Supporting Portland's Vegan, Vegetarian, and Veg-curious Community

VegFest 2010
Speakers, Chefs, Classes and Experts
Past VegFests
2015 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009

Speakers, Chefs, Classes, and Experts

Dr. Michael Klaper

Saturday, 4:30pm: "Journey Through the Digestive System"
Sunday, 1:30pm: "Pro-biotics, Gallbladder Flushes & Colonic Irrigations: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly"

Dr. Michael Klaper graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago in 1972. As Dr. Klaper's medical Career progressed, he began to realize that many of the diseases his patients brought to his office - clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity, adult onset diabetes, and even some forms of arthritis, asthma, and other significant illnesses - were made worse, or actually caused, by the high-fat, overly processed Standard American Diet.

This prompted him to undertake a serious study of the link between diet and disease, eventually leading him to implement nutritionally-based therapies in his practice. The results were dramatic. Nearly all of his patients who followed his dietary, exercise,and stress reduction programs soon became leaner and more energetic, while their elevated blood pressures and cholesterol levels returned to safer values. (In twelve weeks on this same program, Dr. Klaper's own cholesterol dropped from 242 mg/dl to 140mg/dl, while a 22-pound "spare tire" of abdominal fat melted away -- without dieting or calorie restriction.) He also observed that many of the chronic diseases mentioned above improved or resolved completely, often allowing his patients to reduce or discontinue their medication entirely.

Dr. Klaper believes strongly that proper nutrition and a balanced lifestyle are essential for health, and in many cases make the difference between healing an illness or merely treating the symptoms.

Dr. Milton Mills

Saturday, 12:00pm: "Chemistry for Understanding Nutrition: protein and carbohydrates"

Whether internist Milton Mills is practicing at Fairfax Hospital in Virginia or at free clinics in Washington, D.C., his prescription for patients is likely to include some dietary advice: go vegetarian.

"Medical research shows conclusively that a plant-based diet reduces chronic disease risk, so that's something I absolutely encourage my patients to move toward," says Dr. Mills, a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine, who became interested in the connection between diet and health when he went vegetarian as a teenager. "I find that when people are ill, they are very open to adopting practices that will improve their health."

Dr. Mills doesn't limit his message to his patients. He takes it to audiences around the country as well, speaking at hospitals, churches, and community centers. Click here to see Dr. Mills speak on "Are Humans Designed to Eat Meat?"

Christopher Weber, Ph.D.

Sunday, 3:00pm: "Climate Change and Food Choice"

Christopher Weber is an Assistant Research Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and member of the Green Design Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

His doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon involved the connections between international trade, economic growth, and the environmental and climate impacts of household consumption in the U.S. and China. His current research interests involve climate change and the use of life cycle assessment and economic modeling in business and government policy.

Brenda Davis, R.D.

Saturday, 10:30am: "Raw-food Diets: separating fact from fiction"
Sunday, 4:30pm: "Designing an optimal plant-based diet"

Brenda Davis, registered dietitian and nutritionist, is a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She has worked as a public health nutritionist, clinical nutrition specialist, nutrition consultant and academic nutrition instructor. She is currently on a diabetes intervention research project in Majuro, Marshall Islands. Brenda spent 8 months in Majuro in 2006 and returns for 4-6 week periods once or twice a year.

Brenda is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. In July 2007, she was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame.

A co-author of seven books - best-sellers, Becoming Vegan, Becoming Vegetarian, The New Becoming Vegetarian and Defeating Diabetes, Dairy-free and Delicious and the newly released, Becoming Raw and Raw-food Revolution Diet. Brenda lives in Kelowna, British Columbia with her husband Paul. She has two grown children, Leena and Cory. Click here to watch an interview with Brenda.

Dr. Michael Greger

Saturday, 1:30pm: "Latest in Clinical Nutrition 2010"

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, among countless other symposia and institutions, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

Dr. Greger is also licensed as a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition and was a founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Greger was featured on the Healthy Living Channel promoting his latest nutrition DVD and honored to teach part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell's esteemed nutrition course at Cornell University. His books include Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, Heart Failure: Diary of a Third Year Medical Student and Carbophobia: The Scary Truth Behind America's Low Carb Craze. Dr. Greger is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine.

Dr. Gordon Saxe

Saturday, 3:00pm & Sunday, 12:00pm:
"The Role of Diet in Cancers of the Breast and Prostate"

Gordon Saxe, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and a member of the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Saxe received his M.P.H. in Nutrition at Tulane University, his Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the University of Michigan, and his M.D. at Michigan State University. He completed residency training in preventive medicine at the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Saxe's research has focused on the role of diet and lifestyle factors in breast and prostate cancer. His current research focuses on whether adoption of a plant-based diet, reinforced by stress reduction, can slow the progression of recurrent prostate cancer.

Cooking Demonstrations

Tal Ronnen

Saturday, 3:00pm & Sunday, 4:30pm:
"Who Knew Vegetarian/Vegan Cuisine Could Taste this Good?"

Chef Tal Ronnen is one of the most celebrated vegan chefs working today. In the spring of 2008, he became known nationwide as the chef who prepared vegan meals for Oprah Winfrey's 21-day vegan cleanse. He has since catapulted to fame, catering Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi's vegan wedding, Arianna Huffington's party at the Democratic National Convention, and the first vegan dinner at the U.S. Senate.

In October 2009, Chef Tal released his new cookbook, the conscious cook; it is the first full color vegan cookbook to be published in North America. He appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on October 22, 2009 and made the New York Times Best Seller List. Additionally, and VegNews Magazine named the conscious cook a Top Cookbook in 2009.

A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, Chef Tal has worked at the top vegan restaurants in the United States, including Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, Madeleine Bistro in Los Angeles, and Candle 79 in New York City. Additionally, Chef Tal conducts master vegetarian workshops for students and staff at Le Cordon Bleu College campuses nationwide.

Al Chase & Donna B!

Saturday, 10:30am: "Enlivening & Wheat-free Breakfast Ideas"
Sunday, 10:30am: "Creative Vegan Brunch How-To's"

Al's passion for cooking emerged early in his mother Agnes' kitchen baking rolls. His culinary calling strengthened as Al Jr. prepared 50 pound batches of potato salad at his parent's deli in Red Hook, NY. Albert Sr. once said: "Al, become a chef, you will always have food and a good job." He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and in his mid-twenties, the light bulb went on... "If I don't change my eating habits, I might be faced with the illnesses in my family including heart disease and osteoporosis." Dr. Michael Klaper, John Robbins and Howard Lyman were major influences in his decision to go vegan in 1990. Since then his focus is on a Farm-to-the-Kitchen, local and seasonal approach to cooking. He offers trainings and consultations to food professionals and the public who want to expand their vegan repertoire. He has presented his "love for the food and farmers" centered craft at venues such as the Culinary Institute of America, Omega Institute of Holistic Studies and Portland's Better Living Show and has been a guest on TV and Radio. Currently, he is working on a cookbook and will be launching a new website this year. He lives in Ashland, Oregon and is grateful for the Rogue Valley's organic bounty. Contact

Donna has been a foodie ever since her exposure to healthy ways of eating at the Whole Life Expos in the 1980s. Her passion for organic, vegan cuisine as well as her background in marketing mix well to help bring the vision of her work with Chef Al Chase to food professionals and the public desiring to learn more about Organic, Plant-based Cuisine. As a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Project Manager, she helps those wanting to transition to this sustainable lifestyle. In addition, she has co-created Veg Village at the Better Living Show which showcases vegan businesses and organizations at Oregon's largest green living show for consumers. She is a motivational speaker, improvisational actress and musician specializing in Native American Courting Flute. Her favorite thing to do is to inspire otherís creativity, health and wellness through teaching, consulting, public speaking, social media and activism. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Television-Radio from Syracuse University, her Chef Instructor Certificate from the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute and studied Food Writing with cookbook author Diane Morgan. Donna is currently creating the new website for her work with Chef Al and is planning the 2010/2011 Organic, Plant-based Cuisine Bootcamps! in Oregon and Ireland. Contact

Alan Roettinger

Saturday, 4:30pm & Sunday, 1:30pm: "Speed Vegan"

Alan Roettinger has always loved food. He grew up in Mexico, where the food literally explodes with flavor. He learned Mexican cooking from the maids and the gardener, but he had no idea then that he would have a career in cooking. At 18, he left home and spent two years living in Switzerland. He traveled throughout Europe and Morocco, where each town seemed to have its own unique cuisine.

Eventually, he moved to the United States and worked at various jobs around the country before settling on a career as a private chef. As a private chef, he not only got to make different food every day and use expensive ingredients, he got to observe human nature at the pinnacle of wealth and power. During his 25 years serving the rich and famous (including a president and a prime minister), he learned a lot about what we hunger for, and what satisfies us. Alan's first book, "Omega 3 Cuisine," is a collection of recipes that help incorporate plant-based omega-3 fats in one's diet. He has recently written a cookbook, Speed Vegan.

Jennifer Cornbleet

Saturday, 12:00pm: "Raw For Dessert--Now You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!"

You can stay vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or just plain health-conscious and still eat delicious cakes, pies, compotes, crumbles, custards, sorbets, ice creams, cookies, and candies! Jennifer Cornbleet, author of the bestselling Raw Food Made Easy, shares easy no-bake recipes from her newly released book, Raw For Dessert.

Jennifer Cornbleet is an internationally recognized raw food chef and instructor, and the author of the best-selling Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People. She offers lectures, classes, hands-on workshops, and consultations nationwide. She is a faculty instructor at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, CA and serves on the board of directors of the Conscious Health Institute.

David Gabbe & Wendy Gabbe Day

Saturday, 1:30pm: "Scattering Vegan Sweets"

This father-daughter duo will be making heavenly sweet treats that are not only low-fat and cholesterol-free, but also delicious and highly nutritious! Loaded with wholesome ingredients, enjoy these guilt-free indulgences any time of day.

David Gabbe began teaching vegetarian cooking and nutrition in 1990, and has written five books, including From David's Pure Vegetarian Kitchen, The Going Vegetarian Cookbook, and Why Do Vegetarians Eat Like That? David has taught cooking classes in California, Oregon and Washington and been a speaker at numerous health symposiums, seminars and conferences for over a decade. His current class schedule can be found at:

Wendy Gabbe Day is a coordinator for Northwest VEG - a Portland area non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the power of a veg lifestyle. Wendy teaches vegan cooking for a Veg 101 series of classes. A vegetarian since birth, and a former Division 1 college athlete, Wendy's focus on health and fitness is fueling her first vegan "sweets" cookbook - scheduled to be completed in September 2010.

Debra Daniels-Zeller

Sunday, 12:00pm: "The Northwest Vegetarian Cooks from the Local Food Basket"

Debra Daniels-Zeller learned how to roll a pie crust and enjoy the simple pleasures of food in her grandmother's kitchen. A vegetarian since 1977, Debra has taught seasonally inspired vegetarian cooking classes in Seattle since 1990. She has been a regular contributor to Vegetarian Journal for over a decade. Her recipes and articles have also appeared in Delicious Living, The Sound Consumer, and Veggie Life. Debra writes about local farms, seasonal produce, food trends, and sustainable plant-based diets. She hosts two blogs - Food Connections ( and You Wrote a Book; Who Cares? (

Pete Prasarttongosoth

Sunday, 3:00pm: "Delicious Thai Cuisine"

Pete Prasarttongosoth is the creator of VegeThai, the Hawthorne Boulevard restaurant that has become a virtual vegetarian institution in just seven years. Pete comes from a foodie family in Bangkok: the kind of folks that would drive two hours from home for that perfect bowl of noodles. At VegeThai, he brings his passion for delicious Thai cuisine to an all-vegetarian menu, striking a rare balance between maintaining the integrity of traditional Thai cooking and living up to the standards of his Portland vegetarian clientele.

Pete will be demonstrating two of his most popular dishes at VegFest. Come learn how to make Traditional Thai Salad Rolls, always the hit of the party, and a tasty Thai salad.


Rae Sikora

Saturday, 4:30pm: "Our Planet, Love It, Live It, Save It"
Sunday, 3:00pm: "Brilliant Chickens and Einstein Squids"

Rae Sikora has been a spokesperson for the earth and our big animal family for over 30 years. She is co-founder of Vegfund, Plant Peace Daily and The Institute for Humane Education. Rae is co-author of Plant Peace Daily, Everyday Outreach for People Who Care. She leads workshops on ethical consumerism, communication and compassionate living .

Pulin Modi

Saturday, 12:00pm: "Snappy Comebacks To Common Animal Rights Questions"

Pulin Modi is the Action Team manager in PETA's International Grassroots Campaigns Department. He coordinates PETA's work with local animal rights activists and groups around the world, teaching them the ins and outs of organizing protests, distributing informational leaflets, and coordinating educational events.

Modi honed his skills while working as college campaigns coordinator and senior Street Team coordinator for peta2 - PETA's youth division. Now, Modi focuses on grassroots organizing, as well as campaigns against McDonald's, the Canadian seal slaughter, and Ringling Bros.

Modi - who credits the animal-friendly punk-music scene for inspiring him to go vegan - has spent a lot of his time with PETA traveling to protests and outreach events, including a provocative exhibit about the benefits of vegetarianism in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. He has also been a featured speaker at animal rights and youth conferences in New York, Chicago, Austin, Orlando, Toronto, Chicago, and Portland, Ore. Modi has had dozens of letters to the editor printed in college and local newspapers, and his efforts have garnered him interviews with TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers across the country.

Dr. Richard Heitsch

Saturday, 1:30pm: "Health Care: Getting a Paradigm Change Right"

Dr. Richard Heitsch, medical director of the Integrated Medicine Group in Northeast Portland, has over 10 years experience in Functional Medicine and a masters degree in Public Health. He is trained as a surgeon and holds vast experience in general and trauma surgery as well as sports medicine and rehabilitation.

Hope Bohanec

Saturday, 3:00pm: "Eco-Eating, A Cool Diet for a Hot Planet"

Hope Bohanec has been active in Animal Rights for over 20 years, organizing successful campaigns with Sonoma People for Animal Rights (SPAR) throughout the 90's. Hope was the Sonoma County Coordinator for Proposition 2 and soon after that victory, founded Farm Animal Protection Project (FAPP). Hope offers an influential power point presentation called "Eco-Eating: A Cool Diet for a Hot Planet" that addresses the environmental impact of animal agriculture through peer reviewed scientific research. Eco-Eating has been presented at conferences and schools for the past five years. She now offers her organizational talents to In Defense of Animals (IDA) as their Grassroots Campaigns Director.

Robert Cheeke

Sunday, 10:30am: "Eating Green for Athletic Performance"

Robert Cheeke, author of Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness - The Complete Guide to Building Your Body on a Plant-Based Diet will share with the audience his tips for thriving on a plant-based diet.

Robert Cheeke grew up on a farm in Corvallis, OR and at age 15 decided to give up meat for good. Months later he became a full on vegan and began organizing Animal Rights events at Corvallis High School. As an athlete Robert ran cross country for Oregon State University in 1999 and then picked up an interest in lifting weights and became a competitive bodybuilder the following year.

In 2002 Robert started Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, a company dedicated to promoting the vegan fitness lifestyle. In the spring of 2005 Robert became a champion bodybuilder winning a contest in Portland, OR and competed at the Natural Bodybuilding World Championships held in California in 2006. Also in 2006 Robert released a documentary he produced called Vegan Fitness Built Naturally and was selected as one of VegNews Magazine's 15 most influential vegan athletes.

Sarah Taylor

Sunday, 12:00pm: "Vegan In 30 Days"

Sarah Taylor has been a vegan since 2002 when she read Diet for a New America by John Robbins. Both the philosophy and the science supporting a vegan diet convinced her to go vegan, and she has never looked back. In 2006, Sarah started a company called The Vegan Next Door in an effort to spread the word about the vegan diet. She is now a motivational speaker, trainer, and author. Sarah's book, Vegan in 30 Days, gives step-by-step, practical advice to everyday people on how to go vegan, including what to eat to be a healthy vegan, how to be prepared in the kitchen, and how to elegantly navigate social situations.

Sarah has an undergraduate business degree from the University of Washington, an MBA from Seattle University, and holds a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. She is on the faculty at the Nutritional Education Institute, and spent about a year working with Joel Fuhrman MD, one of the premier physicians that treats disease using a plant based diet. In her personal time, Sarah enjoys playing competitive tennis, scuba diving, reading and adventure travel. She is happily married and lives in Gig Harbor, WA with her husband and companion animals.

Kyle Vincent

Sunday, 1:30pm: "An Inconvenient Tooth - How Our Diet Affects Climate Change"

Kyle Vincent is a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and ardent environmentalist who has worked with some of the biggest names in music, including being the opening act for an entire Barry Manilow tour, and even a stint as the lead singer of the Bay City Rollers. Goldmine calls him the "crown prince of soft pop", and Manilow praises him as the "best singer-songwriter to come along since the heyday of Tin Pan Alley". Kyle has released 10 albums of his original music and is constantly on tour around the world, playing to his dedicated fan base. His songs have appeared in movies and on television, and his song, "Wake Me Up (When the World's Worth Waking Up For)" was a Billboard Adult Top 20 single.

Kyle is among a select group of individuals chosen to be trained by former Vice President Al Gore to give his climate crisis slide show presentation, and is an officially sanctioned presenter of The Climate Project and The Alliance for Climate Protection. Vincent's version includes the impact diet and factory farming has on the environment.

In July of 2010, Kyle was the featured performer at the Hiroshima Peace Concert in Japan, where he was invited to sing his song, "Petals of Peace".

Ask the Experts (Exhibit Hall)

Experts on nutrition, health, cooking, and vegan parenting will be available at various times throughout the day. Experts remain available both during and in between other scheduled presentations: expert's schedule.

Stephanie Lucas, RN, MS, MPA

As an RN for over 25 years, Stephanie has seen first-hand how our Stardard American Diet has contributed to dramatically increased rates of obesity and chronic illnesses. As a parent with a vegan teenager, she can share practical advice on motivating healthy eating. Stephanie is also a member of NW VEG's, Veganic Gardening Group, and she is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about gardening without the need for animal by-products.

Tammy Russell, RD, MS, LD

Tammy provides specialized nutrition counseling in regards to vegetarian and vegan diets. Complementing her passion of nutrition is her love of vegetarian cooking and raw foods preparation.

Jim Stuck

Jim of Organic Athlete has been in sports all his life, at various times playing football, baseball, basketball, boxing, bicycle racing, martial arts, and running marathons. He has been vegan for 7 years.

Sue Aberle, RD, MS

Sue specializes in vegetarian and vegan nutrition, and believes that prevention of disease begins with our food choices. She is currently a raw food vegan.

Ole Ersson, MD

Dr. Ersson is a board certified family physician who works for the Multnomah County Health Department. He studied medicine at OHSU, where he completed a family medicine residency before working at Kaiser Permanente and Multnomah County.

Brenda Davis, R.D.

See bio in Speakers

Dr. Michael Greger

See bio in Speakers

Chef Jennifer Cornbleet

See bio in Cooking Demonstrations