Welcome! I’m Michele Wolfson and I am a vegetarian chef. As a specialist in plant-based cuisine, I am trained in planning nutritionally balanced menus and developing menus for specific dietary needs. Basically, my motto is that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for health. I had my last cheeseburger before the second grade. Moral and ethical dimensions have been my main drive to cook cuisine that is designed to be both healthy and delicious without hurting so much as a fly. The Natural Gourmet Institute trained me to prepare cuisine that is vegetarian and vegan and I have a passion for developing new recipes. I also hold a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition through Cornell University, based on the groundbreaking nutrition research of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, best-selling author of The China Study. I will be completing my Masters in Human Nutrition Degree from the University of Bridgeport in 2018.
I have worked as a personal chef, an advisor to food startups, a social media marketing consultant, a recipe developer, and a food writer. I work in the Big Apple and have been a resident of downtown Manhattan for nearly 11 years.
When I tell people I am a vegetarian chef, some skeptically ask, “What do you really make with vegetables?” I reply, “There are so many amazing, fulfilling dishes that can be made with vegetables. You won’t even miss meat.”
My recipes are influenced by a variety of cultures because I love cuisine from many different regions. My mission has been to translate vegetarian cuisine to a broader audience- for omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. I’m passionate about encouraging my clients and readers to think about what they put into their bodies, and how to find a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Below are the answers to clients’ and readers’ most frequently asked questions. If you have more questions, feel free to visit my contact page and leave me a message!
What food preparation skills that you possess do you think are the most important? Where did you learn them? My knife skills have come a long way since my early days in culinary school. I learned them at The Natural Gourmet Institute when I attended full time for my culinary degree. Cooking was always a hobby of mine before I made it my profession, but I couldn’t have made that transition without proper training. The school not only taught me my knife skills, but they also taught me about how to work out the timing of a meal, and I pride myself on getting everything together promptly. The Natural Gourmet Institute taught me so many things—it was a program that specialized in vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine with an emphasis on making nutritious food that was also delicious. The program helped me immeasurably.
Why cooking? Cooking is love and food is a universal language. Cooking is family and friends around a table laughing together and bonding over scrumptiousness. It is all things yummy. Cooking is always a learning experience. I love that I will still be learning about cooking for as long as I live. You can never know everything when it comes to cooking.
Why did you create The Dirt on Vegetables website? One of the reason I started this website at first was because people often call me to ask for various recipes of mine that they have tried and I thought, why not make a blog where I can post regularly? I learned so much through my education at The Natural Gourmet Institute, as well as working as a private chef, and I wanted to be able to share delicious and healthy food. I want this to be a place where we can all work together on taking better care of ourselves through diet and lifestyle. It’s also a great way to list all of my services as a chef.
What inspires you? Making a difference in the world inspires me. My dad inspires me. He wakes up every morning loving what he does for a living. As a physician, he is happy to see patients from early in the morning until late at night. That joy is something that I always wanted in a career. I think that is a major reason why I feel it is my duty to heal people through food. Nutrition and health go hand in hand and I want to spread that message. Other people in my field inspire me with their amazing dreams coming to fruition. My husband inspires me with his love and support as well as his appetite. He is always ready to be my food taster! Most of all, my faith in God inspires me to believe that with Him, all things are possible.