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Abra Berens: What is plant-based?

  • Ace Hotel Chicago (map)

Presenting Coffee Talk: a weekly roundtable led by the city's best doers curated by Presence Agency.

Every Wednesday at 1pm we'll be sipping Stumptown Coffee in the lobby while we chat with some of our favorite people in town about what they're doing.

Our next installment features Abra Berens, chef, former farmer, and writer. Abra will be with us discussing “What is plant-based”. We've all heard that we should be getting 8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but why and more importantly how? Join us for a conversation about vegetables, where to source them, and how to make them the star of your plate, and a joy to eat!

Abra Berens believes that the meals we eat should change with the seasons and that their ingredients should come from nearby. She strives to make simple, delicious meals that champions the region.

She started cooking at the storied Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, MI. She then went on to train in the garden-focused kitchen at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork, Ireland. In 2009 she co-founded Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport, MI, where she farmed and cooked for 8 years. After years of farming, she returned to the kitchen full time, opening and helming the café at Local Foods in Chicago, IL. In 2017, she left her Executive Chef position to return to the mitten state to join the team at Granor Farm in Three Oaks, MI, where she combines her love of farms and restaurants to create one-of-a-kind dinners on the farm celebrating the best of South West Michigan’s diverse agriculture.

Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables is her first cookbook and is rooted in her experiences as a chef, former farmer, and everyday eater. It is a teaching cookbook that aims to help build reader’s confidence in preparing vegetables by providing easy-to-follow recipes, detailed explanation of cooking techniques, and a myriad of variations for each recipe to inspire future dishes.