Amanda Cohen is the chef/owner of NYC's famous Dirt Candy restaurant, which most consider to be the best vegetarian restaurant in all of New York. Amanda gives us the dirt on why we need to say "yes" instead of "no" when eating vegetarian, her inspiration, and more. Or you can go see for yourself at her 18-seat restaurant, as her delectable and innovative cuisine has even the most ardent of meat-lovers ordering up seconds and thirds.
MindBodyGreen: What was your inspiration for Dirt Candy?
Amanda Cohen: I had worked in restaurants in NYC for almost ten years and I was tired of seeing the same things over and over again. I had some new ideas I wanted to try and so I came up with a restaurant that would let me try them. Dirt Candy is my laboratory for cooking with vegetables and thanks to a lot of business choices I made -- we're small, have a low overhead, a sustainable price point -- we can take risks without having to worry about going out of business. I made sure that I could break even on the lowest number of covers imaginable and so we're doing well in the recession. In fact, we were breaking even before our first year was up, and now, thanks to our customers, we're doing well enough to survive indefinitely.
MBG: How did you come up with the name?
AC: It's a cut throat world out there for a new restaurant and I wanted a name that would be memorable. New York restaurant names blur a little for me: Hearth, Print, Eat, Table, Tabla, Motorino, Momofuku, WD-50, North 40, Eleven Madison Park. So I wanted to stand out, and it worked. People may hate the name, or they may love it, but they remember it. And I've seen it popping up all over the internet as people use it more and more to describe vegetables.