With new vegan restaurants popping up, more mainstream veg options, and the ever-growing trend of vegan supperclubs, amazing veg dining has never been easier. Activists across the country are combining their ethics and foodie sensibilities to bring sustainable, cruelty-free cuisine to the masses. Green-living guru Joshua Katcher is getting in on the action, expanding his scope to include feeding hungry Brooklyn, NY, diners in search of a memorable meal. The man behind The Discerning Brute now spends his spare time planning for the launch of Gracious Gourmand, a new vegan dinner series to be hosted at Second Stop Café in Williamsburg. Giving guest chefs access to local produce from Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop garden project, he hopes to not only please herbivores’ palates, but introduce omnivores to amazing veg food that’s truly eco-friendly. VN caught up with Katcher to learn more about his new venture and find out how to score a seat at this exclusive event.
VegNews: What inspired you to create Gracious Gourmand?
Joshua Katcher: I’ve always wanted to open a really cutting-edge restaurant that works with as many experimental and extravagant techniques, and as many local, organic ingredients as possible. This is the next best thing to opening my own place!
VN: Second Stop Café isn’t exclusively veg. Why did you decide it was the perfect location?
JK: Inclusion is key to making large changes in food culture. The café already offers several vegan options, but smashing the negative stereotype among omnivores that ethical cuisine is boring is a dish best served to a predominantly omnivorous audience. There are few things as powerful to animal advocates and environmentalists as winning people over with irresistible and intelligent food. I am in this to change perceptions, and as activists, it’s easy to forget that inquiring minds don’t always willingly come to us—sometimes we need to go to them with a plate of delicious food.
VN: Can you reveal any of the upcoming guest chefs?
JK: Top secret! The line-up is really exciting so far. I am not giving out any names just yet, but I can tell you there are 10 incredible food artists already in the mix, and the list is growing.
VN: Are you considering participating as a guest chef?
JK: I definitely want to cook one evening. If I find time, I’ll do an Italian themed meal as a dedication to the historic Italian neighborhood in which this café is located.
VN: How often can diners expect the event?
JK: We hope to make this a weekly institution starting at the end of August. I like to plant seeds and see what happens, so who knows what this will become. It’s an extremely exclusive event with very limited seating—only two seatings of about 15 people each per event, so this is poised to be one hot ticket. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know as soon as tickets go on sale.