Next up in my summer-long spread of my 2013 Veggie Girl Power Interview Series is Doron Petersan, known best for her amazing DC-based bakery + cafe Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats as well as her amazing cookbook (we share a publisher!) and winning appearances on Food Network's Cupcake Wars...
I have been lucky enough to visit Doron's DC shop "Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats" more than a few times - each time melting into a sea of bliss over how many yummy things there are to choose from (Little Devils, Cupcakes and Sticky Buns, oh my!) and how freaking cute the "style" of the retro shop is (50's-inspired heaven!). Long story short, Doron is a vegan treats superstar. You can read all about her adventures on the Sticky Fingers website, but I pulled this quote that I love so much,
"With a degree in nutrition and food science, Doron brought memories of favorite treats to vegan reality."
Yes! Isn't that what we all want? Brilliantly veganized favorites from our childhood, so the next generation of kids, teens and plant-based adults can indulge without every missing out on faves.
Lets get to know Doron a bit more in her VGP interview!.... (And I am SO excited that Doron says "The search for store number two has begun.")
Veggie Girl Power Interview: Doron Petersan, Sticky Fingers Bakery (and more!)
Q1: Back to Basics. When and why did you go vegan? We love a good "this is why I went vegan" story.
Doron: I was working as a vet tech and witnessed my first surgery. I realized that the musculature of dog being treated looked all to similar to the chicken breast I had eaten the night before. I realized that I couldn't save animals and eat them, too. I had a going out party of sorts over my Grandmother's kitchen sink, eating all of the foods I was going to miss; her chicken cutlets, her meatballs, cheese pizza. Grandma found me face deep in he fridge and asked what I was doing. I told her 'I'm going vegetarian'. Shortly after, I confided in a friend about my vegetarian revelation. She told me I couldn't simply give up meat, but had to give up the industry associated with meat and 'go vegan'.
Q2: Help a Girl Out. The vegan transition can be tough for some! What sisterly advice can you give to new or transitioning vegans?
Doron: Explore all of the new foods and flavors you have now opened your palate to. But be true to your cravings and enjoy your favorites. Recreate your favorite dishes and recipes so that you don't feel sad about leaving your desired dishes behind. It's about finding new fave's but being true to what you love.
Q3: Traveling Vegans. In your neck of the woods, what are the local vegan hot spots to visit/shop at/dine at? Traveling vegans want to know!
Doron: Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, of course! But other than our all vegan shop, there are so many vegan options in DC and around our nations capital. Almost every restaurant offers a vegan menu or meal, so you never have to go to far to get your fill. Today I went to Shawafel for lunch, a falafel and shwarma spot on H street, NE, and I'm hooked. Great Sage in Clarksville, Sweet N Natural in Mount Raineer, and Loving Hut in Arlington are all vegan too. But places like Founding Farmers, Busboys and Poets, Teaism, and Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran all have great vegan menus. Come visit us!
Q4: On Food. What is a typical day of vegan eating for you? Fave eats?
Doron: Every day Ezra (my toddler) and I make smoothies for breakfast before we head out. Generally it's a mix of hemp milk, maybe a plant based protein powder, and loads of organic fruit. His favorite is blueberry and pineapple. I'm all about strawberries. Lunch is usually a salad of sorts at the shop; spinach, black beans, veggies and tomatoes. Being surrounded by sweets all day long, I've found that sticking to lesser processed meals is best, because a little devil or cowvin cookie is bound to end up in my mouth at some time during the day. I cook dinner almost every night and I change it up a lot; quesadillas or fajitas, quinoa salads, stir frys, curries, steamed veggies and grilled tofu, fajitas and pastas. The veggies are always the star of the plate. I just bought a load of kohlrabi from the farmers market and I can't wait to make a sesame cole slaw. Daiya, Field Roast, and Gardein some of our favorite staple brands. As for ingredients, I have a bag of onions in the kitchen and olive oil on the counter at all times. Mandatory. Dessert? Usually fruit or frozen treats like sorbet or coconut based ice cream. No, I don't bake at home unless I'm testing recipes.
Q5: Words of Wisdom. Here is your chance to create your own quote. "Veganism is....."
Doron: Veganism is.. Better for you, better for the animals, and better for the environment.
Q6: On What is Hot. Share people, brands, books and more that you like to rave about.
Doron: I can't get enough of Meet the Shannons, and the Betty Crocker Project. So much fun! Food an cooking has to be fun, and they do a great job of keeping the recipes simple and easy to follow. And their blog makes me giggle out loud.
Q7: Soapbox! Go for it ...Soapbox away...
Doron: One? Only one? How about 2..
It's a major pet peve when omnivores tout the dangers of GMO's without giving up the one product that is ensuring the continued use and development of genetically modified foods; meat. GMO grain is fed to the animals they are consuming! It doesn't make any sense, so much so that I don't think folks realize how much grain is needed to feed and grow animals for their plate.
Companion animal and shelter issues was my gateway into veganism. But the abhorrent treatment of animals in every industry in which they are used is what has kept me here for over 18 years. I have yet to find a reason not to be vegan. When I ask someone why they are not vegan (usually in response to them asking me why I am vegan), they almost always say 'because I like meat', or 'animals taste good'. I agree with them as I also enjoyed eating meat and think that animals taste good. Most people as shocked and figure that I must have been vegan all of my life, as I make it look so easy. Well, I say, it is easy. It's not about personal purity for me. It's about making vegan options more obtainable and accessible, and the vegan lifestyle simple and easy without depriving yourself of the things you love. I take the 'if I can do it so can you' position. I think I'm babbling now...
Q8: What upcoming projects are you working on? Please share!
Doron: Well, we are expanding our menu to offer more cake flavors and designs this summer. It's an exciting time as more and more distributors offer vegan friendly ingredients, making lots of thing much easier for us to produce in quantity. There will also be the addition of milk shakes and donuts. Yup, I said donuts. We'll be adding some burger and salad options to our savory side as well. We've working hard and come a long way in the past few years. It's time to focus on the next five, tighten up this little ship and expand our reach. Not only with our wholesale line (available in lots of local natural food stores as well as the mid-atlantic Whole Foods, but with a second location. The search for store number two has begun.
Q9. Smoothie love! I would love to hear about YOUR favorite smoothie recipe..
Doron: I can't wait for your book! I've pre-ordered mine, btw. But until we get a copy, this is Ezra's favorite morning smoothie:
1/2 cup organic frozen blueberries
1/2 cup organic frozen pineapple
1/4 cup organic coconut milk
1 cup hemp milk, (original or vanilla)
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp flax
1 leaf kale
Q10. Do you think veganism is the diet of the future? Why?
Doron: No Doubt! Animal agriculture is unsustainable with the rate at which the human population is growing globally. Reducing animal consumption, regardless of the impetus, will ultimately be better for the animals, the planet, and for everyone's health.
Some of Doron's fave links to love..
Sticky Fingers Bakery
NY Times Articles: The Human Cost of Animal Suffering
Bittman in NY Times
Must See Humane Society PDF
Animal Agriculture Conference 2012 PDF
Facebook: Sticky Fingers
TWITTER -> @stickyfingersDC
Be sure to read all this year's VGP interviews coming up. VGP 2013
VGP kickoff: Cookbook Interview Chloe Coscarelli
Simone Reyes, of Running Russell Simmons / Animal Advocate
Doron Petersan, of Sticky Fingers Bakery
Angela Liddon, of Oh She Glows website
Elizabeth Castoria, Editorial Director VegNews Magazine
Katie Higgins, of Chocolate Covered Katie
Laura Beck, of Vegansaurus and more / writer
Emily Von Euw, of This Rawsome Life website
Marly McMillen, of Namely Marly website
Sara Sohn, of Sweet & Sara Vegan Marshmallows
Kathy Patalsky, (putting myself in the interview seat to close the series!)
*all photos were provided courtesy of Doron Petersan