good food, good wine, and good company! It’s a good world.

Categories: Events, Food & Wine Pairing, RIDGE Staff, Wine & Food Pairing, Wine & Music, Wine and Jazz, Wine Blogs, Wine Tales

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2 replies

  1. I really enjoyed your post Christopher. I’ve been going meatless on Mondays (one of my 2012 resolutions) so I’ve been looking for vegetarian recipes to prepare. Sounds like the “Inspired Vegan” is a great resource! I’ve also been digging the gourmet food truck scene. I haven’t seen Soul Cocina, but I’ll be sure to look for it! Thanks for the 411!

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