Want to make it a merry, meatless Christmas? We chatted with chef Zoë Sagorin, product development specialist for Modern Meat, about how meat alternatives like the Modern Burger, Mini Burger, Crumble, Crab Cakes and Meatballs can make your holiday spread plant-based and bright! —Vita Daily
Hi Zoë! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m a Vancouver local, classically trained in French Cuisine at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. Over the years I have been fortunate to travel and explore many different cultures and cuisines, allowing me to have an eclectic array of food knowledge and inspirations. Currently, I am applying my creative expertise as a product development specialist for Modern Meat in Vancouver.
Modern Meat is all about offering consumers naturally sourced plant-based meats that are accessible, nutritious, satisfying and sustainable. What products does the company currently offer?
We currently have a portfolio of wholesome plant-based meat alternatives that includes the Modern Burger, Mini Burger, Crumble, Crab Cakes and Meatballs. We also have three vegan sauces: our Modern Burger Sauce and Onion Relish to pair with our burgers and the Modern Tarragon Remoulade that is the perfect sauce to enjoy with our fresh and flavourful Crab Cakes. We continue to create new products to keep up with, and get ahead of changing trends and tastes, which means our chefs are constantly searching for new ideas; curating, refining and perfecting authentic Modern Meat recipes.
What makes Modern Meat products unique to other similar plant-based-meat offerings? Who are they for?
Our ingredient profile is what sets us apart from other plant-based food companies. Creating tasty yet healthy food is our priority which is why we do not use any chemicals, additives or artificial preservatives and all our products are made free of soy, gluten, nuts and GMOs. Done right, plant-based can have a very cleansing and healthy side. We also have a team of development chefs that bring their ideas to the table to create unique, nutritious and delicious food using ingredients from plants. The products we create are intended for anybody who wants to enjoy a high-quality vegan artisanal meal while still getting a healthy amount of protein.
Why is it particularly important, now more than ever, to incorporate more plant-based foods into our diets (whether to replace meat or not)?
There are so many reasons to give a plant-based diet a try ranging from health to environmental benefits. At Modern Meat, we like to think of it as a lifestyle choice. The reality is, the effect of animal agriculture on our planet cannot be ignored. It takes a lot of land, resources and energy to produce meat. More and more, consumers are reaching for products that contain ingredients they recognize and trust and are mindful of how their eating habits effect the planet. As well, the new Canadian Food Guide also recommends a diet that is largely plant centric and notes that protein can come from sources other than meat. To be honest, the most important reason to me is that I want people to feel good about what they are eating and enjoy it. When you indulge in Modern Meat products you will feel absolutely satisfied without the added layer of digestive discomfort that comes from eating traditional meat.
What’s your current fave Modern Meat product, and how do you love to prep and eat it?
My favourite product that we have on the market is our Modern Crumble. Our eggplant-based Crumble is absolutely the most versatile and simple ingredient to work with. It can be used in something fun and hearty like a topping for a platter of nachos or refined as a filling for a stuffed pasta.
Anything new and exciting launching for 2021? Or, alternatively, is there a particular plant-based-meat substitute not currently offered that you’d love to see developed (on our vegetarian wish list: canned tuna!)?
There are so many exciting things happening at Modern Meat every single day. However, I can share one thing I am very proud of that will be launching soon … the Modern Meat Gyoza! I was given free rein to create this plant-based gyoza and I can’t wait for people to try it. I use a plant-based crumble I made along with organic shitake mushrooms, cabbage, green onion and garlic. The flavours inside these little packages are so delicious and classically Japanese while being 100 per cent vegan and clean.
The holidays are coming up quickly: is it possible to have an entirely plant-based Christmas dinner and, if so, what would you recommend putting on the merry menu?
It is ABSOLUTELY possible to have an entirely plant-based holiday dinner. I’m actually going to be hosting something similar myself and the menu is looking very tasty this year. For my family, I will be making a hearty main of Modern Meatballs with a rich and creamy vegan gravy topped with chopped parsley. These will be served alongside roasted root vegetables with a tahini sauce, my to-die-for Modern Crumble stuffing, as well as thyme and roasted garlic infused mashed potatoes. We will also be having Modern Onion Relish and apple braised cabbage and a bright cranberry sauce to balance everything out. Lastly, for dessert, we will indulge in an apple crumble pie with vegan vanilla ice cream—my dad’s favourite.
How else can Modern Meat help us make the Christmas merry and meatless?
The holidays are going to look very different this year as we must forego large family gatherings and in-person dinners. Scaling back on plans and events may be difficult, but the cooking does not need to be! Through my inspiration, Modern Meat has created an exclusive Christmas Dinner Bundle comprised of a vegan roast filled with stuffing, accompanied with a gorgeous mushroom gravy and a delicious apple crumble made with BC golden delicious apples, all delivered to your door. This exclusive offer is available now on the Modern Meat website along with some of my favourite recipes.