Angel Ramos: serving up eclectic, vegan eats on the ues
You’re the head chef at Candle 79. What kind of food do you serve here?
Everything is vegan and organic. We use wheat proteins, things like seitan and tofu to replace meat. Some of our seasonal dishes include a chickpea crepe, seitan picatta, and a grilled kale salad.
We work a lot with local farmers, and learn about how the food grows and where it’s coming from. I go out myself to get fresh, local produce. We change the menu three or four times a year to keep seasonal produce.
When did you get started cooking?
I started at the café. We have three restaurants: one on 75th and 3rd, one on the West Side, and this one on 79th and Lexington. So I started over there at the café as a runner, and I really liked cooking, so I started working on the line in the back. That was 19 years ago when I first got hired, and I’ve been with the company ever since. I was about 23 years old when I started.
I really love what I do, and it’s reflected in the cuisine here.
Are you vegan?
I try different types of cuisines, but I eat mostly vegan—I’m here six days a week. Most of our customers, about 80% of them, aren’t vegan. They just like to try out different things.
What kind of food do you like to cook at home?
I like to keep it light and simple: soups, salads, that sort of thing. When you’re cooking at work every day, it’s nice to go home and just relax.
You’ve been with Candle 79 for so long. What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
We’ve made three cook books, where we’re able to show people how to make traditional recipes vegan. A lot of the dishes in the second book and the holiday cooking one are my own recipes.
Check out what Angel is serving up at The Art of Food by purchasing tickets at: artoffoodny.com
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