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From practical to playful, inspired recipes that reveal the hidden potential of plants
At the award-winning restaurant, The Acorn, plants are celebrated: explored, enhanced, coaxed with creativity, and dressed for a night of being the center of attention and the phenomenal focus of every plate. In their first cookbook, Shira Blustein and Brian Luptak—The Acorn’s owner and chef—share their truly unique recipes, highlighting the endless possibilities that come when cooking with the seasonal and wild-crafted ingredients gifted to us by nature. Defying categorization, with dishes that are anything but predictable, this cookbook will leave even the staunchest of meat eaters satisfied.
The recipe chapters are structured by season, with an Essentials chapter at the start of the book—full of pickles, vinegars, oils, and plant-based alternatives—and a Cocktails chapter at the back. All the recipes are broken into components, and range from the simple but sublime Spring Radishes with Ashed Spring Onion Almond Sauce, Fried Garlic Scapes or Stinging Nettle Soup, to the intriguing Fried Zucchini Blossoms with Fermented Zucchini Purée and Apricot Chili Sauce, Smoked Caramelized Parsnip and Potato Pâté, or Squash and Chanterelle Gnocchi. And the recipes focus on minimizing waste and maximizing the potential of each plant—as the stems of one recipe become the pickled star of another.
Encouraging us all to be adventurous with our vegetables, Acorn offers a year’s worth of seasonal recipes, infused with brilliant creativity. Visually compelling, and masterfully thought through, Acorn takes vegetarian cooking to the next level, and is a cookbook to read, admire, and inspire.
About the Author
SHIRA BLUSTEIN is the owner and founder of The Acorn, an award-winning, vegetable-forward restaurant and bar located at the heart of Vancouver’s Main St. Since opening in 2012, The Acorn has picked up national awards for excellence—including enRoute magazine’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants—and been featured in The New York Times and Bon Appétit. It has been deemed one of the best vegetable-forward destinations in the world by CNN and The Daily Meal, and the Number 1 vegan restaurant in the world by Big Seven Travel. In 2016, Blustein opened The Arbor, a casual sequel to Acorn, on the same Main St. block, and with the same uncompromising attention to quality, detail, and plant-based deliciousness.
BRIAN LUPTAK was head chef at The Acorn for five years. Prior to this, he spent a decade cooking in some of the Canada’s finest hotels and resorts—from remote getaway locations to urban centers. By combining the structure and discipline he gained from larger institutions, with the freedom of creativity and experimentation afforded by The Acorn, Luptak raised the bar for the restaurant’s innovative dishes with his exceptional palate and discerning eye for detail and presentation. He lives in Vancouver with his partner, Christine, and puppy, Bowie.
“The Acorn’s recipes for elevated vegetarian meals, center plants and fungi in a gustatory spotlight that demonstrates, through deliciousness, just how potent and satisfying these living kingdoms can be.” —DAVID ZILBER, chef and fermenter
“Eating at The Acorn made me feel like I belonged, and left me with a lot of positive questioning: It was my first time at a vegetarian restaurant where everything was so thoughtful and beautifully prepared. Shira and her team are a force of nature, and with this book we all get a glimpse into their world.” —MATTY MATHESON
“The Acorn is doing things to vegetables that put it on the cutting edge of the plant-forward movement. I’m so excited to finally get my hands on their cookbook so I can see how they make their magical food happen.” —AMANDA COHEN, chef/owner, Dirt Candy
“This beautiful, exacting celebration of vegetables from one of North America’s most exciting and consistently surprising restaurants should prove essential reading for a new generation of casual and professional cooks. Never in the field of modern gastronomy have the grown goods of our green earth been so innovatively and instructively tamed to the page.” —ANDREW MORRISON, Scout magazine
“At the award-winning Acorn restaurant in Vancouver, produce is the star of every plate. In their first cookbook, chef Luptak and owner Blustein get creative with plants, inspiring the home cook to think root to stem and create beautiful seasonal meals.” —JULIE VAN ROSENDAAL, The Globe and Mail