A well-travelled woman with a passion for vegan food, Jamie Isabella Parker went on a journey to combine her love of travelling and of food into one project: a vegan cookbook with recipes from top chefs around North America.
Parker, 31, grew up in Victoria, but she first discovered vegan cuisine while travelling in Philadelphia when she was 22.
“It was trendy amongst my friends,” said Parker. Just 48 hours after switching to a vegan diet, Parker said she felt much better and was no longer bloated or tired.
She then continued her travels to New York, where she sought out the best restaurants to try more vegan food. However, her own cooking couldn’t seem to measure up.
“Once I got into vegan foods I just had to figure out how to cook them,” said Parker. “So I bought these cookbooks and I’d make the recipes, and I’d be really disappointed a lot of the time.”
This led to Parker starting her three-year journey make her own cookbook, Best Vegan Recipes from North America’s Vegan-Serving Top Restaurants. She did her research and travelled around North America, searching for the best vegan restaurants and getting recipes from the best chefs.
“I was an OK cook, but I made 150 recipes from the top chefs, and it made me a really good cook,” said Parker.
Since learning to cook vegan food, Parker has been teaching private cooking classes, and is planning to expand her classes more.
“I adore people, animals and our beautiful earth and thus feel purposeful in helping people cook delicious vegan food,” said Parker.
Although her book only came out this year, Parker is already looking ahead to her next project. Currently she and a girlfriend are working on creating a TV show.
“It would be traveling around North America to go to restaurants and have the chefs teach us how to cook their recipes,” she said. “I’ve talked to a producer who’s really excited, so they’re sending out a demo, seeing if anyone picks it up.”
Various restaurants in Victoria will not only be selling her book, but also serving dishes from the book.
“I really have appreciated the support from the city,” said Parker.
Parker hopes to prove that vegan food can taste good. She said her favourite part of cooking is making food to give to friends and family.
“I just try to help people taste really good vegan food.”
For more information on parker’s book and future cooking classes, visit best-vegan.com.
Where to find the book:
The Black Olive: Purchase the book and a pasta dish from the book for $35.
The Docks restaurant will be serving a dessert from the book.
The book is also available at: Penelope’s Cafe, Market on Yates, Bolen Books, Cafe Bliss and Be Love restaurant.
Thrifty Foods and Chapters will start carrying the book in October.