I recently had the chance to chat with the Vegan Black Metal Chef about his cookbook, err, I mean spell book...veganism, music, and a host of other topics. If you haven't heard of him by now, you must come out from under that rock you live under and subscribe to his YouTube channel immediately! This very entertaining, culinary dark lord, also known as, Brian Manowitz, has created a mystical world where black metal music is combined with step-by-step vegan meal concepts - and a bit of humor. This "seitanic" chef goes beyond boring recipes! Find out how:
According to the media, and music sales figures…rock music is dying fast. So I'm on a mission to save rock music. I like to think of rock music as Middle-earth, and metal music as Mordor. Therefore metal lives inside rock music, so saving rock is essentially saving metal. Still with me? So do you think that incorporating things like vegan food with metal music, can help to bring some excitement to rock music, thus helping to save it?
VBMC: I think rock/metal music is saved by it adapting to the times by innovation and growth in all areas. Doing things with music in a multimedia way can help lead that innovation. Often times people don't know what they want, so sometimes you give people music in a way they didn't even know they wanted it yet. The power of the individual or small group to create music and video grows by leaps every year. With that comes the responsibility to learn to use and take advantage of these technological advancements. The more people innovate, the more music and themselves will be saved.
Tell us about your songs. We see you have delicious titles such as “Sundried Tomato Pasta” and “Smoothie Alchemy.” Do you write the songs before you dream up the recipes, or vice versa. Do they come from personal cravings, requests from your fans, or a bit of both?
VBMC: The songs come after the recipes. The songs are made fresh to order with each video. I have many more recipies than videos. Most of the videos come from whatever concept I want to teach at that time. The videos (and book) do not contain strict recipies but concepts that one can adapt to a variety of food creations. For example, I could be teaching the concept of how to make any variety of Asian style sauces in the context of the udon noodle stir-fry recipe. The book goes further into detail with this.
A few of the videos were commissioned for me to make: the Holliday Hell Road video was on Anthony Bourdain's 'No Reservations,' the Yule Log cake video another website called, Chowhound, wanted me to make, and the Juicing video was sponsored by, Breville.
You have a recipe book called, "The Seitanic Spellbook,” which is brilliant. Where can we get the book, and why is it better than all of the other vegan cookbooks available?
VBMC: It is better than all other vegan cookbooks available for several reasons:
1) There are QR codes to scan for each dish which will bring up a video on exactly how to make the dish. It is a multimedia cookbook that incorporates the video, and numbered pictures of every step along the way with "real" pictures (not mocked up). The back of each section has a QR code to scan that I add additional videos over time so the book even expands!
2) It teaches concepts not recipes. I talked about this above but there are no measurements in the book. Why? Because the exact amount of an ingredient often doesn't really matter, there is a huge range of "right" depending on personal taste. Proportions are given when needed or useful (1/3 of this to 1 of that). But overall it liberates your mind to learn the concepts, give things a try, and adjust to your own tastes.
3) I could go on and on... but I think it teaches a very doable form of veganism that essentially anyone can follow and enjoy. There are even mini essays on practical mysticism and personal development.
Do you think being a Vegan Black Metal Chef helps people to think of veganism as less of a hippie, tree-hugger diet, and instead, one that is synonymous with strength and bad-assery?
VBMC: That is what people tell me. I guess everyone plays their little role in a paradigm shift but perhaps it helps an "underserved" section of the growing vegan community that is not inspired by other methods.
Which of your recipes do you suggest non-vegans begin cooking with so they don't get scared away from the diet?
VBMC: Many are easy. Episode 10 the Buffalo Seitan Bites with Vegan Ranch. Hell, you don't even have to make your own seitan, just buy any vegan meat from the regular grocery store (frozen section look for Gardein or similar products) and give it a try. Episode 2 has several easy meals and teaches some tasty concepts.
So you made a Yule Log Cake. Is that ever a good idea, vegan or not? Does it at least taste better than a fruit cake?
VBMC: That one tastes good because it is a Duncan Hines German chocolate cake... and well... they are good! The purpose of that episode to me was to teach the concepts around egg replacer. Duncan Hines (accidentally vegan) has already perfected cake for $1 (or pick your favorite vegan boxed cake). Why reinvent the wheel when it's already good and cheap!?
Do you plan on releasing a music project outside of the Vegan Black Metal Chef world? Or is food always going to be a part of what you do musically?
VBMC: Yes, I have an industrial blackmetal project called ForeverDawn. Check out the first album on BandCamp or Spotify. I am currently writing the second album.
I also make ambient droning stuff that I sleep on planes to and just listen when I want "focus music". You can find that on Spotify under "Background Radiation"
How the hell do we make cauliflower crispy enough to mimic buffalo wings? We tried it and it came out mushy.
VBMC: It's in the book under Indian/ Asian cauliflower. The crispness comes from the batter of rice flour, regular flour, and corn starch. Or alternatively using a flour batter and Panko breadcrumbs. If you want it crispy post sauce, fry the cauliflower and make the sauce seperately, then pour on top at the end just before it is served.
Anything else you would like to mention?
VBMC: Check out the new video shopping guide with the animated veggie fiends!
Now let's learn how to make some nachos and tacos: