COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Plant-based chef Maricel Lukkanit has not always been vegan. In fact, she went from omnivore to vegan overnight a few years ago after seeing the documentary “Earthlings.”
She dove straight into her new lifestyle and now makes her living as a vegan personal chef. Her business Vegan Crush also hosts monthly supper clubs in private homes, often teaming up with like-minded chefs to create unusual fine dining vegan feasts.
Coconuts attended one of Vegan Crush’s supper club events recently. For this session, German expat Lukkanit teamed up with Strive to Thrive vegan coach and chef Brighde Reed to create a 5-course feast for 10 guests, the maximum they accommodate at the vegan dinners.
Not everyone who attend the events is vegan — in fact, most people aren’t but are looking to try something new. Lukkanit gets many repeat guests since the menu changes each time.
The dinner parties focus on “plant-based gourmet dining with recipes based on my travels around the world,” the chef said.
On the menu at May’s fusion vegan supper club were:
A bright green pea and mint cold soup thickened with cashews and topped with coconut cream and whole peas. The large bowl of soup tasted clean, fresh and pleasingly filling from the addition of the nuts. Though I knew I shouldn’t finish it with four more courses coming, I just couldn’t help myself.
The second course was a large dollop of spinach polenta topped with a teriyaki oyster mushroom steak dressed with fresh gingko nuts and microgreens.
I was already starting to become full as the third course was brought to the table. The main course consisted of green cabbage stuffed with tofu, roasted tempeh, red rice, herbs, and chives. Ladled over the top was a light but flavorful dried cherry tomato sauce crafted from three different kinds of tomatoes. Thoughtfully placed off to the side was a dollop of a similar tomato sauce enhanced with liquid smoke, since the chefs knew that some people might not like the strong flavor. Both sauces were unusual and this proved to be my favorite dish of all.
Up next was a vegan riff on a fruit and cheese plate. Pairing beetroot chutney with sweet mango and cashew cheese, this dish was artfully laid out and tasted like you might leave the table healthier than when you arrived.
Though beetroot isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, this chutney was mellow and sweet. Lukkanit explained that it tasted that way because she slow-simmered the mango with the beetroot for three hours.
To wrap up, there was a deconstructed blueberry cheesecake served in parfait glasses. The crust was made of dates and almonds, the “cheesecake” was cashew cream and agave topped off with fresh, sweet blueberries.
The vegan dinners usually happen monthly at different locations around the city. The cost is THB1,500 per person. Find out more on the Vegan Crush page.