Bart Potenza and Joy Pierson, and Jesse Boss


Part I – Bart Potenza and Joy Pierson, The Healthy Candles
Since 1988, Bart Potenza and his partner Joy Pierson have created three successful vegetarian dining establishments. Candle Cafe was the first restaurant to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association and both restaurants are at the forefront of campaigns to green the restaurant industry. The most recent is Candle 79, one of the first upscale organic vegan restaurants in the country.

At the vanguard of health food marketing and vegetarianism, Bart Potenza has written and lectured on the virtues of healthy eating for everyone. After studying at the City College of New York Business School, Bart was a successful art dealer for 16 years before making a change-of-career to the health food industry. His new lifestyle impressed him profoundly with his renewed vitality and sense of well being, and he wanted to share that with the public. In recent years, Bart and Joy have passionately supported the efforts of the environmental and animal rights communities, through their work in the Candle restaurants and beyond.

Bart is a proud member of Co-op America, Social Ventures Network, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, The Presidents Club at F.A.R.M., P.E.T.A. and Farm Sanctuary. He provides a wealth of inspiration and information through his daily aphorisms, which he posts on a chalkboard in both restaurants. A compilation of his works, “Look Two Ways on a One Way Street” is published by Lantern Books. The success of Candle Cafe and Candle 79 proves Bart’s original assertion that eating super healthy vegetarian food is a choice that impacts not only individual health, but also the health of the planet. Bart’s “daily bread” is his quest to make our world better for all humanity. He continues to be inspired by the growth and significance of the green movement.

Joy, a nutritional counselor since 1985, graduated from Tufts University Magna Cum Laude, and is certified by the Pritikin Longevity Center and Hippocrates Health Institute. Her passion for counseling and healing through great food lead her to join Bart Potenza at The Healthy Candle in 1988 where they began creating foods and menus tailored to the nutritional needs of clients from Joy’s private practice, and the Healthy Candle’s ever-growing customer base. Their partnership has flourished, and Joy and Bart have joined to create Candle Cafe, Candle 79, a growing catering and wholesale business, and the internationally best selling Candle Cafe Cookbook.

In addition to time spent at the restaurants, Joy avidly promotes their mission beyond the restaurants’ walls. She has written and lectured extensively about food and nutrition, sharing her expertise with an ever widening audience as more and more people become mindful of the positive effects of healthful eating. She regularly leads workshops and teaches courses on diet and nutrition. Joy has appeared on The Today Show, Good Day New York, CBS News This Morning, The Food Network’s TV Food Diners, and has been a radio guest on Joan Hamburg, The Howard Stern Show, and Walden’s Pond with Sheldon Walden on NPR. Joy serves as a board member of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Lunches and Wellness in the Schools. She is also an active SVN member. Her quest is to continue changing people’s awareness of health and well being and its effect on the planet and future generations by bringing farm fresh vegan food to as many people and as many tables as possible!

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Part II – Jesse Boss, On Being Vegan as a Teenager
Jesse Boss is a fifteen-year-old, home schooled student living in San Francisco. She’s been vegan for over a year and shares her experiences in this interview.


Caryn Hartglass: Hello, I am Caryn Hartglass. You are listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you so much for joining me on this beautiful, beautiful, September autumn day. Autumn . . . in New York . . . and you know what we talk about here on It’s All About Food . . . we talk about food, my favorite subject, and so many people, when they go to eat, and most of us eat, fortunately, every day, many times, and do we think about each bite of food? I recommend, when you have a moment, to really reflect and think, because there are so many people connected to every bite of food we eat. Unless you are a farmer, who is planting and tilling the soil, and growing the plants and harvesting them, and preparing them yourself, your food is connected to people, all over the world sometimes, and it is mind boggling, but it is really important because when we realize how many people are connected to the food that we eat, it also opens the door to realizing what kind of impact we are making on the world, mostly environmentally because many of our food choices are detrimental to the environment. Detrimental, as when we are eating animal foods, with animals that are suffering in factory farms. There are a lot of things connected to factory farming that are devastating to the environment. We know that most of the environmental diversity and ecological problems, pollution, soil depletion, etc. are related to factory farming, and if we are eating food that is considered conventional, (love that word), or eating food that is industrial agriculture, lots of toxic herbicides and pesticides are used to create those foods, and those herbicides and pesticides are affecting the growers who are close to those toxic pesticides every day. They go home and track those chemicals into their homes, and their kids are affected. I bring that up because it is important to think about every choice that we make with food. So I encourage locally grown, organic, plant foods. They are good for you; they are good for the planet, and they are delicious. I am going to be talking to two of the most incredible people in the world, some of my favorite people, so full of love and doing so much good in terms of getting fresh, local, organic, delicious, incredible food into your mouths. So welcome to It’s All About Food, Bart Potenza, the founder of Candle Cafe and then later Candle 79 and co-owner Joy Pierson.

Bart Potenza & Joy Pierson: Hi Caryn!

Caryn Hartglass: Hi, thank you. I am feeling the love coming through my headphone.

Joy Pierson: We are feeling it too!

Bart Potenza: We have been weaving it with you for a long time.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Bart Potenza: Vegan weave.

Caryn Hartglass: I love it. First, a big, giant thank you, and I’m giving you big, giant hugs.

Joy Pierson: Right back at you.

Caryn Hartglass: I got chills! You know, both of you are amazing, right?

Bart Potenza: We like to think so. I mean, we love what we do, thank heavens, because running restaurants can be very challenging, but we make a big difference in many, many people’s lives, and we are ready to feed a 4th generation, so we know that you know there is some continuity that on a personal level pleases me a lot, and I am sure it pleases Joy.

Caryn Hartglass: There are a lot of people, a lot of vegetarians and vegans, that are kind of nutty about food and obsessed about getting really delicious food. Then you have a talk about starting restaurants, and we certainly need a lot more vegan restaurants out there if we are going to really change the world in a big way, but any kind of restaurant is hard to run. How is it that you have had the success that you have had?

Joy Pierson: When I ruminate on what you just said, those are all the tenants and principles by which we opened the restaurant with. You know that we love to tell the story that I am a nutritionist by training, and I was working with individual clients and private practices and for many physicians all over Manhattan, and it was the way it made people feel that motivated us to continue what we do. So it is the mission behind the restaurant that keeps us on point and keeps us continuing to produce the most delicious vegan, organic food.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, you definitely feel it, and you definitely taste it. I know a lot of people that have opened a restaurant would say that what they end up doing is getting a bunch of people that are paid minimum wage to manage and run the restaurant, and they kind of disappear, but you are always present at both of your restaurants, for the majority of time, and I know that that is an important part of why you’ve been successful.

Joy Pierson: Yes, and we also have phenomenal people that work with us that do wonderful jobs of producing and blessing this food. We really know the importance of feeding people and how sacred it really is. We talk about that this is quite an honor to be able to give people something that they put in their bodies to nourish their body, mind and spirit. And we take that very seriously. So whether we are there or not there, we are always sending blessings and always empowering those who are there to do it, because, as you know Caryn, the Candle 79 cookbook is coming out in November.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, tell me more about that. What’s going to be in that cookbook?

Joy Pierson: That cookbook is full of delicious and easy-to-prepare meals. The cover of the book has a sesame and nori-crusted seitan served on a bed of soba noodles, and it has beautiful watermelon radish on top. It has everything we have also. I don’t know if you have had this before, but we have a peanut butter chocolate bliss at the restaurant.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, of course.

Joy Pierson: The chocolate bliss is in the book, and that is so much fun and easy to prepare.

Caryn Hartglass: Really?

Joy Pierson: Chefs Jorge Pineda and Angel Ramos are the co-authors of this book, and they have been blessing us with their beautiful food and energy, probably for 15 years!

Caryn Hartglass: Wow, that is dedication, and it just shows how there is so much integrity and belief in what you are doing.

Joy Pierson: Thank you.

Bart Potenza: It also reflects, I was thinking of, when I knew we were going to be talking with you today, that if we were doing this interview ten years ago, it probably would have been along similar lines. I found something we’ve been using; we have been getting, happily, interviewed, a lot of media coverage, because of the book and because of our wholesale line out of Whole Foods as well. But, it’s really customer driven, it’s not about bragging; people want this. They want it bad. A lot of smart people eating good food is what I say. Unfortunately, we have a very devoted following, clientele, as it’s a fourth generation, but the general public, in many ways, is still not getting it, and we’re paying the bills for that, I am afraid. That’s another bothersome there. You have all this obesity in the country, people not being in good shape, not being healthy, we are the ones caring the burden of that, literally and figuratively. So I am not too happy about it.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, what so many people don’t realize is that our tax dollars, and we’ve got so many people in office now, talking about not raising taxes, but many of the taxes that we are paying go to keep us sick and poisoning the environment, and that has to change because meat and dairy products are subsidized, giant agribusiness is subsidized, and we all pay for that. So when they are getting an inexpensive dollar meal, it really costs everyone so much money!

Joy Pierson: You know that our passion, Caryn, is to work with the schools. We are working very closely with the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food. We have had a chef in a school in Harlem, and we have been developing plant-based recipes that are now being used and available to all New York City schools. Not just the city actually, it’s the boroughs as well.

Caryn Hartglass: All of New York. Now, let me ask you, how does that fit into the government, USDA-approved school lunch program? In terms of what schools get reimbursed for?

Joy Pierson: Well, that’s a great question, and the reimbursement is so small, as you know, it’s a dollar a day, once you take out administrative fees, etc. That fits in by that we are developing recipes based on what is available. I am given lists of what we can purchase. Not all of it is commodity, and most of it is not commodity, because commodity is usually the meat, I believe.

Caryn Hartglass: But they do have beans, a lot of it is canned, and some whole grain products on their commodity list.

Joy Pierson: So we are able to use whatever is on their list, and come up with recipes that adhere to their standards.

Caryn Hartglass: It is crazy what some of their standards are, in terms of nourishing our children and future generations.

Joy Pierson: That is the part that is so sad and so motivates me everyday to keep doing it because we owe these kids a good life and a good health, and without starting them now we are seeing fatty streaks in very young children already. Diabetes is on the rise in bigger numbers than we ever thought, and now we are saying our children are not going to outlive their parents.

Caryn Hartglass: How crazy is that?

Joy Pierson: Parents have to wake up; we all have to wake up; we are all in this together, and it is a grassroots movement, and we are all responsible.

Caryn Hartglass: But there is kind of a cyclical catch-22 that’s vortexing us down the drain because when we are eating food that isn’t feeding our brain, we are not as intelligent as we can be, and it is dumbing us down, and that just encourages us to be robotic and listen to all the commercials.

Joy Pierson: These fertile minds, they really know, they are so receptive. When we go into a school and do a food demo the kids are so receptive; they come around the table; they want to learn; they try foods they’ve never tried before; they become so empowered to be their own chef at home. They end up coming back, and I hear stories about how now they are cooking for the family. There is a lot of progress being made, and I guess I like to focus on that because the other part is not very encouraging to me.

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. We need to focus on the joy, Joy!

Bart Potenza: Our Joy, phenomenal program she’s got there, Caryn, she does what is called family dinner night, in conjunction with that, because we found that we have to get to the households. When the kids go home, the parents as well, unfortunately, don’t have the, well what can I say, the knowledge and skills to adjust what we’ll call healthy eating, hopefully plant-based nutrition, not always, but at least to step it up a notch and find out the difference between a fresh tomato and, you know, a canned item.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh please, yes. I was just talking with Barry Estabrook who wrote the book Tomatoland, which is heart-wrenching to learn about most of the conventional tomatoes that are being grown in Florida and how there is slavery connected to the growing of those tomatoes. So not only are those tomatoes tasteless and have like next to no nutrition, but there is just a nightmare surrounding it. That’s just the tomato, folks!

Joy Pierson: You said too, that we are allowing farmers to get sick, because they are growing with these very detrimental herbicide and pesticides, and they are not well from it.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes. So, every bite that we eat is connected to so many things, but when you go to a restaurant like Candle Cafe or Candle 79, wow. It is all love and deliciousness and nutrition and peace and wellness, and why shouldn’t every bite be that way?

Joy Pierson: I love what you say about mindful eating. We need to start eating mindfully. How many New Yorkers eat so unconsciously because they are running from one meeting to the next? So we really do have to stop and not only look at our plate and see what’s on it and where it’s come from and the history, like of the tomato, or the history of what’s happening to the farmer, and then we have to see how we are putting it into our bodies so we can actually assimilate it and use it as nourishment.

Caryn Hartglass: Speaking of the farmer, where do you get a lot of your organic produce? I know most of the food is organic, maybe some of it you can’t get organic, but I know that you strive to get a lot of it organic and as local as possible. Where does that come from?

Bart Potenza: Well this time of the year is peak. We are happily in the East Coast here from April to December now. A quick aside, they say that climate change is allowing for longer growing seasons. They used to cut off in November, now they go till December.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s funny how you’d see it that way.

Bart Potenza: Unbelievable, I mean they’re growing things, as you probably read, in places where things have never grown before, Greenland, or wherever. But most of them are really upstate New York, and we are fortunate that one of our top guys, Mountain Dell Farm, which is part of the Northeast Organic Association, had 70% of their crops survive after hurricane Irene; friends and neighbors were really badly damaged.

Caryn Hartglass: I was going to ask you about that; a lot of farmers were hit.

Bart Potenza: We saw a piece on the news this morning about how there are not going to be any big pumpkins this season, because pumpkin crops got wiped out everywhere. Then locally, closer to home, we have wonderful Guy Jones, a formal lawyer turned farmer many years ago, who has Blooming Hill Farm, right over in Chester, New York. Then we supplement with a lot of local growers, in Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We sought out specialists in every category; we have a mushroom person, we have a tomato person, some of the greens and so on. We have been getting late corn in still, right now.

Caryn Hartglass: I think this area has the best corn anywhere.

Joy Pierson: Candle Cafe has corn on the cob as a side today, and it’s grilled and it’s served with a chili aioli.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh gosh, I didn’t eat before this show. I am having a problem. Everything is delicious there.

Bart Potenza: But in the winter time, of course, we have to go back to California and Florida; no way in January, February, March, you can’t, so some greenhouse stuff comes in.

Joy Pierson: Our edamame is grown organically on Long Island.

Caryn Hartglass: I don’t have a problem with shipping food from other places during the seasons where it’s necessary, and I think a lot of people think that locally grown is so much more important than organic, and plant-based, and they’ve got it wrong. I mean, we should definitely grow as much and eat locally as much as we can, but organic is so much more important and the big one, folks, is plant foods versus animal foods no matter where you get them. Plant is better.

Joy Pierson: And now we are in very good company with plant-based diet and nutrition.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, so talk about that. You started back in 1988, Bart and Joy with Candle Cafe, or was it the juice bar originally?

Bart Potenza: Healthy Candle started in ’84; Joy and I met in ’87, and then in ’94 we created what was called Candle Cafe, which, one of our fun stories, was created with $53,000 won in the New York lottery at the time.

Caryn Hartglass: Is that all we have to do to start a restaurant, win the lottery?

Bart Potenza: Well, I like to add a few zeroes to that; you need a lot more than that, but it was very inspiring, and Joy says, “Once you commit, providence provides.” People love that story.

Joy Pierson: We were so committed to healing people with food because I was studying nutrition in school, and I knew there was so much power in food as medicine.

Caryn Hartglass: Now did you figure that out yourself, or were you learning that in school? Because a lot of nutritionists don’t know that.

Joy Pierson: I guess I learned it a lot myself by working after I got my education. I could use my education in order to corroborate that that was the truth. Actually, I have a great story. My grandfather was a physician, an old-time physician who used to make house calls, and in his office after he passed away, he had a file on every disease and the nutritional remedy.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Joy Pierson: So he was very ahead of his time, so I felt that I almost got it through my genes as well. He knew the power of nutrition and was studying it when he would do grand rounds. He would look at that. But I think he was very ahead of his time.

Caryn Hartglass: Do you still have those files?

Joy Pierson: Those files were very much mainstream nutrition; I don’t have them anymore. But they were also printed; they were printed from food companies. He had collected a lot of data. I don’t have space, Caryn, to collect. We weren’t scanning things then. I age myself now a lot.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, but that’s really a good point because a lot of people collect a lot of stuff, and it just builds up and it’s really useful. I am a believer in purging. Cleansing and purging.

Bart Potenza: Thank you, thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: And that’s true of our physical space, as well as our bodies.

Joy Pierson: Yes. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, let’s talk about your new line of frozen foods.

Joy Pierson: Let’s talk about them.

Bart Potenza: We love them.

Caryn Hartglass: What’s in them, where are they, where can we find them? And why do we want to eat them?

Joy Pierson: They are in Whole Foods Market. We have a year exclusive with Whole Foods. There are four varieties: a ginger miso stir-fry, a tofu spinach ravioli, a macaroni and vegan cheese . . .

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, that’s probably the winner.

Joy Pierson: And that is so decadent, and it’s so comforting, and it’s so delicious. And then we have a seitan piccata with a lemon caper butter sauce.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, your signature dish.

Joy Pierson: Yes

Caryn Hartglass: Great, wow.

Bart Potenza: They have been out since June, I’d like to say nationwide, but most Whole Foods are carrying it, and initial sales have been quite good.

Joy Pierson: And if your Whole Foods isn’t carrying it, you can certainly request that they bring it in.

Caryn Hartglass: Great, that’s very, very exciting. I really encourage people, for the most part, to find their kitchens in their homes.

Joy Pierson: I do too, actually.

Caryn Hartglass: And get in there and use them. But most people buy food prepared in a store, and go out to eat in restaurants, and certainly if they are going to do that, they should make the best choices, and I am sure that your four selections are probably some of the better ones that they could make.

Joy Pierson: I agree, and you are always guaranteed that it’s 100% plant-based.

Bart Potenza: I think we are the first restaurant that’s doing vegan, restaurant level, organic, frozen food. And you will find, part of the proceeds from the sales go to the Humane Society and part goes to Farm Sanctuary.

Caryn Hartglass: Very nice.

Bart Potenza: There is a nice story on the back of the box, about the history of all that and us and so on. And our pictures are even on the back of the box. You can’t miss it.

Joy Pierson: It says “Missing”; it’s like a milk carton.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh great.

Bart Potenza: Enjoy it with the new Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. Oh good. Well, it’s so important. There aren’t many restaurateurs in the vegan world that are as present as both of you and are as giving to so many non-profits and helping so many different groups. You are more than just restaurants, clearly.

Bart Potenza: Without a doubt.

Joy Pierson: We would like to think so, and we certainly strive to do that. We donate a lot, and we also are really active in our community because we do feel that nutrition is the basis for world peace. I think I took that from Michio Kushi, but world peace begins in the kitchen.

Caryn Hartglass: So what have you seen since 1984, that’s not quite 30 years, but what have you seen changed in these 3 decades?

Bart Potenza: Well two quick things about that, first one, I want to point out, Joy always reminds me of this, because I don’t always believe it, but about 80% of our customers are not vegetarian or vegan, they just like the food. So we have achieved the idea of making something tasty and delicious. I think the organic buzz word is as big as the vegan buzz word in that regard. And the other part for me is there are more men coming on board now; it was very women . . . all these holistic things, yoga, are all women driven, as you ladies probably know. I tell men out there, single hopefully, that if they want to meet the best babes in town, hang out in health food restaurants.

Caryn Hartglass: Real men eat tofu quiche, as John Joseph puts it in his book, Meat Is For Pussies. Interesting title, but you know, he has a good market.

Joy Pierson: He’s phenomenal and has a lot of great data in that book.

Bart Potenza: Another big thing that has happened, and Joy might go on to give you more details on this, is the catering part. We couldn’t do that years ago, nor did we get requests. We now do weddings, engagement parties, bridal parties, as request items. Some of which we can handle in the room of 79 because of the upstairs, but off site we do a lot of stuff now that we couldn’t do years ago. Frankly, there wasn’t a demand.

Joy Pierson: I believe, Caryn, one of the things you just said, is in three decades it’s become more mainstream. I still think it is niche, but I think it is more mainstream, and its reputation has gotten a little better. It’s not the Birkenstock crowd. What did they call us and our views?

Bart Potenza: The hippy days.

Joy Pierson: Granola eating and hippy, and I think it’s become more of the educated consumer. People now know that this is a lifestyle that actually is medically ordained, it’s medically, I don’t want to say proven, for us it’s proven, but it’s certainly got a lot more research and support behind it.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I hate to make this kind of parallel, but we recently recognized the 10th year anniversary of September 11th, and that life-changing horrible event where over 3000 people died, and more died afterwards from the health effects from all the stuff that was in the air; we lost a lot of people in that day. But, what we don’t talk about is the over 600,000 people every year dying from heart disease alone, not even talking about other diseases, and it’s completely reversible, and preventable. Fortunately, there was a little thing on CNN recently with Sanjay Gupta talking about it.

Bart Potenza: We saw that.

Joy Pierson: Fabulous.

Caryn Hartglass: And that was great, but, why, how does this happen that these numbers are staggering? We have epidemics of things that are preventable!

Joy Pierson: Yes.

Bart Potenza: Right, right. I am afraid that a lot of this fits in like survival of the fittest in many ways, because one of the many clichés they use, even in my little blue book, that affirmation book, is when you feel good, life is a lot easier, and this kind of food, this way of living, makes you feel good. I mean the kind of day, Joy, and you too, if we have to we can go 16 hours and still have something left for our own life, and you know people aren’t used to feeling that good. They’ve come to accept the lower playing field of health and vitality. Then every other commercial is for a drug on TV.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s mind boggling. I like to tell people, you have no idea how good you can feel; you just have no idea.

Bart Potenza: Exactly.

Joy Pierson: But I think that’s what happened to me. I had studied all of this in school where I was in Nutrition, and I had studied so much. When I tasted Bart’s food, I was working for a physician around the corner doing groups of people to talk about nutrition, and I was seeing patients one on one, and I would be eating with Bart everyday, but it wasn’t until I felt it in my own body, the power of what this food did for me. That’s why I am so committed to sharing that with everybody, or anybody who wants to listen.

Caryn Hartglass: Now you guys are very popular, you are celebs in this world, and you have changed a lot of lives. Are there any particular individual stories where people have told you how what you have done has changed their life?

Bart Potenza: Oh my, every day. We get comment cards; we must have shopping bags full of them going through our system. And 99.9% of them put out that we are overwhelmingly popular, with the most significant, meaningful things people say, everything from “I had a headache all day until I came to your restaurant and ate your food, and my headache went away”, “I’ve traveled all around the world, and this is the best vegan food I have ever had.” You couldn’t find your mother to write this stuff for you. People are flipping out. And it’s very contributory; I think of what Joy has achieved in particular, I like to think of me too, we’ve made people be part of what we do. We are not separating ourselves from our client base and our friends and loved ones who come and enjoy our food. We are involved in their lives, their organizations. Not only are we organic and vegan, we are green, animal-friendly, and environmental, so on a given day we are touching base with anyone from Jane Goodall to Paul McCartney. That is our range of so-called well-known people who have taken us under their wing, and when they are around they love our food, and they spread the word.

Joy Pierson: Caryn, also, I am thinking of a story of a woman who would come in from Jersey to get chemotherapy, and she would eat with us every time she came in, so she told us that it made chemotherapy bearable and pleasant that she knew she could look forward to a meal. So it really varies how we contribute. Some people come in well and want to be better and have more energy. There are professional athletes, and there are some who are not well who have chosen to take diet on as their sole modality in healing, and some who are using it in conjunction with western medicine, who are relying on us for their health and well-being.

Caryn Hartglass: You know, it’s interesting you bring up someone on chemotherapy and going to your restaurant because I recently started doing food demos and catering for people that have been through cancer and want to learn about healthy vegan diet, and I recently did one, and I was talking about how when I was on chemotherapy, sometimes I would go to your restaurant, and a woman who had been through the treatment said “I am surprised to hear that you went to a restaurant,” because she didn’t have any energy to do that, and I am not promoting chemotherapy; I don’t even know if it really works, but I went through it, and I really cleaned up my diet; it was really a green focus, green juicing, lots of supplements. My doctor said I fell through, and I had a lot of energy through chemo, and I was able to eat at Candle Cafe.

Joy Pierson: What better testament than that.

Caryn Hartglass: It was my diet. Not only did it get me through the disease, it got me through my treatments, and it works. So we are coming to the end of this little luscious segment, and of course, the thing that I have to repeat, because it is so important to me, is while I was going through the whole nightmare, which really wasn’t very nightmarish in hindsight because I was surrounded by love, and I remember you, Joy, telling me that love heals. And I want to leave everyone with that because that’s the most important thing, and there is so much love in your food, so, eat Candle food, and you’ll be filled with love.

Bart Potenza: Thank you, Caryn. We say, may the vegan force be with you.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, the vegan force. So when is the new cookbook coming out?

Bart Potenza: Cookbook, Joy?

Joy Pierson: November 1st, 2011. Caryn, thank you for sharing that story, it’s so important and means so much to me.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, my eyes are all wet right now.

Joy Pierson: Mine too.

Caryn Hartglass: I love you both, thank you for everything, and keep doing it. Keep eating.

Joy Pierson: Keep cooking.

Bart Potenza: We have a lot more we want to share with you and your listeners, so anytime you want to call upon us.

Caryn Hartglass:, Check it out. I am Caryn Hartglass, we are going to be taking a quick break, and we’ll be right back.


Transcribed by Queenie Tsui 6/24/2014, edited by Rebekah Putera 7/7/2014.


Caryn Hartglass: Hello, I am Caryn Hartglass and you are listening to It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me on the second part of our show today, and I wanted to let you know that you can always send in your comments and questions; anything you want to let me know about at my email address:, and I’ll talk to you on the show if you send me a message in the next half hour or I will correspond with you anytime during the week. So there you go,, and I have a website . It is a relatively new non-profit. I invite you all to visit and like us on Facebook, and, there are so many recipes out there. Some people often ask me – Caryn what do you eat? I am having, they’ll say they are a new vegan or they are just trying to eat healthier and they want to know what I eat. I tell them is the best way to find out what I am eating because I am putting up recipes for I am eating all the time with photographs and there are a lot of great food up there. And the show is “It’s all about food”.

Okay, so I have a very special guest now and this is 15 year old Jesse Boss and she is a special friend of mine and I am so happy that she decided several years ago to make this life empowering choice to go vegan, and she is visiting me here in NY and she is from San Francisco. So, welcome to “It’s all about food” Jesse.

Jesse Boss: Hi

Caryn Hartglass: So the first thing I want to know before we get into lots of other things is when did you decide to go vegan and why?

Jesse Boss: I have been vegan since May 29th 2010.

Caryn Hartglass: How old are you now?

Jesse Boss: I am 15.

Caryn Hartglass: so you were 14 at that time.

Jesse Boss: I was 14 at that time.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s an important date and you remember it.

Jesse Boss: I remember it because it was the day after my prom to which I memorize the date for.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s a good day. Ok, so why did you, what happened?

Jesse Boss: Well, I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 9.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow, okay.

Jessse: and I was really getting more involved in animal rights and activism and I was feeling kind of hypocritical because I am saying people should go vegan and stop supporting factory farms, but I wasn’t really doing that.

Caryn Hartglass: It is hard for a lot of people, especially with dairy and butter and cheese and ice cream. A lot of people think that we are not killing animals when we eat dairy and yet, unfortunately, today with factory farming the dairy cows have it worse than most other animals and they are pretty horrific these days, but somethings we know is that you can’t get milk unless you make a mammal pregnant; and that means that there is a baby involved and many of those baby calves become veal calves and they are slaughtered at a very early age; and then dairy cows also don’t live very long, they don’t have a natural life because they are made to give lots and lots of milk. So, food for you, that was really very brave and courageous. But I bet some of your friends give you a hard time about it.

Jesse Boss: Yeah they do. (laughs). I still get a lot of – but what about cheese Jesse? Don’t you want to eat cheese?

Caryn Hartglass: And what do you tell them?

Jesse Boss: Not really anymore (smiles).

Caryn Hartglass: What are some of the things that you like to eat as a teenager? Because I know a lot of parents don’t know what to feed their kids.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, my Mom’s pretty good with like vegan food and everything. She’s actually a vegan too, but I was vegan first.

Caryn Hartglass: I love that when parents learn from their children.

Jesse Boss: So we make a lot of like beans and things like that and we have a log of veggie dogs, veggie burger sort of things.

Caryn Hartglass: hmmm, hmmm

Jesse Boss: Kind of quick microwavable normal teenage food.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, teenagers are really particular about what they want to eat and they don’t like to eat a very varied diet and they turn up their nose up to vegetables a lot. Now do you know as a vegan, that you need to eat your vegetables?

Jesse Boss: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: you could be a vegan and just eat potato chips and French fries and drink coke. Are you one of those kinds of vegan?

Jesse Boss: I try very hard not to be (laughter). I am sure sometimes I am, I am still a 15 year old.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Okay, so you’ve been with me for a few days and what are some of the things that we’ve been having that you enjoyed?

Jesse Boss: We’ve been making lots of food from Caryn’s real meals website, and we made – buckwheat pancakes are really, really good. This fruit syrup stuff.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, we made a compote from strawberries, apples and bananas and that was good.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, the first day I was here, like, half an hour after I walked through the door we’re making veggie black beans burgers or pinto bean burgers

Caryn Hartglass: They were pinto bean burgers, but you could use the same recipe for any bean. And, were they easy to make?

Jesse Boss: Yeah, it was really, really fun and we even made like the buns and everything.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right, we made gluten free sesame buns and all of these recipes are on the website. It’s easy. I had fun because you know I make these things up and I write them down, and I have no idea if people are using them or how easy they are to make, so, I kind of use you Jesse to experiment to see and you did a great job.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, I love Caryn’s kitchen, she’s got so many different kinds of everything (laughter) like you look in her fridge and she has billions upon billions of things of different kinds of flour.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right.

Jesse Boss: Like every kind of flour you can imagine and I know she knows exactly what to do with all of them.

Caryn Hartglass: There’s a, well one of the things is I keep a lot of things in the refrigerator that most people keep in their cupboards. So all of my flour are refrigerated because what most people don’t realize is that, once the seed, once the grain is cracked and milled if it is not refrigerated it can go rancid and not only will it not taste good, but it is not good for you. So, all my flours I keep in glass jars because I don’t really like plastic and I keep them in the refrigerator and I do have a lot of them. Do you remember some of the flours that you saw?

Jesse Boss: Buckwheat flour, potato flour, garbanzo flour, rice flour.

Caryn Hartglass: There’s white rice flour, brown rice flour. It’s really fun and when you. I like to say “lift the vail” and see the world outside of a hamburger and French fries. I like to do in addition to being a vegan and to examine the gluten free world. The world without wheat because a lot of people are challenged about eating wheat and I want people to know that you can be a vegan and you can also be gluten free. And I’ve discovered so many flours and they have their own textures and I find it fun but it does take up a lot of space in your refrigerator (laughs).

Jesse Boss: Caryn do you know that you’re not the only gluten free vegan that I know?

Caryn Hartglass: No, how many do you know?

Jesse Boss: Two others.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, my friend Sadie’s mother who has been vegan for 20 years and has Celiac’s and so she is definitely vegan and gluten free.

Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm, what are the things that she makes?

Jesse Boss: I am not entirely sure – I know that they make like vegan gluten free pancakes and all sorts of things.

Caryn Hartglass: So, it’s not hard and I think once you get into it you find that it’s easy and it’s good for you. Okay, so, one of the things we use, we didn’t make it but I topped the burrito with it and that was the cashew cheese.

Jesse Boss: That was really, really, really, really, really good.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, we have a recipe for that too. We like to make batches of it up and mold them in blocks and freeze a lot of it because it freezes really well and then you can use a little bit at a time whenever you need them. But….

Jesse Boss: She’s got them in her freezer. She pulls it out grates them like any other cheese and it works.

Caryn Hartglass: It just works and it melts. Yeah, it is pretty amazing. So you know I just want the world to know that just like (9:15) in the last half hour that it’s not hard, it’s just a shift in perspective and there some work that you have to do- you do have to make things in the kitchen, but, I find it’s fun.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, definitely. I was having a lot of fun cooking with Caryn.

Caryn Hartglass: Cooking with Caryn – we should make a show like that.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, I seriously do think the hardest part is explaining to other people it’s not like different foods, it’s the hardest part is explaining to other people how it works and how they don’t have to feel bad about not having food for me and I’m used to this sort of thing.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay so we spent one day in NYC and we have till later today. We did stop at vegan restaurants Monday night and Tuesday. So what did you think of Cocoa V?

Jesse Boss: That place is amazing

Caryn Hartglass: So Cocoa V is a chocolate, a vegan chocolate and wine bar and it’s owned by the owners of blossom restaurant here in NYC and they have several restaurants. Also Blossom café on upper west side and winos on the upper east side and Blossoms restaurant in Chelsea and Cocoa V.

Jesse Boss: If you can you should go there. (laughter). They have really amazing vegan hot chocolate, everything there is vegan I believe

Caryn Hartglass: Yup.

Jesse Boss: They have all these beautiful candies with all sorts of different flavors and really, really, really good cupcakes. They have a chocolate vegan cheesecake one that I had that was really, really good.

Caryn Hartglass: And what’s interesting is that the cupcakes aren’t very big and I don’t think they should be big, because they are all made with quality ingredients that have so much flavor. A lot of times people eat a bag of cookies or a big piece of cake because they are not really satisfied because it is not made with quality ingredients. Yeah.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, but this place the hot chocolate and the cupcake you are stuffed, you could not eat anything any more, it was so good.

Caryn Hartglass: So my point is that it’s important to eat healthy most of the time which is lots of green foods which is my favorite and lots of beans and whole grains and vegetables and fresh fruits and you should fill up your day mostly with organic, locally grown healthy plant foods and then when you want to you can have a treat, but those treats too should be made with quality ingredients. A lot of the cookies and cakes today that people buy in the stores or even in the restaurants are made with a lot of manufactured synthesized things that are really dangerous – like high fructose corn syrup that’s in so many – do you ever read the labels of some of these treats?

Jesse Boss: I read the labels of almost everything that I eat.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, lots of salt, lots of strange chemical sounding words, if you don’t know what they are, do not eat them.

Jesse Boss: I was reading the back of a diet Coke or something and I was like – okay that one gives you cancer, that was bad for you, that one gives you cancer too.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so teenagers a lot of them really don’t care about food. You have any ideas of how you get your friends or other teens interested? Because personally I want to know how do we get the younger generation to be more interested in what they put into their bodies.

Jesse Boss: Don’t tell them it’s vegan before you feed it to them.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s a very good one. Make it delicious and don’t tell them.

Jesse Boss: Like a lot of my friends say a lot of not so nice things about the food I eat because they don’t know that it’s good.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, here’s a funny thing. Some people say – I don’t want to eat it, if it’s vegan right?

Jesse Boss: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And yet can we just take a minute and list all the food people eat that is vegan like every fruit apples, oranges.

Jesse Boss: A lot of bread, even a lot of packaged food they don’t realize are vegan.

Caryn Hartglass: …are vegan. Sure people eat vegan food all the time. So there is really nothing to be afraid of. Some people roll their nose at – when we talk about soy. Because soy is tofu and in a lot of really nutritious vegan food.

Jesse Boss: Yeah

Caryn Hartglass: and yet soy is in many, many burgers and animal foods.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, so I explain to people like they are asking me – do you really want to eat all that processed soy and like do you know that the cows you, that you are eating?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, really good. Most people I think don’t realize that most of the soy beans grown in this country now are not only not organic, but they are genetically modified – that is scary; but most of the soy beans almost 80% are fed to animals not people. Most of the soy grown in this country is for animals – animals eat the soy and they are not even meant to eat the soy. Cows are meant to eat green grass and we feed them all kinds of things which makes them very sick and then people eat the cows or other animals and ultimately get what those animals are eating.

Jesse Boss: I sometimes say that I’d rather process the soy bean rather than feed through a cow then process the cow.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs) I love that. I’m going to steal that one from you. That’s a good one.

Jesse Boss: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh gosh yes, but there’s a very highly processed soy product – isolated soy protein and people use it in everything not just vegan foods because it’s something that really can do a lot of different things. It can have a really nice texture and you can flavor it up the way you want. It’s in so many different foods. Okay, so we also ate at an Asian restaurant yesterday down in china town.

Jesse Boss: That was a lot of fun.

Caryn Hartglass: What’s fun about that restaurant for me is everything is vegan and they use a lot of meat analogs chicken and beef and they are made from wheat gluten and soy products and it is really amazing what they can do with all those different foods. Okay, but we haven’t had a chance to get your favorite food yet.

Jesse Boss: So, my goal this trip was – I want vegan New York pizza which I’ve not yet had and I totally am going to get it today.

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely correct. New York is definitely known for their pizza and there are so many places today that make dairy free pizzas. And what’s funny is, in Italy where I think pizza started, many of the pizzas don’t even have cheese. There’s a lot of focaccia which is like the crust and different toppings and yet so many people equate real pizza with cheese and it’s not true. It’s really just a bread with a great sauce and lots of things you can put on it.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, the first day I was here before we even met up with Caryn, we were walking, me and my Dad were walking through Chelsea market and we stopped at this Italian place and got sort of a pizza without cheese and these really awesome potato things and that was one of the best, probably like one of the best not pizza things I’ve had.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, yeah.

Jesse Boss: Not pizza, maybe more like a vegan pizza.

Caryn Hartglass: More like a focaccia. Yeah, all you need is a really good crust and again I want to bring you back to our website where we have one of my favorite things – a vegan gluten free pizza and we make the crust from garbanzo flour. I can’t say enough about garbanzo flour – it is so versatile and people have been using it for probably thousands of years and yet in US we are so clueless when it comes to varieties of food. It’s crazy what you can do with it. Okay, so, were there any films or brochures when you first decided to go vegan that really did it for you?

Jesse Boss: Not really. I mostly knew everything. It was more like giving those films and brochures out to people that changed my life, not the material itself.

Caryn Hartglass: Just kind of came naturally to you.

Jesse Boss: And it’s been pretty easy to be vegan since then. It’s not like the major struggle that other people seem to think it is.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s important, can you say that again?

Jesse Boss: It’s not a major struggle to be vegan and you really don’t even miss animal products after a week or so.

Caryn Hartglass: right: now did you feel physically any different when you stopped eating dairy foods? Do you remember?

Jesse Boss: I remember, I was really, really busy right then, so I don’t remember like a change and I still, even though I am a vegan I don’t really eat as healthy as someone like Caryn does.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughter) The culinary cop.

Jesse Boss: Kike I know what junk food is vegan, what brand names in junk food and I eat that.

Caryn Hartglass: Right yeah, well I’m always trying to find ways for kids and adults to eat dark leafy green vegetables and I have to do a little dark leafy green commercial here because you know I have been talking about all these different foods, but I have to remind you all that we were meant to eat primarily dark leafy green vegetables and maybe some fruits and berries, and we get all those powerful immune system boosting nutrients; and when you are feeling like you need some energy and you’re feeling a little cloudy in the head, some people would naturally grab a candy bar or cup of coffee, and what you really need to grab is a big salad or some steamed kale or what I like best, which is a green juice; because that’s the stuff (laughs) Jesse is wrinkling her nose up right now – because that’s the stuff that really feeds our brains, feeds our body gives us energy. How are we going to get people to eat more green foods?

Jesse Boss: Well, when you told my Mom all that, she decided we would have kale everyday. So I guess you are doing a pretty good job.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, but she puts it in a blended salad right? A smoothie?

Jesse Boss: Right, she puts it in a salad, she puts it in a smoothie, she puts it in a tofu scramble, she puts it in banana bread cupcakes – but you don’t taste it.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs) Yeah you kind of do.

Jesse Boss: She puts kale into every place she can fit it.

Caryn Hartglass: Well that’s a good thing. You’ve got a good mom. You can do lots of things with dark leafy green vegetables and some are more appetizing than others – especially if you are not used to it. I know a lot of people are eating kale chips these days. Dehydrated kale seasoned with some spices and a little sea salt or soy sauce.

Jesse Boss: Yeah, I have had those. I definitely prefer fresh kale to those not quite sure why. I like the texture but a lot times the seasonings are not super, super great.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, well.

Jesse Boss: They’re really fun to make though.

Caryn Hartglass: What’s that? Kale chips?

Jesse Boss: Yeah, the kale chips.

Caryn Hartglass: How do you make them?

Jesse Boss: Well, I’ve only ever made them at other people’s houses; because we don’t have a dehydrator. Basically we pulled the kale into bits, mixed it in spices and put into a dehydrator for a little while.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, you can do that in an oven at a very low temperature too. Some ovens; I am embarrassed to say, I recently discovered that the oven I have had for over 10 years has a dehydrator option on it and I didn’t even know. But some ovens are able to operate at very low temperatures. So get to know your oven, get to know your kitchen and eat greens – eat your greens. Ok so we have a few minutes left and I’m wondering what it is – do you have any, any other vegan stories that you want to share?

Jesse Boss: hmmmm

Caryn Hartglass: When you go to a party or something, are there things that you bring?

Jesse Boss: Dessert, vegan dessert that I know is good.

Caryn Hartglass: What do you make?

Jesse Boss: I remember I used to say – oh no vegan dessert doesn’t taste good and I don’t like it. Then I actually started making my own vegan desserts and being vegan I like to bring brownies because they’re really awesome and chocolaty and it’s really hard to make chocolate things not taste good.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s true, if you use good chocolate, it’s hard to make chocolate not taste good.

Jesse Boss: Or cookies are good too – it’s stuff you can spread out between everybody. They almost always get eaten. Even though they are vegan and scary (laughter).

Caryn Hartglass: You know that’s a funny thing – some people think vegan food is scary. I think unfortunately it is because they do not know about the food they are eating. Because if we were able to tour the factory farm, if we were able to tour a hen farm, a hen laying facility – do you know what those things look like?

Jesse Boss: Yeah, they’re definitely scarier than any vegan food I make.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right, so the hens the majority – 99.9% of the egg laying hens today are either crammed 5 to a tiny cage or they are crammed on the floor of a warehouse where they never go outside and even the eggs that are labeled free range. It’s not regulated an those chickens for the most part are not happily frolicking around outside in a barn yard.

Jesse Boss: I remember one of the most informative leaflets I ever handed out, it was just a standard 81/2 x 11 piece of paper. It said on it that if you unfolded it that is how much space the chickens had.

Caryn Hartglass: So when you show that to people what was their reaction?

Jesse Boss: Well, I was just handing it out outside a grocery store and a lot of people would take and walk away. No one stopped to have a conversation, which was kind of disappointing.

Caryn Hartglass: Probably they threw it out often?

Jesse Boss: But a lot of people would say – oh no I don’t want to look at those, I don’t want to have to see that.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah isn’t that interesting, a lot of people kind of know but they don’t want to know, I don’t get that. I don’t get it because what a tremendous impact we can all do every meal if we choose to eat plant based foods versus animal foods.

Jesse Boss: Yeah and information really is everything. I have a friend who I don’t think ever assumed he’d be a vegetarian until he saw one of those factory farming videos and he hasn’t eaten meat ever since then, which I thought was really cool.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh good for him. But then there are other people that say – I don’t want to know because they know but they don’t want to know. So sometimes you know I always encourage people that are spreading the information to be compassionate and loving and gentle because angry vegan that is screaming at people is not going to get anywhere. But we can be persistent. Persistently sharing our cookies and sharing the information.

Jesse Boss: I know one angle I used was environmental. Because it seems less like an attack on people saying this is better for the environment. Because a lot of people take food really, really personally and feel like I’m insulting them or challenging them even by just being vegan.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay Jesse I’m really impressed with what you are doing and all of the things that you know about health, about the environment, the animals. Just thank you for talking with me today. This is a pleasure and I hope a lot of teenagers get to be more like you. It would be a great world.

Jesse Boss: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay let’s go get some vegan pizza.

Jesse Boss: Yeah!!

Caryn Hartglass: I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Join me at lots of great recipes there. Send me an email at

Have a yummy, delicious week. Bye.

Transcribed by Rita Badami, 4/30/2013

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