March 1, 2012
By Trista Cornelius, Contributing Writer
David Gabbe teaches over 100 cooking classes a year, has been vegetarian (then vegan, and then gluten-free) for at least 30 years, and has published numerous books. His most recent book, David's Vegan Home Cooking, includes recipes such as Tofu Mozzarella Strips, Chocolate Broccoli Cake, and Miso Tortilla Soup. Through trial and error, student feedback, and the scrutiny of his family, he's created many satisfying meals from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and modest amounts of seeds, nuts, and nourishing oils such as coconut, flax, and olive.
When asked what inspired him to convert his whole family to a plant-based diet, Gabbe said he recalls no specific reason, but that "enlightenment can strike like a 'bolt from the blue' or simply waft in an open window on butterfly wings. Then again, that last supper over at Aunt Molly's that featured one huge, greasy rump roast may have been the last straw!"
In the '90s, Gabbe believed a vegan lifestyle could bring "healing light" into a dark, suffering world, so he wrote his first cookbook, Why Do Vegetarians Eat Like That? After the book was widely reviewed in Oregon and Washington newspapers, community colleges and other groups asked him to teach vegan cooking classes, which he has been doing ever since.
His classes usually cost $30-$40 for 2.5-3 hours, which include samples of dishes demonstrated as well as handouts of the recipes. Classes range from how to use tempeh or tofu, or how to make vegan cheeses and milks, to gluten-free baking and animal-free Thanksgivings. He teaches as far north as Bellingham, Washington and as far south as Roseburg, Oregon. Currently, however, he is beginning to concentrate his travels closer to the Portland area.
An omnivore friend of mine and my flexitarian mother have taken David's classes. They both said every recipe tasted delicious and that everything seemed easy to make, affordable, and realistic for busy schedules. They also liked that the class size was small, and there was time to ask questions.
If you feel inspired to become a vegan entrepreneur like Gabbe, he suggests that you need to know your stuff. Become "well versed in vegan cooking, health, economy--everything! Become familiar with the works of as many renowned vegan writers as possible. And know something about the people you are trying to reach. Give them what they need to know, and make it your best effort."
To find classes, events, or to order books, visit David's Vegan Kitchen website at: davidsvegankitchen.com