Chef Gretchen Hanson, owner and chef of the former Hobos Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, is known for incorporating plant-based options in her recipes. In 2016, she closed the restaurant to direct her energies on educating the masses on the diversity and richness of a plant-based diet.
Hanson said, "I thought that I could never be vegan because I initially thought it would marginalize me in my profession. I was not correct in that initial thought. Morally and ethically, my conscious found a way to transition to plant based, and it was and is the right decision. I realized everyone has choices, including myself. I now educate others, including industry peers, to softly nudge them to the point where many of them now at least feature vegan options on their menus. And, it is no longer viewed as a marginalized food choice by many chefs; it's respected for the praise it should be given as a much better way."
The same year she won Best of Delaware in the categories of chef and restaurant in 2011, she made every sauce on the menu at Hobos Restaurant vegan and gluten free. She continued winning awards in mainstream cooking contests from 2011 on, as she created plant-based meals for her entries.
Hanson says, "My competitors would bring meat-based dishes, and I was the one bringing the tempeh. One of the cooking competitions that I loved the most was a Gumbo Crawl. I used entirely plant-based ‘crawfish,’ plant-based ‘sausage’ and tempeh, and my dish tied for first place for best gumbo. To me, this represented a win for the animals, a win for people's health and a lot of progress in the world of truly amazing and healthy meals."
A subscriber to Hanson’s blog says, "One soon realizes that they have signed up for more than a simple blog subscription." Hanson believes in educating and helping others gain her love and passion for plant-based cooking. She describes her cooking as "global eco fusion," based on local ingredients farmed sustainably, and developed from applying knowledge gained from her prior travels around the world. As a storyteller in her blog, she discusses her journey and life's adventures, and she has a way of inviting everyone to be the positive change that they wish to see in the world.
Hanson hosts weekly cooking segments on her Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/chefgretchenhanson/. To sign up for her vegan cooking class, go to www.chefgretchenhanson.com. Follow @chefgretchenhanson on Twitter and search #foodislove.