A lifelong vegetarian and vegan for ten years, Chef Chloe Coscarelli is an award-winning chef and best-selling cookbook author. The first-ever vegan chef to win Food Network's hit show Cupcake Wars, she demonstrated how eating vegan doesn't mean giving up your favorite treats and flavors. Having committed herself to bringing delicious, meat-free dishes to a mainstream audience, Chef Chloe recently made a splash in NYC's dining scene with her popular fast-casual spot, by CHLOE.
by Minnie Kim
Minnie Kim: You were the first vegan chef to win a culinary competition on national television - what first got you into cooking?
Chloe Coscarelli: I grew up cooking with my mom, and once I went vegan, we had so much fun veganizing all of our family recipes. It showed me that food can still be flavorful, satisfying and delicious. I took that passion to the Natural Gourmet Institute and it just grew from there!
MK: What made you transition from being a vegetarian to being vegan?
CC: I was a lifelong vegetarian, once I tried the vegan lifestyle, I realized there were so many options to make vegan cooking just as delicious, but without all of the cheese and dairy. My family was beyond supportive in my decision and made the transition that much easier.
MK: Most memorable moment from "Cupcake Wars"?
CC: Aside from winning, it would have to be when I left my audition and realized that I had forgotten to tell the casting directors that my cupcakes were vegan. When they followed up I filled them in and they said “we don’t care, they are delicious!” That as a really exciting moment where I realized that my sweets had a real shot.
MK: By CHLOE has been a huge hit since its recent opening - any plans for expansion?
CC: It’s been incredible to see everyone’s excitement and support for the restaurant – we'll ever not be excited to see the lines out the door. We currently have two additional New York City locations planned for 2016 – in Flatiron and Soho. We are excited to see the brand grow!
MK: Will you be adding any holiday specials at by CHLOE?
CC: We will be! We just wrapped our Thanksgiving special but still have our pumpkin latte and pumpkin cupcakes with maple frosting through the end of December. We also recently launched a No-Egg Nog for December that you can enjoy as is or spiked for an extra treat!
MK: What is your go-to dish to bring to a holiday pot luck?
CC: The Stuffed Shells from my latest cookbook, Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, is a solid holiday stand by. Whenever I’m hosting a dinner party at home, it’s usually the first recipe I decide on for the menu. It’s a crowd pleaser, super easy to make ahead of time, and tastes great as leftovers.
MK: Baking or cooking?
CC: That’s like asking someone who their favorite child is! I love them both! The science behind baking is really exciting – you can get into the zone in that kitchen and perfect the details, while cooking I feel like you can toss in a little kale, a sprinkle of paprika, and just watch a dish meld together as you go along.
MK: Do you have any festive holiday traditions?
CC: Vegan cinnamon rolls all season long. My mom and I make them and are popping them out of the oven for breakfast lunch and dinner during the holidays. Nothing like the smell of cinnamon and yeast filing your home!
MK: Favorite holiday cocktail?
CC: I say keep it simple – I love a glass of rose' champagne, something a little on the sweeter side but still dry enough to enjoy alongside appetizers.
MK: Dream client to cook for?
CC: Kate Middleton! I'd make her vegan sticky toffee pudding.
MK: What are you giving this holiday season?
CC: Fresh baked vegan chocolate chip cookies! The perfect gift on a budget that everyone loves. I just pick out some cute tins and gift tags at the Container Store.
Minnie Kim works as a social media marketing coordinator in NYC. An avid foodie, you will often find her shamelessly standing on chairs to photograph for her food Instagram @eatingwithminnie.
Photos courtesy of by CHLOE.