DC Chef Veganizes José Andrés’ Paella as Part of Smackdown Challenge

Courtesy of Equinox Restaurant

Courtesy of Equinox Restaurant

Since April, Chef Todd Gray of Washington, D.C.’s Equinox Restaurant has been in the midst of an epic endeavor: a vegan smackdown.

The chef and restaurateur invited notable chefs from across the country to provide him with their signature carnivorous dishes, and he set out to veganize them.

In April, he created the FLOTUS burger, a meatless version of Spike Mendelsohn’s Obama Burger; in May, he made BBQ’d Oyster Mushrooms “Roosevelt Island Style”, a new take on Jamie Leeds’s BBQ’d Oysters “Hog Island Style”; and in June, he whipped up a Jerusalem Artichoke and Oven Dried Tomato Frittatta, his herbivorous spin on Cat Cora’s Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Fritatta.

Now, for July, Gray has recreated José Andrés’ Chicken and Mushroom Paella. Gray’s version is dubbed the Chicken of the Woods and Porcini Mushroom Paella, and it’s served with piquillo pepper sofrito, sauteed fava beans and saffron garlic aioli.

“I approached the redux by thinking about chicken and its texture and what could be similar because I wanted to keep the integrity of the paella’s flavors,” Gray told Latest Vegan News. “Chanterelle mushrooms are booming this time of year and I thought what better than integrating a wonderful, seasonal mushroom to take on the role of the protein. I also decided to drive acidity into the paella by using summer tomato and garlic compote to give the dish that intense ‘omph’ that rice often needs. Sweet peas are sauteed as a finishing garnish giving our paella the classic pea garnish found in so many paella dishes from Spain. The response to the paella has been the best so far!”

If you want to try the paella, better hurry—it’s on the menu only through the end of July. Come August, Equinox will be featuring Chef Gray’s take on Mary Sue Milliken’s Cochinita Pibil.

Equinox Restaurant is located at  818 Connecticut Ave NW, in Washington, DC, (202) 331-8118.

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Hannah Sentenac, Editor-in-Chief

Hannah Sentenac, Editor-in-Chief

A wizard of words, lover of all living things and vegan mac 'n cheese master, Hannah is the Editor-In-Chief and Founder of LatestVeganNews.com. Her writing has appeared in Live Happy magazine, the Miami New Times, OneGreenPlanet.com, MindBodyGreen.com, and numerous other publications and websites. She's obsessed with Cocowhip, Just Mayo and Dandies marshmallows, and is totally addicted to the outdoors. You can reach Hannah directly at hannah.sentenac@gmail.com.

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