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  • Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business

  • and life you love. Now, if you know anything about me you know that I love food and I’m

  • also Italian. And today I want you to meet one of my favorite chefs. I cook out of her

  • cookbooks more than any other. But don't get me wrong, this episode is not just about food,

  • it’s about taking risks and going against the grain and doing whatever it takes to make

  • your dreams come true.

  • Breaking onto the culinary scene as the first vegan chef to capture the top prize on Food

  • Network’s Cupcake Wars, Chloe Coscarelli has since been turning heads bringing mouthwatering

  • vegan dishes to the mainstream. Chloe is the author of two bestselling books, “Chloe’s

  • Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan WayandChloe’s

  • Vegan Desserts: Over 100 Exciting, New Recipes for Cookies and Pies, Tarts and Cobblers,

  • Cupcakes and Cakes, and More.” And now her new book, “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen.”

  • Chloe honed her culinary skill at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and holds

  • a plant based nutrition degree from Cornell University. Chloe has appeared on Food Network’s

  • Cupcake Wars, the Today Show, CNN, has been featured in the New York Times, the Oprah

  • Magazine,  Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, Star Magazine, and Shape.

  • Chloe. I’m so excited to have you on MarieTV.

  • Yay, happy to be here.

  • So you, in my opinion, are one of the best vegan chefs out there and one of the things

  • I so admire about you is that you said your goal isn’t necessarily to convert people

  • to veganism, but just to show them that you can eat healthfully and eat whole foods and

  • it can be incredibly delicious. Tell us a little bit about your philosophy that way.

  • Well, I obviously love vegan food. I think it’s delicious. So it’s my goal to show

  • people that, hey, this food is actually good and it can make you feel satisfied and it’s

  • not something that you have to commit to 100% of the time if youre interested in it.

  • So I like to think of it not as an all or nothing. Youre either an extreme vegan

  • or youre nothing. I like to think that you can eat vegan once in a while, maybe once

  • a week start incorporating it into your dinner table, and you can start getting used to it

  • and maybe you start to like it.

  • Yeah. I love that and I love that nonjudgmental approach because it really does invite people

  • in to try new things and to not feel bad if they can’t maintain something 100% of the

  • time.

  • Right. I can’t tell you how many times people say to me, “Oh, youre vegan. I could

  • be vegan, but I love bacon too much, so I could never do it.” I’m like, “Well,

  • you can still eat bacon if you want. Try eating vegan a little and see how it makes you feel.”

  • Yeah. So when I learned that you were the first vegan chef to win a major food network

  • competition, it was Cupcake Wars, and you did that when you were all of 22. I was like,

  • this chick is amazing. So tell me, how did you even learn about that competition? And

  • what was that thought process like for you to go, “You know? I want to throw my hat

  • in the ring. Should I do this? Shouldn’t I do this?” How’d that whole thing go?

  • So I was fresh out of culinary school and I was just browsing Twitter and I saw a casting

  • call for Cupcake Wars and so I was like, “Oh, I’ll go try out. Why not?” And then they

  • cast me on the show and I was kind of taken by surprise, so I actually called the producers

  • back and I was like, “I just wanna remind you that my cupcakes were vegan. Did you catch

  • that? Is that still ok? Can I still come on the show?” And they were like, “Yeah,

  • it’s totally fine. Come on down.” So it was definitely surprising for me but it just

  • kind of all happened, all worked out.

  • Now, did you have in your mind when you thought, you know, you saw that casting call, did you

  • think, “Oh my God, this is my chance to get my brand out there,” or was it more

  • about the actual challenge of being in a cooking competition? Because those things can be really

  • intense. I love watching those shows, so I know it’s reality TV so they increase the

  • drama factor a bit. But what was that inner drive for you about wanting to go for this?

  • Yeah. I’m, like I said, I graduated culinary school and I really didn't know what I was

  • doing at all. I felt like I had zero direction. I… when I graduated college I decided to

  • go to culinary school because I wasn’t really sure what else I wanted to do, but I knew

  • I liked to cook. And then when I was in culinary school I was like, “Ok, well, if anything,

  • I’ll learn how to cook,” but I didn't really have any strong ambitions for afterwards.

  • So I was just looking for ways to get my food out there. I knew what I loved, but I didn't

  • know what I could do with it. So it was likeit was a journey to get to this place, but

  • I think that Cupcake Wars was a great opportunity because I was like, “If I can show people

  • that vegan cupcakes taste better than regular stuff,” it’s always about, “Oh, does

  • it taste as good as thereal thing,’” but I’m like, “No. This is my chance to

  • show people that it can actually taste better.” So it was really exciting.

  • That’s awesome. When I was watching the bit where you won Cupcake Wars, it was so

  • fascinating to me because I feel like you can learn a lot about how people behave in

  • situations, especially when theyre under pressure. And I was so impressed that you

  • kept your composure and that the person that I’ve known from afar through your cookbooks

  • and your videos and online, you were still so kind and you were still so sweet, but you

  • were very, very focused on getting things done. And then I know there was those other

  • clips where, you know, where people, they talk a little smack, and I’m sure sometimes

  • the producers help to make that happen because they wanna, again, heighten that drama factor.

  • Did you feel intimidated by the other chefs? Again, because there was the issue, of course,

  • vegan was different at that time. And, of course, your age. You were much younger than

  • a lot of the other contestants. Did that feel like you were on unequal footing? Or what

  • was that experience like?

  • I did hear people talking behind the scenes saying like, “Oh, you know, she’s doing

  • vegan cupcakes so shell be out in the first round.” And I remember just thinking, “How

  • can you say that when you haven’t even tasted it?”

  • Yeah.

  • Yeah. So, I don't know. It was good I think because sometimes when you hear a lot of naysayers,

  • itit makes you really reach into a place inside of you that knows you can do it.

  • Yes.

  • So sometimes when people are really encouraging, I’ll be the one to start being like, “No,

  • I can’t do it. I can’t do it.” But then when someone else starts saying, “You can’t

  • do it,” that’s when I’m like, “Ok, I think I can do this.” You know? So it

  • helped me really just stay focused and do my thing and realize I’m not gonna listen

  • to any negativity around me. Just gonna make cupcakes.

  • That was awesome. And when you won I just thought it was so brilliant. You did such

  • a killer job.

  • Oh, thanks.

  • For your journey after that, so that was this big win, it was amazing. Have you found yourself

  • finding other hurdles or difficult parts and continuing to build your career as a vegan

  • chef?

  • Mmhm. Well, I think, as you know, for any entrepreneur it’s always like what’s next?

  • So this was great, but where am I going from here? And I feel like at every point in my

  • career I never really know the answer to that question. So that unknown is something that’s

  • so unsettling that can creep up on me in the middle of the night and I’m like, you know,

  • So I’m turning in this book. What’s my next book?”  But it’s just something

  • you have to learn to deal with and, yeah. There’s so much to learn. I think I’ve

  • also learned a lot about, like, a lot of people say being an entrepreneur isthe hardest

  • part about it is that you have to have so much self discipline because you don't have

  • a boss standing over you. But I think for me actually I have the reverse problem where

  • I’m, like, too much of a boss on myself sometimes, so I need to learn when to, like,

  • chill out.

  • I have that problem.

  • Yeah.

  • I think there’s many of us, especially when you love what you do.

  • Yeah.

  • And you really, really love it, you know, it becomes an obsession, it becomes the thing

  • that you wanna do all the time.

  • Yeah.

  • I think you had an interesting experience, right, working on this book.

  • Yeah. When I waswhen I was working on the final manuscript for my latest book I

  • was like, “I have 300 pages to get through and I’m on a flight, international flight,

  • home from Italy. Let me try to finish all of this on the flight.” And then my mom

  • I was with my mom at the time. She was like, “Why don't you just relax and sleep? You

  • know, were on a flight, it’s dark.” My light thing wasn’t working. I was like,

  • you know, “I don't care, my light thing’s not working. I’m gonna get this done.”

  • And we hit a little bit of turbulence and the next thing I knew I blinked and my entire

  • 300 page manuscript went flying, like making it rain, all over the cabin and I was like,

  • Is this actually happening to me?” And I just stormed up and down the aisles, like,

  • trying to reorder it and collect it and I was so upset. And my mom was like, “Ok,

  • now will you just take a nap?” and, you know, like, forget about it. I’m like, “Yeah.”

  • So I think something that I learned is, like, if I don't give myself breaks, then the entrepreneur

  • gods will step in and give them to me for me. So I try to build in breaks to my daily

  • routine.

  • It’s important. I mean, I try and do the same thing but it doesn't always work.

  • Yeah.

  • And there’s oftentimes when my body has just said, “You know what? Youre gonna

  • get sick right now.”

  • Right?

  • And youre just gonna…”

  • So that you can just stay in bed and relax.

  • Totally.

  • I’m like, “Alright, I’ll take it.”

  • So the reason that I became obsessed with you in the first place was I got, I believe

  • it was your first book, Vegan’s… Chloe’s Vegan Kitchen. And you have your avocado pesto

  • pasta, which is one of my favorite things ever and it’s nowJosh is obsessed with

  • it.

  • So glad. So I’ve made it a million times and when

  • you and I got together a few months ago and I learned about your obsessive nature with

  • testing your recipes, I was just so impressed. So tell me what that’s about for you. Why

  • are you so committed to having these recipes be just ideal?

  • So writing a cookbook is so much more than having good food. It’s about allowing your

  • food to make it to somebody else’s table who lives across the country exactly as you

  • wanted it to be. So it’s all about making it accessible and easy and inviting so that

  • people can try it and theyre gonna have good results. I had an experience when I was

  • younger with my mom. We were cooking out of a book and she let me, you know, “Pick out

  • anything you wanna make.” So you look at the pictures and I’m like, “Ok, I want

  • this one.” It was this chocolate cake tower that was beautiful. I was like, “I wanna

  • make this.” And me and my mom set out to make it and by the time we were done it was,

  • like, the picture was this beautiful chocolate cake tower and ours was like this pile of,

  • like, broken cake crumbs. It was, like, dirt. Like something that you would find in the

  • trash. And I remember just feeling so tricked by the book. I was like, “This is what it’s

  • supposed to look like. We followed the directions. What happened?” And so I knew I never wanted

  • people to feel that way when theyre cooking out of my book. I want them to feel a sense

  • of accomplishment. So I work really hard on testing the recipes, like, at least 50 times

  • each recipe to make sure that it’s perfect and that it’s easy to recreate.

  • Yeah. That’s the thing, that’s why your cookbook is actually the one I cook out of

  • nearly the most because even if I’ve never tried that one before, I know it’s gonna

  • be a home run. And I think the other thing that you do so well is you make it accessible.

  • There’s not a million ingredients. And almost all the time I have everything in my pantry

  • or I can run out to the farmstand or run out to the grocery store and get a few of the

  • fresh ingredients and whip it all up. Was that something that frustrated you when you

  • were younger? Like, just these wild ingredients in cookbooks?

  • Yeah, all the time. When I’m writing a cookbook, usually the first step is I’ll cook all

  • my recipes and have, like, a taste testing party. And I invite friends and family and

  • I make everything. And if there’s a dish that people say, “This is delicious, it’s

  • perfect,” that is actually where the process begins for me because I’m like, “Ok, we

  • know it tastes good. Check. Now, how can I work with this recipe and cut out some ingredients

  • that maybe don't need to be in there? How cando I really have to steam the tempeh

  • first? Can I cut out a step?” Because I know if the recipes aren’t easy, easy to

  • shop for, inexpensive, and easy to make, busy people are not gonna have time to make them.

  • So that’s usually a big process of trial and error and it… I can test each recipe

  • up to 50 times just testing it once, making a change, testing it again, making another

  • change. So it’s actually a very scientific process.

  • That’s so awesome. Thank you for doing it, because it really does pay off. Now I wanna

  • talk about your new book, which is, y’all, this ischeck this out. I was so excited.

  • When your mom told me that this was your next book, Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, I was

  • like, “How is she gonna do this? How is she gonna make Italian food vegan and delicious?”

  • 150 pizzas, pastas, pestos, risottos, and lots of creamy, Italian classics. This, I’ve

  • already started cooking out of it. I’ve done at least 3 recipes and theyre killer.

  • What inspired you to write this book?

  • So with a last name like Coscarelli I thought it was a natural fit. I love pasta, I just

  • love carbs in general in any form, so this was a book that was very close to my heart

  • and I have so many great family recipes. My dad’s family has a ton of Italian heritage

  • and culture and it was just wonderful to be able to take some of those family heirloom

  • recipes and be like, “I’m gonna veganize them.” Because theyre original at that

  • point. So I also think that I get a lot of people that say, “Oh, you can’t eat Italian

  • food because youre vegan. What do you do about the cheese?” And so I really wanted

  • to show people that, actually, you can eat delicious, authentic Italian food veganized.

  • That’s awesome. So I know, which I’m so excited about, I’ve been dreaming about

  • this. Youve brought some things from the cookbook for us to taste today. And, by the

  • way, y’all, we have recipes from Chloe’s book below so you can try some of these at

  • home. So ladies?

  • Yay.

  • Oh my God. Ok, so, Chloe, tell us a little bit about what we are about to taste.

  • Thank you.

  • Oh my goodness. Ok, now this is what I couldn’t wait to see.

  • Thank you.

  • Do you guyscan you see this? Oh my God. Ok, I’m gonna shut up and let you talk.

  • Ok, weve got meatball sliders, vegan meatball sliders. So these are not like the frozen

  • meatballs that you can buy in the grocery store that have no vegetarian. These are handmade

  • meatballs and theyre so easy. Theyre made out of mushrooms and brown rice as the

  • base and then just like a ton of spices and garlic and onion and flavorings and delicious.

  • And weve got them on a tomato sauce with a little bit of cashew mozzarella on top so

  • it’s like no cholesterol, no animal fat, easy and healthy. And then weve got vegan

  • raspberry tiramisu cupcakes, and these are actually my winning cupcakes from Cupcake

  • Wars that I featured in my book.

  • Yay! Oh my God.

  • Help yourself.

  • This has been the thing that I’ve been so wanting to try. Oh, Zachy. Thank you so much.

  • So, sorry guys. I know sometimes it’s not fun to watch people eat, but youll probably

  • see our expressions when we eat the actual vegan meatball sliders. Oh, my goodness. Oh

  • my God. Sorry. You guys, recipe is below. This is absolutely delicious.

  • Good, I’m so glad you like it.

  • These are perfect for a party.

  • Mmhm.

  • You could probably do these with spaghetti and meatballs as well.