The Chef: Melissa
The Menu: A Japanese feast! Ms. Melissa, our Tokyo transplant, generously offered to help out with testing our recipes from the forthcoming May+June issue of VegNews, which worked out perfectly since we just happened to have something Japanese in our lineup, courtesy of our Hot Urban Eats columnist, Terry Hope Romero. Okonomiyaki, or "as you like it" pancake-pizza hybrids may be the most delicious and best-kept secret of Japanese cuisine. Sort of like savory potato pancakes, these treats are made with grated nagaimo, which makes an almost egg-like base. Melissa added flour, shredded napa cabbage, grated carrots, pickled ginger, and spices to each pancake, and then we all added our own toppings—which is where the similarity to pizza comes in, in case you were wondering. We selected from chopped Tofurky slices, green onions, whipped vegan mayonnaise, homemade okonomiyaki sauce, strips of nori, and toasted sesame seeds. Oh, and Melissa also made an awesome salad with grated carrots and steamed edamame. Yeah, things are pretty stinking good here!
The Goods: The majority of us in the office had never heard of okonomiyaki before today, and now we are officially hooked. If there's anything better than savory pancakes that you douse with sauce and toppings like pizza, we don't even want to know about it.