Chef Michael Voltaggio—winner of the sixth season of culinary competition show Top Chef—recently developed a five-course tasting menu for Los Angeles vegan restaurant Crossroads Kitchen. The menu ($65 per person) features Voltaggio’s inventive plant-based takes on traditionally meat-centric Italian dishes. The first course is playfully called “Mushrooms Pretending to Be Chicken Liver Mousse” and is served with a kale juice-infused lavash bread. The salad course features mizuna bitter greens, fioretto (flowering cauliflower), oro blanco grapefruit, and hazelnuts. For his spin on a clam-heavy “alle vongole” style pasta dish, Voltaggio replaced clams with oyster mushrooms served over “gnocchetti”—a small pasta variety traditionally shaped by pressing dough into the bottom of a wicker basket. The fourth course is Smoke Beet Osso Bucco, a plant-based stand-in for a Northern Italian dish that features slow-cooked, wine-braised meat. For dessert, Voltaggio created a Chocolate Budino cake served with coffee ice cream and coconut whipped cream. Voltaggio promoted the new menu—which will be served at Crossroads on December 17—on social media with the statement, “#vegan #menu #food #plantbased is the new #porkbelly.”
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