As we become more conscious of the contents of the food we consume, there has been a rising number of vegetarian and vegan focused restaurants in recent years. This month, Corporate Essentials celebrates Philadelphia chef Rich Landau’s mission to translate vegan cuisine to a broader audience through our James Beard Featured Chef program with Martin + Fitch.

About Rich Landau

Rich Landau’s culinary journey began as a teenager after becoming a vegetarian. He grew up in a Jewish household where the main course typically consisted of some sort of meat. After learning what happened to the animals in order for him to enjoy these meals, Rich decided to teach himself how to create food with all of the soulful flavor he loved, without the meat. While finding vegan food that manages to make your mouth water is quite easy today, thirty years ago vegan-focused restaurants were few and far between.

In 1994, Rich took his passion and opened his first restaurant, Horizons Café. His mission was, “to demonstrate the creativity and satisfaction of vegetable cuisine.” In 2001, Landau’s wife, Kate Jacoby, joined the Horizons team. The duo has been dominating the Philadelphia restaurant scene ever since. Kate is a James Beard award nominated Pastry Chef and a Certified Sommelier.

Over the years, Rich Landau has continuously been at the forefront of the transformation of vegan cuisine. In 2009, Rich and Kate cooked the first ever vegan meal served at the renowned James Beard House in Manhattan. In 2011, the couple closed Horizons and opened Vedge. Here, they shifted their focus from vegan to an all vegetable menu.

This change in focus  came in response to the fact that non-vegans simply are not interested in vegan restaurants. However, a vegetable focused restaurant allowed them to transform simple, seasonal vegetables into transformed culinary delicacies appealing to every palette.

Awards & Accolades

Chef Rich Landau successfully showed his creative range with plant-based ingredients in 2013 when he won Food Network’s Chopped. Vedge received a “four-bell” review titled “Vedge: Where Carnivores Minds Are Blown” by Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig Laban in 2016, the highest possible rating for a restaurant. Properly titled, Rich Landau is expert at recreating the delicious flavors carnivores love, in plant based dishes.

The vegan chef and restaurateur has co-authored four cookbooks, most recent being “Vedge: 100 Plates Large & Small that Redefine Vegetable Cooking.” Chef Landau has been a finalist multiple times for the James Beard award, Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic and was named “Best Chef in Philadelphia” twice by Philadelphia Magazine.

Bon Appétit’s rave review described the cuisine at Vedge as, “vegan food that the whole world can love.”  We agree, and we cannot wait to share Chef Landau’s magical vegetable creations with New York City and New Jersey offices this February.

About Martin + Fitch

Whether an office is looking to supply food for an occasional workplace party, a regular Friday happy hour or everyday lunches, Martin + Fitch can service your needs. With menus changing daily and inspired by the seasons, Martin + Fitch can provide delicious, better-for-you meal options for your employees. In addition, from photo shoots and drop off catering, to large full-service events, Martin + Fitch can help you choose your venue, hire staff and design the space.
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Judson Kleinman

About Judson Kleinman

As the founder and CEO of Corporate Essentials, Judson set out with every intention of bringing a new meaning to the words "office culture". As leaders in the industry, his company constantly sets the bar by investing in, and improving their product offerings, technology, people and training. 20 years and 1500 clients later, Judson can proudly say that Corporate Essentials continues to positively fuel culture and allow over 150,000 employees to work happy.