American chef Jeremy Fox adds a touch of decadence to vegetarian cuisine, but looks forward to a hearty steak.
Jeremy Fox has accomplished the rare feat of creating decadent vegetarian creations that even meat eaters crave.
Fox, 31, is the executive chef at Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio in Napa Valley, a wine-growing region in northern California. His wife Deanie is the pastry chef at Ubuntu, an African word that translates to “humanity toward others”.
Fox’s cuisine seems to match that lofty aspiration. He has been praised in the media for his creativity and naughty sensuality and has been described as one of the best new US chefs of the year.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I always wanted to own a restaurant. My grandparents, mother’s parents, had a pizza restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee for many years.
I always like eating at restaurants. It was always a treat.
As a meat eater, do you feel you bring a different approach to vegetarian cooking?
It gives me a different perspective because I do eat meat and have cooked a lot with meat. I’ve done a lot of charcuterie.
My experiment with meat is that I use the entire animal – bone, skin, organs. I may see some parts of the vegetables that you may throw away, and do something with them.”
What parts of vegetables do you feel are under used?
I think more like the by-products of vegetables like carrot greens, which make a nice puree sauce.
What is your signature dish?
Cauliflower In a cast iron pot. It opens up people’s eyes to an under-appreciated vegetable. It’s a decadent display of the cauliflower, the spices, the brown butter sauce.
Any tips to add more zing to vegetables?
Roasting vegetables definitely creates a lot of flavours. Salt and vinegar make everything taste good.
What do you make for yourself if you eat alone?
A steak – medium rare.
Cauliflower in Cast Iron Pot
2 heads cauliflower
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup whole milk
1/4 lb. butter
2 tablespoons vadouvan (an Indian spice mixture available from
1 teaspoon Italian parsley
Day old bread for toasting
Fine sea salt to taste
1 Slice the cauliflower about 1/8 of an inch thick.
2 Season 1 and 1/4 of cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt to taste.
3 Roast in a 180 degree Celsius oven until slightly charred and tender.
4 Start the butter in a cold sauce pot and place on medium heat. Allow the butter to melt, become foamy and turn golden brown.
5 Remove brown butter from heat and add the vadouvan. Let vadouvan and butter sit for an hour.
6 Add all but 1/4 of the remaining raw cauliflower to a sauce pot. Add the milk and just enough water to cover cauliflower. Add a teaspoon of sea salt and cook on low-medium heat until cauliflower is completely soft.
7 Puree this mixture and strain through a fine sieve.
8 Slice the day-old bread as thick as you want and brush lightly with the vadouvan butter. Bake in a 180 degree oven for about 5-6 minutes. (At this time correct your seasoning on the roasted and pureed cauliflower).
9. Season the remaining raw cauliflower with a touch of the vadouvan, parsley and sea salt.
10. To create four individual servings, have four small serving pots, such as mini cast iron pots. Layer the roasted and pureed cauliflower and then the vadouvan butter continuously until the pot is filled.
On top, add the raw cauliflower and the dish is ready to serve with the toasted bread.