by Lisa Pellegrene
Chef Gretchen Hanson, who was once the owner and Chef of the award-winning Hobos Restaurant, is known for incorporating “amazing” plant based options. In 2016, Chef Gretchen Hanson closed the restaurant to direct her energies on educating the masses on the diversity and richness of a plant based diet, according to Hanson. She won “Best of Delaware” in the categories of chef and restaurant in 2011, as that was the year she made every sauce on the menu at Hobos Restaurant vegan and gluten free. According to Hanson, she applied her training in “classic french cuisine to create amazing plant based meals”. Chef Gretchen Hanson continued winning awards in mainstream cooking contests from 2011 on, as she created plant based meals for her entries. She stated in a recent interview, “My competitors would bring meat- based dishes and I was the one bringing the tempeh.” She continued, “one of the cooking competitions that I loved the most was a “Gumbo Crawl”. I used entirely plant based “crawfish”, plant based “sausage’ and tempeh, and my dish tied for first place for the “Best Gumbo”. This is particularly notable when one is “competing in cooking contests where not everything is plant based and the classically French-trained chef who transitioned to plant based is bringing vegan dishes and walking away with first place, concludes Chef Gretchen Hanson. To me this represented a win for the animals, a win for people’s health and a lot of progress in the world of truly amazing and healthy meals.”
When subscribing to Chef Gretchen Hanson’s blog, according to a subscriber, “one soon realizes that they have signed up for more than a simple blog subscription.” Chef Gretchen Hanson believes in educating, and “helping others gain her love and passion for plant based cooking.” She describes her plant based cooking as “global eco fusion” based on local ingredients farmed sustainably and from applying knowledge gained from her prior travels around the world. She defines herself as a “plant based chef who is also a storyteller, which is evident. In Hanson’s blog she discusses her journey and life’s adventures, she has a way of inviting everyone to not only be inspired by her plant based transition, but to inspire positive change that they wish to see in themselves.” Her thought process in transitioning to a plant based diet, as stated by Chef Gretchen Hanson, “I thought that I could never be vegan because I initially thought it would marginalize me in my profession. I was not correct in that initial thought. Morally and ethically; my conscious found a way to transition to plant based and it was and is the right decision. I realized everyone has choices, including myself.” She concluded, “I now educate others, including industry peers to softly nudge them to the point where many of them now at least feature vegan options on their menus. And, it is no longer viewed as a “marginalized” food choice by many chefs, it’s respected for the praise it should be given, as a much better way.”
Chef Gretchen Hanson’s weekly cooking segments are held on her Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/chefg
Chef Gretchen Hanson has won awards to include: “Best of the Coast Vegan and Vegetarian Dining for 2013-2015; Best of the Coast Healthy Dining Options 2012-2015; Winner of Best Vegetarian Chili at the “Polar Bear Plunge” in Rehoboth, Delaware 2010-2016 to name a few. She was the developer of the “Healthy Eating Initiative” for Boys and Girls Club in Kips Bay, New York in 2011-2012; a founding board member of Local on the Menu in Rehoboth; a founding board member of Rehoboth Inspired Board Initiative; and a founding board member of The Immanuel Shelter in 2015 in which she is still involved.