Neil and I are celebrating our Third Wedding Anniversary this weekend and today we are off to explore Providence, Rhode Island. While we are galavanting around Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire I hope you enjoy the Vegan Wedding Feature posts. In this first post Tess Challis discusses her all vegan menu and how if the food looks beautiful and taste delicious anyone will eat vegan. Enjoy!
Lentil Spinach Soup (photo by Michelle McCluggage)
Although my marriage didn’t have a fairy tale ending, I can happily say that my ex-husband and I are still great friends! We were married in the fall of 2002 in the Lizard Head wilderness. Here in Colorado, you can legally marry each other without anyone else present. However, we did want to have a gathering to celebrate a few weeks after the actual marriage took place. At the time, we were on a shoestring budget so we had to get really creative. Luckily, there were lots of incredibly kind and generous people who offered to participate. Local professional musicians offered to sing at our celebration for free and the space we rented for the celebration was also practically free!
So, all that was left was food! Being a vegan since 1991, I was determined to work delicious vegan cuisine into the event as well. And since I was in charge of the food (and my husband was a vegan-friendly vegetarian), we decided on a delicious, all-vegan menu. Having done quite a bit of catering and personal chef work at that point, I knew what dishes were crowd pleasers. For an event like this with mostly omnivores, I wanted a menu that would be exciting and satisfying for everyone. I didn’t want even one person to say, “That was good, but where’s the meat?” So, we decided on a menu that included the following: Creamy hummus (pictured) with sourdough bread, gourmet mini-pizzas (pictured), Italian bread salad, fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce, Lemon Asparagus Linguine (pictured), Lemon Lentil Soup (pictured), and Chocolate Decadence Cake (pictured). I’ve obviously found that Italian food is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser! And it was – even my meat-and-potatoes grandma said after dinner: “If you cooked for me every day, I would be a vegan!” Everyone loved the food and talked about it for many months afterward.
Creamy Hummus with Sourdough Bread (Photo by Olga Vasiljeva)
Mini PIzzas (Photo by Michelle McCluggage)
Lemon Asparagus Linguine (Photo by Michelle McCluggage)
Chocolate Decadence Cake (Photo by Michelle McCluggage)
So, this has been my path! Turning people on to a vegan lifestyle via delicious food. It’s such a sneaky approach, but one that works surprisingly well! I can’t tell you how many people have told me over the years that the vegan food I’ve served them has been just about the best thing they’ve ever eaten. It’s so exciting to turn people on to really delicious food that awakens their taste buds – and then to tell them, “By the way, that was all vegan – and healthy!”
Quintessence (“Tess”) Challis began her holistic health journey in her late teens. After a lifetime of numerous health ailments (including acne, obesity, strep throat, constant illnesses, anxiety, and depression), she found that a vegan diet along with an “inner wellness regime” of meditation and visualization literally made a world of difference.
In 1994, she began sharing this knowledge through cooking classes, catering, meditation classes, and workshops. She has also been a personal chef to many clients across the United States.
In 2009, Tess published the 2nd edition of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, a vegan cookbook and complete holistic health resource. Tess’s latest book, The Two-Week Wellness Solution: The Fast Track to Permanent Weight Loss and Vitality, was released in June 2010 and includes a foreward by Dr. Neal Barnard. Her next book, Radiance 4 Life: The 4 Cornerstones of Ultimate Vitality, is due out in June 2011. She currently works as a wellness coach, cooking class instructor, author/speaker, and personal trainer.
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