This is a blog for those who eat one meat-free meal a week or are a vegetarian or vegan 24/7 (and for those who are just curious). As a certified Natural Foods Chef I use my knowledge to take you on a food journey like none other. From dining out to cooking at home. From issues about the food we consume to the ethics surrounding where it comes from. I cover all that and everything in between. I’m a TV anchor/reporter who decided hard news just isn’t my #1 passion. It’s food! So I went to culinary school and now I’m combining my experience as a journalist, wth the knowledge I’ve learned as a Chef. In addition to writing about food, I appear on various TV shows talking about food.
Most of my writing now appears on LetsEatMiami.com.
I’ve also served as a spokesperson for the Lightlife, Veggie Patch and several other companies. I am now helping other food companies, restaurants and personalities get publicity through my company greengoddessfood.com.
To see the work I’ve done as a TV Chef on the Food Network, TLC, Bravo and more check out this link:
Chef Cindi Avila’s Bio:
I have been cooking since I was a teenager! Back then it was white rice with ketchup, spaghetti, mac and cheese (obviously easy dishes, but hey it was a start)! As for how I became a vegetarian? Well when I was 15 I started a class project on animals and had to research PETA. Once receiving some of their mailings I knew I had to give up meat. I stopped eating meat from cows then and over the years gave up pork, poultry and lastly seafood.
In college I lived with a fellow vegetarian for awhile so we started experimenting with cooking meat-free dishes. I used cookbooks sometimes, but really created most of my dishes through trial and error. I’d just think up a dish in my head and execute it. I am not big into exact measurements, I instead like to rely on taste.
After college I really started experimenting more with creative dishes and dishes that I may have missed after giving up meat. For instance chicken Parmesan. Was it really the chicken that made the dish? As I used fake chicken cutlets as a replacement I quickly realized the chicken is definitely not what makes this meal. It’s the cheese, sauce, etc. I decided to make this dish in my pilot “Veg In or Out” because I thought it was an entrée most people could relate too. Who doesn’t like the flavors that make up this Italian staple? I even taste tested it on two people who had no idea it was vegetarian and they were shocked to learn it wasn’t some sort of meat.
After coming up with dozens of other dishes I came up with a concept for a TV show. I was already a TV reporter and knew the biz, but I knew getting this off the ground wouldn’t be easy. I came up with a multi-page proposal and sent it out to a few networks, only to hear nothing back. While I was already on TV I didn’t exactly have a lot of backing to support my cooking. Lucky for me I was selected to appear on the TLC reality show “Dinner Takes All”. The show pitted me against 4 meat eaters. We all tried to convince each other we were the best hosts and cooks. The odds were stacked against me!!! One man on show was a huge carnivore. He shuttered at even the mention of the word VEGETARIAN. When he found out I was making Vegetarian Sausage Paella for my main course he made a comment like “Sausage? Why don’t you vegetarians get your own names for things?” Of course this is like asking why there’s also turkey sausage, pork sausage and beef sausage. They are all sausage and yes vegetarian is another variety. Get it? If not take the hamburger. It was originally beef. Then the turkey burger came along and no one asked why they still called that a burger. So when the veggie burger appeared why would people ever question why it doesn’t deserve the same treatment as the turkey version. I digress, but my point is if I was going to win this competition I really had to impress them. The good news is it was easier than I thought. I think they were expected boring veggies and I gave them a meal that popped I won the competition and finally had the credibility I needed to get a show off the ground.
After that I started making appearances on several TV shows that appeared everywhere from CBS to Fox News Channel and more. A short time later I decided to pursue my passion even further so I attended the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC and became a certified Chef.
Soon after that I appeared on the Food Network’s Chopped, Food Detectives and even cooked for an episode of “The Real Housewives of NYC”. I even created and produced my own show “Green Goddess”.
From there I served as spokesperson for one of the biggest vegetarian food companies in the country “Lightlife”. They make things like Smart Dogs, Smart Sausage, etc. I was able to book appearances on lots of shows and it really helped me figure out the best way to get the meat-free message to the masses. I’ve also gotten a lot of other products national exposure. Since I have worked in TV for so many years I know how to get products on TV. I know what segments producers will go for and how to craft them best. That’s why I’m now doing Public Relations for other companies that are near and dear to my heart. My company is Green Goddess Public Relations. It’s a marriage made in veggie food heaven!