Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza, Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe


joy-piersonJoy, co-owner, 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!

bart-potenzaBart Potenza, founder, with over 30 years in the health food industry, continues to excite his loyal following with his innovative ideas and concepts in the organic vegan movement. Bart, along with his partner Joy Pierson, has created three successful vegetarian dining establishments including Candle Cafe, Candle 79 and Candle Cafe West. The original Candle Cafe was the first restaurant to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association and all three restaurants are at the forefront of campaigns to green NYC and the restaurant industry. Candle 79 when it opened 11 years ago was one of the first upscale, organic, vegan restaurants in the country. At the vanguard of health food marketing and vegetarianism, Bart is a proud member of Green America, Social Ventures Network, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, The Presidents Club at F.A.R.M., P.E.T.A. and Farm Sanctuary. Additionally, Bart is a published author, both in his contribution to the Candle Cafe Cookbook and in a compilation of his daily aphorisms Look Two Ways on a One Way Street which was published by Lantern Books in 2008. The Candle restaurants under Bart’s leadership have also spawned Candle Catering, Candle Cafe Frozen Entrees, the Candle 79 Cookbook and the Candle’s newest book, Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe.

The success of Candle Cafe, Candle Cafe West 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.



Hello, everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food. Here we are at December 2, 2014. Do you believe it’s December? I do, because I was walking out in it just a moment ago and it is freezing. Well, not quite freezing. It’s that kind of cold, wet weather that sometimes feels colder than what it says on the thermometer because it’s wet. But, I’m not complaining, I’m feeling really good, and I want to tell you why. I read recently…actually I read a number of studies that talk about when we express our gratitude, we feel better. So, I thought I would try it. And, I started thinking about the things I would list on this show. I thought, I’ll list three things I’m thankful for and as I started to think about the things I was thankful for, I just started to feel so good! Try it!

All right, let me tell you what I’m thankful for.

Number 1 – I found my Metro Card. Okay, what big deal is that? If anybody knows, in New York City, instead of the old-fashioned subway tokens, we have this credit card sized card and it’s connected to our credit card and we just swipe it through every time we take the subway and it automatically refills itself. It’s very convenient; it’s lovely until you can’t find it. And it happened once before and unfortunately I had really lost it. And someone else had picked it up and started using it. So this time, as soon as I realized it was gone, I kept checking my activity online and fortunately I knew nobody had picked it up and was using it and I had a feeling it was still in my home. And yesterday I found it, and today I got to use it. And there was a bonus, actually. Because when I went to look for it, I started to clean up little things. There was a box of things I’d just kept putting in my closet and I finally got a chance to organize that. So that was actually a benefit. And sure enough, my Metro Card was in the last place I looked for it. But that’s always the way it goes, isn’t it? Anyway, that made me feel really good because I was very nervous about not having that lovely little card. Okay, what else am I thankful for?

There’s a new business online. It’s called Thrive Market. You can get to it by going to It’s one of these businesses where you can order food online. Dry goods, beans and grains and other things and they’re just getting started. They have a really. I think they have a very socially conscious, positive mission. I recently joined and I had made a big order that I was planning to use for my Thanksgiving dinner and it was supposed to arrive the day before Thanksgiving and guess what? I’m reading online following the Fed Ex tracking and it was damaged in shipment, and I’m totally in a panic and I had to go out at the last minute and buy all this stuff because I was planning to make a big Thanksgiving dinner. Then I contacted them on Friday because I still hadn’t received it, and I wrote and explained what happened, and they wrote back and at first they said that they were very sorry, this has never happened out of the 900 boxes they had shipped because they are new. That this had never happened and that they would give me 20% off on my next purchase. I don’t know, I wasn’t feeling too good, but this morning they told me they totally refunded my order, they’re sending me the order anyway and I’m thinking – this is good customer service. This is something I love and so now I’m very happy with them, although I still haven’t gotten my order yet. But if you want, you can check them out You get free shipping on all orders over $49 and you get a free one-month membership and I think I’m liking them. I just want to say I’m not getting anything from promoting them, I’m just telling you a story.

And then the third thing that I’m grateful for today is that I’m alive. You know, we forget sometimes, don’t we? As my guests know who just showed up in the studio, and I’ll introduce them in a moment, that wasn’t really a guarantee for a while. So what I’m thankful for being alive is that I had a number of good things. I was surrounded by love, and I had good doctors and green juice. I think that’s my recipe. There’s a lot more that I’m thankful for, in fact as I started thinking about this little list of only doing three, all of a sudden it started to tumble with all kinds of other things that I’m thankful for. But maybe I’ll save them for next week.

Anyway, it feels good, doesn’t it, to think about what you’re thankful for? So maybe you might try that.

All right.

So the last thing I’m thankful for, well not the last thing, but the latest thing I’m thankful for is my guests are here in the studio and they are two of the most loveliest people and how lucky am I to just look at them right now. I wish you could too. But you’re only going to be able to hear them and I have Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza, the owners of the healthy Candles. Candle Cafe, Candle 79, Candle West and also the Candle foods that we can find in Whole Foods and we’ll hear more about that. And cookbooks. We’ve got a cookbook to talk about so let’s get started.

Hello, and love, love, love, love. Get closer to the mic.

Bart Potenza: How many hours do you say that we had? [laughter]

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, we’ve got about an hour, so let’s see how it goes. So you’re looking good.

Bart Potenza: Thank you.

Joy Pierson: Thank you. You too.

Caryn Hartglass: Thank you!

Joy Pierson: A lot to be grateful for.

Caryn Hartglass: So much to be grateful for.

Bart Potenza: Health and wealth. The vegan mission’s stronger than ever.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, so, let’s just jump in. Happy 30th Anniversary.

Bart Potenza: Overall, yeah right. Candle Cafe started…

Caryn Hartglass: You started 30 years ago.

Bart Potenza: Right.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so I know a lot of people listening know about you, but there are also a lot who don’t either from other countries or other states or people from New York that haven’t had the opportunity to be one of your precious food sanctuaries.

Bart Potenza: mmmm-hmmm

Caryn Hartglass: So just let’s tell me briefly about yourself so we get up to date.

Bart Potenza: Joy Amy, how can we titillate them right now with all kinds of … our own experiences of course, over and over again. Even though we’ve done it for 30 years, we’ve just finished up with another meeting and it feels like Day One most days. That’s what keeps it fresh and exciting. And the food is extraordinary. Better than ever. The connections we made in the early days with the organic farmers and the people that work in our restaurants, it’s a very cohesive thing and it’s quite a performance on a daily basis involving this quality of level of food….

Caryn Hartglass: You’ve put on a show every day.

Bart Potenza: Yeah, well you know about that kind of thing. [laughs]

Joy Pierson: She’s the performer. My experiences…I was a customer of Bart’s – you know this story, but I’ll tell your viewers – er – listeners. The story is I was a customer. I’m a nutritionist by training. I had a private practice and I would go in for lunch every day. And it made me feel so good. I really didn’t understand what veganism was all about. But when I felt it in my own body, and my mental clarity improved, my hair got shinier, my eyes were brighter, my skin was clearer, my weight went down and things just generally, generally improved. Really improved. And it was like this food is better tasting for me. It’s like I went in and I just was blown away by the flavors because it was fresh from the farm. They were picking within 24 hours of serving. The nutrient density was there. The freshness factor was there and it really revolutionized my own body. So for me, it was “How do I share that?”

Caryn Hartglass: This is a body revolution!

Joy Pierson: It was!

Bart Potenza: Yes

Joy Pierson: My body.

Bart Potenza: My body. It’s an echo [laughter]

Caryn Hartglass: I like that! All right, now most of the vegan restaurants I’ve been in, I can’t say all, but a lot of them, the owners are very passionate because there’s more to vegan food than just the food. It’s all encompassing. All life on earth. It’s an incredible passion. But, there is something very unique about the Candles. And I don’t know how you do it. But, there’s this intimacy. There’s this feeling of you’re at home. And you both have been very present and, you know, running a restaurant is so hard. I don’t know how you stay so calm.


Caryn Hartglass: Or maybe you really are but…

Bart Potenza: Are you sure this is only audio and not visual?

Caryn Hartglass: Or maybe you’re really are excellent actors. I don’t know, but it’s just such a complete, beautiful experience.

Bart Potenza: Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s not just food.

Joy Pierson: It’s not just food, and it’s energetic from the dishwasher to the managers. I mean everybody is an integral part of the energetics coming into the Candle. I know people who have said they’ve come in and I’ve been in there in a day and I was like “Did somebody just hug me, but nobody touched me”. But you feel embraced by the energy of the Candles. It has this miracle sort of …

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, you mentioned hugging and I said “I don’t think there are more hugs anywhere than in your restaurant”. [laughter]

Caryn Hartglass: Really!

Bart Potenza: Thank you, yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And I don’t know how you do it but it’s a beautiful thing and…

Joy Pierson: We don’t know how we do it either, but we know that it takes more than just us. It takes a village and it takes a divine intervention. Listen, you know we won the New York State Lottery. We needed the money for the restaurant and providence provided. Bart actually paid the tickets, so he’s another part of …. my providence.

Bart Potenza: 1993. It was Joy’s birthday and my birthday and the Take 5 game and we won $53,000 in the lottery. Did you ever know that Caryn?

Caryn Hartglass: I did. I did know that and that was…

Bart Potenza: Unfortunately there were 6 other people who won the same night. Otherwise we would have won $300,000.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, but

Bart Potenza: But it was the seed money for Candle Cafe.

Caryn Hartglass: And that was a lot more money than it is today.

Bart Potenza: Right.

Caryn Hartglass: $53,000.

Joy Pierson: It really wasn’t a lot of money then either. We needed to go out and borrow more, but it gave us I think the clarity and the push to really say, ” This is meant to be.” Because it’s scary to start a new venture like that, and to invest our time and our money and our everything.

Caryn Hartglass: All right, so restaurants you’ve started. In 1994 with Candle Cafe.

Bart Potenza: Right.

Caryn Hartglass: Right? And so it’s 20 years of restauranting. And that’s a long time in this business. And people still love your restaurants and not only are they there but they’re getting better. How do you do that?

You’re not answering these questions! How is it you have the love and how are you getting better?

Bart Potenza: A lot of things that are happening that were, as an industry we’d have to call it that vegan, Organic were not available 10 years ago even or 20 meaning the variety of things we work with, the kinds of herbs and spices. We say a lot and we get a lot of press coverage about what we’ve done, especially with the new book. But it’s not about bragging, Caryn, people want it. I was thinking the other day; we have the most incredible client base. Huggy, feely or not but every shaker and mover on the planet that you can think of from Colin Campbell, from Michio Kushi to Paul McCartney has walked through our doors. Have been fed and come back again and again and again. Literally feeding a fourth generation now. But the part you need, the mechanics of running them on a day-to-day basis is very challenging, and we have happily good teams and we’re constantly keeping it fresh and alive for them and for ourselves. And for the clients of course.

Joy Pierson: And do you realize that 90% of our customers are carnivores? I think that is incredible. To think about.

Caryn Hartglass: Now do they say if we could eat here every day, we would be in?

Joy Pierson: It’s a very very common thing to say.

Bart Potenza: Move to my neighborhood, move in to my building…

Joy Pierson: What changes that more than anything else, but seitan chimichurri.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh my God, my favorite!

Joy Pierson: That’s for you.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I say this often on this show, but I’m waiting for the day when technology allows us to smell and taste through the airwaves.

Joy Pierson: Yes.

Bart Potenza: We’re getting there!

Caryn Hartglass: And I know it will happen, but meanwhile….

Bart Potenza: Movie theaters are doing that now.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh my goodness. So there’s this… I’ve got this delicious fragrance here; it has this charcoal, lovely…

Bart Potenza: Marinade

Caryn Hartglass: ..fragrance. Tell me what it is while I chew in to it.

Joy Pierson: It’s a citrus-cilantro marinaded seitan skewer. And then it’s put on the grill. It’s served at Candle Cafe West, which is our newest restaurant on 2427 Broadway. It’s served with a jalapeno aioli. I know you’re doing the “happy food dance”. Nobody can see it but it’s my favorite dance.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m opening the jalapeno aioli. Oh my goodness! Caryn’s happy! You know it’s got a lovely texture, it chewy, its juicy!

Joy Pierson: It’s juicy.

Bart Potenza: It is.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmmmmmm! And I’m using my fingers.

Bart Potenza: It absorbs all flavors and it’s fantastic.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, this is delicious.

Joy Pierson: And then I brought you the beet salad with and almond cheese. And I don’t know if you noticed, Caryn, but the cover of the book has cheeses on it for the holidays. And I love that because really to make it…I think they look beautiful. It’s one….

Caryn Hartglass: What do they have, like peppers?

Joy Pierson: Yeah, it’s red peppercorns. Rolled in red peppercorns. You can roll it in anything, in fresh herbs, and it really is quite lovely and really makes a beautiful plate. We also show it there with some beautiful fresh figs and some champagne grapes.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I want to say about this almond cheese… Now maybe this is similar or different….

Joy Pierson: Similar

Caryn Hartglass: …the almond cream, that’s on your roasted butternut squash soup. I made that recipe for Thanksgiving and the almond cream cheese, the almond cream on top…. oh…. It was just amazing!

Joy Pierson: Amazing.

Caryn Hartglass: And everybody went nuts over the soup. It was stunning to look at.

Bart Potenza: That’s the main reason Joy did the cookbook, by the way, with Jorge Pineda and Angel Ramos, the two head chefs because she wanted people to be able to take this experience of how they’re cooking into their home and share with their friends and loved ones and family. It was amazing.

Caryn Hartglass: This is the almond cream.

Joy Pierson: mmm-hmmm.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmmmm. Yes! Okay. Beets, the almond cream.

Bart Potenza: The variety is there, obviously.

Caryn Hartglass: Mmmm-hmmm.

Joy Pierson: Beets and, oh I didn’t even give you the salad dressing. It’s a Kalamata Olive salad dressing vinaigrette.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh my God. Listen to the crunch. [crunching]

Bart Potenza: All right!


Caryn Hartglass: That’s string beans.

Bart Potenza: This is a living commercial by the way.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well the point is, of all of this, the cookbook…I’m just dipping my finger in the dressing…

Joy Pierson: Please.

Bart Potenza: Alrighty.

Caryn Hartglass: OK I’m tasting oil and vinegar and then some herbs are in there. What’s in there? Mmmmm, it’s good, whatever it is.

Joy Pierson: Delicious. Kalamata olives in…

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, the olive! That gives it that color.

Joy Pierson: A nice kick and a nice dark, rich color. Food is so fragrant, right. So fragrant and it stimulates every sense.

Caryn Hartglass: OK, so the cookbook. I’ve said this too a few times on the program. I’m not talking as often about cookbooks any more because I’m kind …. I’ve got cookbook fatigue. And I’m so glad that there are so many vegan cookbooks out there.

Joy Pierson: Yep

Caryn Hartglass: I’m thrilled about it. And many of them are how to eat vegan, and they’re very simple, and they’re clean foods and it’s wonderful that they’re out there but I’m kind of bored! And when I see a beautiful cookbook come out where it’s stunning to look at and it’s stunning to read, I’m very excited and that’s what this vegan Holiday Cooking is really all about. So let’s just mention briefly your chefs, Angel and Jorge.

Joy Pierson: They are incredibly talented; I call them alchemists in the kitchen. They’ve been…

Caryn Hartglass: They’ve been with you since the beginning….well..

Joy Pierson: Bart and I for 15 years, I believe, so it’s more than family.

Bart Potenza: Right.

Joy Pierson: And their cuisine, Caryn, as you said before, it gets better and better and this book is really our way of sharing with everybody these beautiful, like you said, beautiful but very unusual recipes because they’re actually festive. You know and even people who don’t really drink – in the book is a whole section on alcohol and sustainable liquors and we have one alcohol beverage, seeds, that plant a tree every time we sell a drink, we’ve planted at Candle 79 over 9,000 trees in the Indian Range Forest.

Bart Potenza: Every time someone has a drink, a tree got planted.

Caryn Hartglass: I didn’t realize that.

Joy Pierson: Incredible.

Caryn Hartglass: We must drink more.

Joy Pierson: Drinking with a mission!


Bart Potenza: Saving the forest, or creating alcoholics, I don’t know which……

Caryn Hartglass: Well, but we need to celebrate, there’s much to celebrate.

Joy Pierson: That’s the key.

Bart Potenza: Of course.

Caryn Hartglass: And if you can’t make it to Candle or even if you can, there’s something about making dinners at home that I find really special. I don’t think, I don’t know the statistics, but I don’t think that people are doing it as much as they used to. And there’s something really lovely about it. We made Thanksgiving dinner at home. And there’s something about infusing that love in the food that you just don’t get it. Now you get it at your Candle Restaurants…

Joy Pierson: Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: But when you make something at home and when your guests realize what effort went in…because people take foods so for granted.

Joy Pierson: They do.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s just a momentary, buy it fast, slug it down, they don’t even realize somebody had to grow it, and harvest it and package it and ship it. Many many times and then buy it and then prepare it. And in two seconds it’s gone!

Bart Potenza: Quite a journey, right? For a vegan meal.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. It’s crazy. Well, for all food, unfortunately.

Joy Pierson: And this is really what you are saying, I think. I think it really is a lost art. I think coming to the dining room table together is a lost art and it’s a very important art and a very important part of the fiber of our beings. Like we get to share. And I think that also bringing everybody into the kitchen. I remember being in the kitchen with my mother and my grandmother over Thanksgiving. I remember making the whipped cream for the pumpkin pie. I remember all those things and those are memories I want others to be able to have. And I believe that with this book they can have them and be eating plant-based at the same time.

Caryn Hartglass: You know they’re not hard.

Joy Pierson: They’re not hard.

Caryn Hartglass: They take time. They take some thought. But anytime we invest in something, we get something back. So we have to put the time in to get something back. And I think it’s worth it.

Joy Pierson: I think it’s worth it.

Caryn Hartglass: Yay!


Joy Pierson: We think it’s worth it for everybody.

Caryn Hartglass: You know I was talking to Vesanto Melina last week on this program. She and Brenda Davis, these wonderful dieticians, have new or revised books, Becoming Vegan Express and Becoming Vegan Comprehensive and these are great references that I’m looking at every day for information. They’re incredible. But one of the things I asked Vesanto, who’s also been doing this for 30 years, is what has changed. So we talked about what has changed in the nutritional world and we’re constantly learning and things that we thought were healthy 30 years ago, like Wheat Germ or something is not as healthy as we thought it is and we’ve learned so many more foods are healthy today. So in the 30 years of restauranteurism, I’m things have changed too, with what you’ve learned about the food.

Bart Potenza: Well, we’re all privy to this gluten-free thing that’s gone on now too. Of course, all three of our restaurants have very extensive gluten-free menus.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s what we need is a gluten-free seitan. Somebody will come up with it.

Joy Pierson: No doubt about it.

Bart Potenza: We get totally acknowledged for that, but that again, wasn’t a difficult decision for Joy and myself to make. We’re privy to what I’ll have to call the trends of what’s going on and I don’t think a day goes by in the press you don’t read or hear something about nutrition. A new way of looking at something. One day coffee’s okay the next day it’s not okay. Red wine? Being Italian I make sure I still have some of that in my diet, you know.

Caryn Hartglass: Maybe that’s your secret.

Bart Potenza: Yeah, but you know another thing we shared through the years, we may have used this with you before, but it’s harder to change people’s food habits than their religion or politics. That’s how we’re bred, food habits, culture, whatever nationality you might come from and so on. Me being classic Italian-American, I still like my pasta, vegan version, of course and a fine red wine is my go-to meal. When I think of a kind of celebration. But getting people to rethink how they are around food is what you mentioned before.

Caryn Hartglass: Now you make a lot of things from local, fresh foods, but I’m sure there’s some products that you used that are made already. I don’t know.

Bart Potenza: Tofu.

Caryn Hartglass: Tofu or the vegan cheeses. Maybe a vegan butter or something, I don’t know. And that’s changed over the years.

Joy Pierson: A lot. You’re right about that.

Bart Potenza: The variety of course. Food options.

Caryn Hartglass: And that’s changed what’s on your menu to some degree.

Joy Pierson: Yeah, yeah. You’re totally right. I think that the products coming out that they’re more savvy to the needs of the vegan diet or plan-based diet, like the butters and the cheeses. The cheeses we’ve watched evolve over the years, right, we’ve watched them not melt and melt and…..

Bart Potenza: And apropos of that we have our own frozen food line out there in the world.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh there we go now the last time you were here you were just introducing them.

Bart Potenza: Really? Wow! And you’re three now.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right, it was 2011. So what’s going on with that?

Bart Potenza: Come on, Joy, take that one kid.

Caryn Hartglass: You started with three items, the seitan…

Joy Pierson: It’s the seitan picatta, a ravioli in a red sauce, which is delicious and it’s a ginger miso stir-fry. And it’s a mac and cheese. So all those comfort foods and just easy, accessible and at the market and also we donate money to HSUS and Farm Sanctuary which is on the box.

Caryn Hartglass: Very nice.

Bart Potenza: They get part of the proceeds that come in.

Joy Pierson: so that’s very exciting because that keeps the whole family together, right?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Bart Potenza: And as of January the lines going to be expanded too.

Joy Pierson: Yes! Bagged ravioli. Then you can make your own sauce. Your own cashew creams or whatever. And it’s really beautiful, tasty and what a nice thing to be able to share with people and have in your freezer. Our grandbabies love them. They’re my test market. They actually requested it the last time they came over.

Caryn Hartglass: Well the Italian in you must love that.

Bart Potenza: I guess so, yeah. Anything that ends in an ‘ie’ or an ‘o’, they want it.

Caryn Hartglass: I remember, I grew up on Long Island, we were near Deer Park and there was a lot of Italian food manufacturers there. They made ravioli and cannoli and all these things and we would buy the ravioli and you just, you can’t do that anymore. Because it’s got cheese in it. So hallelujah!

Joy Pierson: And even we have a cannoli even too, you know that.

Caryn Hartglass: Woo Hoo!

Joy Pierson: A vegan cannoli!

Caryn Hartglass: Do you know the movie ‘Chef’? Have you seen it?

Joy Pierson: and Bart Potenza: Yes! Yeah, we saw it, yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: OK. So of course it’s not a vegan movie, and there’s a lot of stuff in there with food that I don’t want to talk about, but what I do want to talk about is the passion around food. And specifically this Chef guy John Fabro, there was a scene with Scarlett Johansen where they’re in his apartment and he’s making food. So this is a guy who makes all this complicated intense stuff, but when he comes home and he wants to do something seductive and sensual, he whips together this little pasta dish. And you watch it and it’s just incredible. And I was wondering, OK, you’re always surrounded by this amazing food, what do you do when you’re at home?

Joy Pierson: I love to cook when we’re home. And I love to do stuff like that. I love to whip Bart up a pasta dish or any spaghetti or rigatoni or any time of pasta. And I love to eat clean, simple foods. I love it. And I love to flavor things. I love to get international flavors. I had Butternut Squash the other day, I was testing a recipe for a chef and so I had extra so I took the squash and I just pureed it and I added a can of coconut milk. Organic coconut milk. It was just so delectable and rich and delicious.

Caryn Hartglass: Now one of the secrets to delicious food is the source where you get the food from. And most of your food is organic.

Joy Pierson: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And I was reading in your acknowledgements the list of people you were thanking and that list is long and one name popped down that’s Josh Steinhauser?

Joy Pierson: mmm-hmmm.

Caryn Hartglass: And I wanted to talk about him a little bit. So he’s just a really intense, passionate guy.

Bart Potenza: Yes, he should be sitting here with us today.

Joy Pierson: He should be.

Caryn Hartglass: He’s like a 2000% energy, green juice-infused nut about healthy food. And I met him in the mid 90’s. I was flying back from Florida. I was on an aisle seat, and he was on the opposite aisle seat. I mean what an incredible synchronicity. And the flight attendant walked by and I had ordered a vegan meal and he hadn’t. And he said “Do you have any extras?” and of course, she said “No”. And I’m looking – there’s a vegan next to me? It’s the mid-90’s and that just doesn’t happen. So I said, you can have mine, I don’t need it and then we just non-stop conversation the rest of the way back. I couldn’t believe I met this guy and I’ve been to his North Hollywood farmers market so many times with the highest piles of leafy greens, for me that’s….

Joy Pierson: Heaven on Earth.

Caryn Hartglass: Orgasmic.

Joy Pierson: Me too.


Bart Potenza: Take it easy ladies! This is a family show.

Caryn Hartglass: No, really, when I see those mountains of fresh, green and he’s one of your providers.

Bart Potenza: Suppliers, yeah.

Joy Pierson: But for the longest time, I’ve got so many beautiful stories about Josh. When we first went into business Josh would be out in the truck bringing us the produce and I’d be in the store and, Oh God.

Caryn Hartglass: People don’t realize.

Joy Pierson: At 5 AM and he’d be eating spirulina by the handfuls. We could stay up and we were making green juices and asking him if I could do anything. But he was really incredible, the energy that Josh has and the energy that he gave us. And he gives to us every week. We still work with Josh. Every week Chef speaks to Josh.

Bart Potenza: Even now. yeah.

Joy Pierson: So it’s been a long-term. He’s like my brother. I mean, the whole thing about how he grows and what he cares about and his integrity and honesty and impeccability and….

Caryn Hartglass: So that love that’s in your food starts long before it arrives at your restaurant.

Bart Potenza: Right.

Joy Pierson: It does.

Bart Potenza: We feel it, and we share it.

Caryn Hartglass: And I know he donates a lot of the food to….

Bart Potenza: Charities

Joy Pierson: He did the Coalition for Healthy School Foods Benefit this year. He did the centerpieces for which were three kinds of cauliflower – purple, yellow and white. They were really beautiful. He really does. And when I go into school and I need apples or something to give the kids for snack, Josh will always donate.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so that’s a good segue. Let’s talk about the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, and what’s going on in schools today.

Joy Pierson: You know you talked about a lot of differences and changes. You know we have our first Vegetarian school in Queens.

Caryn Hartglass: I know! In my neighborhood!

Joy Pierson: And you know that their education is better, their grades are better, their attendance is better and things are better. So that makes a big difference and we’re actually developing recipes for the DOE, we’re working with them and getting in plant-based recipes into schools. They have a plant-based, alternative menu. Which is a Vegetarian – alternative menu.

Caryn Hartglass: OK, good beginning.

Joy Pierson: It’s very good.

Caryn Hartglass: So do you know how many schools in New York are doing this or thinking about it?

Joy Pierson: Not as many as there should be, Caryn. But we’re really trying to talk to principals because principals have to be on board in order to bring it into their school.

Caryn Hartglass: Now I remember talking to you three years ago about this and you said part of the problem is you can educate the kids, but the parents need education too. They go home and the parents don’t know anything, what are they going to do?

Joy Pierson: That’s true, and you know since that time we’ve developed a program called Family Dinner Night. Bringing the families in with the students and what’s happening is the parents are getting more of an education. I had a parent jump up on the table the other day. More than the other day, I’m sure it was a few months ago. Jump up on the table, turn her body around, told me that she lost like 15 pounds, her cholesterol was lower, her diabetes was gone, her asthma was gone. She listed about 12 other ailments that had disappeared. So it’s really, and that was just as a by-product of us working with their child in a school system. So yes. And when the parent gets on board – I had another student who said to me “Can I take the Tofu? I want to make it for my mom tomorrow morning for breakfast.” And I was like “Go for it!” And I gave him a recipe and kids feel empowered to teach their parents about this. We get a lot of kids bringing their parents into the restaurant.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m having another bite of seitan chimichurri. And it’s so delicious.


Bart Potenza: Probably go to a Candle commercial. You can eat.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I’m thinking. This woman jumps on the table, and she tells about how her health has improved on so many levels, and it’s eating delicious food!

Joy Pierson: That’s exactly right.

Caryn Hartglass: How long is in going to take to get it?

Bart Potenza: I know. Well, I like the sort of being sort of the good-boy, bad-boy in this whole industry. I often say, when people eat badly, and we know a lot do, they don’t fall down dead on the spot, you know. It takes five, ten, twenty years for the diseases to develop. So I think that’s one of the things that makes it hard for people to give up – we’ll have to call their bad habits. I think, I didn’t become a vegan until I was in my 50’s. I’m 77 years old now and I’m like the poster boy…

Caryn Hartglass: And he’s looking good, by the way.

Bart Potenza: Take it easy girlfriend. Where do you want to put the $10 down?


Caryn Hartglass: Well I like how a lot of older men who are turning vegan are really looking hot, like Clinton. OK, he’s close vegan, but you know, I don’t want to split hairs here but he’s looking good!

Bart Potenza: He is.

Caryn Hartglass: So that’s what’s wonderful, it doesn’t matter what you used to do before. Your body can turn around.

Bart Potenza: Oh yeah.

Joy Pierson: And quickly. We see it all the time in the restaurant. With Dr. Esselstyn’s patients, like T. Colin Campbell’s patients too that they avoid going for heart surgery because they changed their diet.

Bart Potenza: We had the Avatar man in James Cameron and he was so moved by what he saw and experienced he invited 41 people back for dinner the next night. I hope we’re in his next movie.

Caryn Hartglass: I know a number of people who are working on him to do more because he can. There are some who believe that a few key individuals who have the means could really be making a big difference. He’s one of them.

Joy Pierson: He’s so passionate about it and really I think we said this before but to decrease your carbon footprint by 25% and when I said that to him …

Bart Potenza: …when you’re a vegan…

Joy Pierson: …Mr. Cameron he said, “more than that, it’s really more than that.” That we have the ability by changing what we do with our forks every day to decrease our impact on global warming. It’s quite extraordinary.

Caryn Hartglass: It is extraordinary.

Joy Pierson: We can do it. Cowspiracy…did you see that?

Caryn Hartglass: Not yet. I talked to the director and producers but I haven’t seen it yet but I will. There’s only so many things we can all do.

Bart Potenza: A good part of our mission involves the green movement too and the animal rights movement, the environmental movement. We were one of the first restaurants to do composting, one of the first restaurants to do recycling …

Caryn Hartglass: They compost! Did you hear that?

Joy Pierson: Bart was the first one and not only that he was so generous of heart he went and met with other restaurants, Mario Batali’s Restaurant, and taught them how to do it too. So that they’re more environmental and there also part of the Green Restaurant Association. Kudos to you, Mr. Bart Potenza.

Caryn Hartglass: Woo-Hoo! The Bartman! We need to get you a little cape and have you run around and Saved By Bartman

Bart Potenza: This Halloween I was ObiWan Kenobi. I’ll take that one… May the vegan force be with you.


Caryn Hartglass: And who were you?


Joy Pierson: I was not a Star Wars’ character.


Caryn Hartglass: You weren’t Princess Leia? I could see you rocking that…


Bart Potenza: Our granddaughter Esme, her real name is Leia.


Joy Pierson: Named after Princess Leia, our granddaughter.


Caryn Hartglass: There you go. I printed out a bunch of articles and I can’t find the one that I was looking for but it was just in the New York Times about some children that were fed fruits and vegetables that were in an area, like a food desert or something and just tremendous improvement in their health and well-being. It was just in the New York Times and I can’t find it.


Bart Potenza: I should know that story. We pretty much check that out every day.


Joy Pierson: That is true. We do a lot of work in food deserts. We did a lot of work in Harlem when we first started the coalition at the FLI School (Future Leaders Institute Charter School). Really it’s like, we’ve said it before, the miracles are incredible when these kids change their diet and they’re such advocates for it once they do it.


Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk about the cookbook.


Joy Pierson: OK.


Bart Potenza: Yaa!


Caryn Hartglass: Yaa!


Bart Potenza: What we’re talking about by the way is definitely is an investment in good health because fundamentally all the high medical costs we hear about, the diabetes, the obesity, is really pulling down our society, literally and figuratively in major ways.


Caryn Hartglass: We are talking about a celebration of life.


Bart Potenza: Thank you.


Caryn Hartglass: And why shouldn’t we all be happy and celebrating all the time. We can do it here. We can solve all the world’s problems, period. And be happy doing it. That’s all I’m doing. I’m a messenger of celebrating with plant foods and Bart and Joy are making the access possible here in New York City and everywhere now that you can buy the stuff in the freezer, right? Now you can get cookbooks and make it yourself.


Bart Potenza: Right.


Caryn Hartglass: Because you should find your kitchen and see what magic you can create.


Bart Potenza: As Joy says find your inner chef, as well.


Caryn Hartglass: Ah, find the inner chef once you find your kitchen.


Joy Pierson: And then bring your friends and family. Make it fun. Make it a celebration everywhere Caryn. That is the lesson, isn’t it?


Caryn Hartglass: The book starts with a lovely little quote from Gene Baur who we love from Farm Sanctuary, calling your book “stunning” and then we have some lovely forwards by Alicia Silverstone. I don’t know how many times she says the word “love” in here but I know what she’s talking about. And Woody Harrelson and Laura Harrelson…just dropping a few names but these have been regulars in your restaurants for such a long time.


Bart Potenza: Why not? They spread the word which I like about that.


Joy Pierson: They live the mission and they’ve taught us a lot and as it says in the book we got to really create with them and to share beautiful meals together.


Caryn Hartglass: So what I want to do is…the way I’m going to use this book, and I’ve already started, so when every one of these holidays comes around I want to make at least one recipe in the book. So I started with Thanksgiving because we just had Thanksgiving and I made this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with the almond cream and the spiced pumpkin seeds. It’s lovely. It has a little apple in it that just smooths with the butternut squash. Just a lovely number of flavors that just go so well together, so Thanksgiving and not hard.


Joy Pierson: So excited that you had us at your table. It warms my heart as much as the soup does.


Caryn Hartglass: If we have time I’ll read my Thanksgiving menu later.


Joy Pierson: Oh good.


Caryn Hartglass: We love that. So just going through this, we start with the Super Bowl which is the beginning of the year. I don’t watch football but…it is football, right, the Super Bowl?


Bart Potenza: Yeah. Super Bowl of soup… (all laugh)


Caryn Hartglass: So the recipe I want to point out is the Roasted Poblano Guacamole. Now I love guacamole and there are some people who have tried to make a healthier version like with peas to make it less fattening. OK, that’s fine, but why not add roasted poblano pepper to it? That’s just making it even better.


Joy Pierson: What a deep rich flavor…with the avocado…


Caryn Hartglass: So good. And fat is important, folks.


Bart Potenza: Right.


Caryn Hartglass: Fat shouldn’t have a bad name. Fat needs to come from whole plant foods like avocado and raw nuts and seeds and we need them so we that can absorb those fat soluble nutrients, right Joy?


Joy Pierson: Yes. It’s imperative fat covers every cell and it’s imperative for the health of our bodies.


Caryn Hartglass: There was a study that just came out about Vitamin D. They gave it to two different groups of people and one group had more fat than the other or something like that and the ones who had the fat while taking the Vitamin D absorbed like 25 or 35% per cent more Vitamin D. I’m not making up the numbers. I just don’t remember them exactly but it was significant and fat’s good so enjoy your fat and take it with your Vitamin D.


Bart Potenza: Plant based.


Caryn Hartglass: Wheat Ball Heroes, come on. And the ice cream sandwiches! I mean you’re feeding the inner child in all of us.


Joy Pierson: Yes and sometimes I like to make these with chocolate chip cookies—just put chocolate chips in there.


Caryn Hartglass: Why not?


Joy Pierson: …inner chef…


Caryn Hartglass: We can have it all everybody.


Joy Pierson: You think we get excited about eating.


Caryn Hartglass: We get so excited.


Joy Pierson: I do too.


Caryn Hartglass: I just want to mention Gary was going to come here, my partner Gary, but he didn’t come he’s busy but he wanted me to tell you he loves this cookbook. Just had to remember to say that.


Bart Potenza: Thanks Gary.


Caryn Hartglass: He loves reading cookbooks more than I do. He’s got a handful of them that he just treasures and pulls out every now and then with a cup of tea and just reads them and this is new—his favorite.


Joy Pierson: I was hoping you’d be able to serenade us today.


Caryn Hartglass: Hmmm. Well, who knows?


Bart Potenza: Might be an audio version of the cookbook. Let Gary do the narration.


Caryn Hartglass: Maybe we’ll talk about the Swingin’ Gourmets if we have a moment.


Joy Pierson: I’d love to.


Caryn Hartglass: …and give you an update on that. OK, so we were talking about the movie Chef and there was a mention about how they were insulting their molten chocolate cake in the movie. I don’t know if you remember it?


Bart Potenza: Oh yeah.


Caryn Hartglass: But you have a different version of a molten chocolate cake and I don’t think you can go wrong with this one.


Bart Potenza: Thank you. It’s great.


Caryn Hartglass: It’s just… I want to lick the page.


Joy Pierson: I know, me too.


Bart Potenza: That’s the next book.


Caryn Hartglass: Oh, there’s an idea, scratch ‘n sniff. And that leads right into the Passover Seder. I was raised Jewish. I’m an atheist leaning agnostic. That’s how I like to describe myself but I love traditions. I love holidays. I love traditional foods and I love veganizing all traditional foods.


Joy Pierson: I do too, Caryn.


Caryn Hartglass: And here we go with the Passover Seder. You have everything—the haroseth, the chopped liver, the gefilte tofu and what we’ve really been going nuts about, that we want to make—the brisket.


Joy Pierson: It is so good. It’s my grandmother’s brisket recipe and it is really delicious and look how gorgeous this photograph is.


Caryn Hartglass: It’s stunning. We haven’t made it yet but it will be happening soon.


Joy Pierson: You will absolutely love it. It’s with roasted carrots and shallots and turnips. You take the seitan and you sear it. It’s like amazing. It is literally my grandmother’s recipe that Angel veganized.


Bart Potenza: By the way, a lot of these foods were traditionally meat or chicken or fish, they can all be made into a vegan version, including something like that brisket. The herbs and spices are key, by the way in all of these recipes.


Caryn Hartglass: Oh yes and I’m reading in this one—rosemary, oregano, chives, parsley—yum, yum, yum, paprika, that’s important.


Joy Pierson: And Angel really loves that smoked paprika. Have you ever cooked with it?


Caryn Hartglass: Yes. It makes all the difference. We have tins about this big, about 4 inches by 4 inches, big tins and there are about 50 of them. They are all filled with herbs and spices. I just like to scoop them out and pour them in. None of this pinch of this, pinch of that. Although I want to say in that Roasted Butternut Squash recipe they were minute amounts of spices and I thought “This isn’t enough” but I followed it and it was perfect.


Bart Potenza: Oh good.


Caryn Hartglass: It was enough.


Caryn Hartglass: So the thing about religious holidays. There are good things about religious holidays so I like to focus on the good thing. The Passover holiday for example is the Jews being freed from slavery and we celebrate this freedom. I like to expand on that and say not just that select group of people but all humans and all life on earth. That’s kind of what I like to celebrate during that holiday and shouldn’t we all?


Bart Potenza: Yes.


Caryn Hartglass: So I don’t like to stick to the whole kosher for Passover, wheat thing. Let’s focus on exploitation and freedom and make those foods represent that. So instead of making a brisket out of someone, let’s make it out of something that’s nutritious and delicious and celebrate that.


Joy Pierson: If you do not want to celebrate with wheat on this holiday which some have said they don’t.


Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah.


Joy Pierson: You can use a Portobello mushroom in this recipe, you can really use your own thing but I really wanted to take my tradition because it was a tradition I remember my grandmother making it. I wanted to use it in this chapter however it’s probably better for a different Jewish holiday.


Caryn Hartglass: Oh anytime. Just make it and celebrate.


Bart Potenza: Exactly. Anytime. That’s a good way to put it. Vegan anytime.


Caryn Hartglass: This is all about celebrating.


Joy Pierson: It’s about celebrating every day.


Caryn Hartglass: Every day with good food.


Joy Pierson: Because Caryn, just like we talked about at the beginning of the program, we don’t know what our time is here and we really should enjoy it.


Caryn Hartglass: Yes.


Joy Pierson: We lose sight of that. I lose sight of it too. I need to keep reminding myself. I love to be around you to remind me and the people I love.


Caryn Hartglass: You know I don’t like to think about having cancer but I did. I like to think it wasn’t so terrible actually. I mean I had a horrible kind and a very low survival rate and that’s kind of intense to think about but I only have good memories during that time.


Joy Pierson: Because you made it that way.


Caryn Hartglass: Maybe but I was surrounded by love, like I said, and you told me love heals. We forget, we forget and we get wrapped up. We work a lot and it’s hard and there’s all these different things, money and time and fatigue and we can’t forget. Can’t forget.


JP and Bart Potenza: Can’t forget.


Joy Pierson: Celebrate every day.


Caryn Hartglass: Celebrate every day.


Bart Potenza: Even though we’re part of a really big network of what we’re talking about today you have to give back to yourself, as well, what you just described.


Caryn Hartglass: You have to re-energize. Yes. So let’s move on in this delicious celebration book here.


Bart Potenza: You’ve got to go on to desserts.


Caryn Hartglass: What do you want to talk about, Bart? What’s your favorite in here?


Bart Potenza: I’m always a sucker for anything…I just happened to turn to a page…that uses avocado here right now.


Joy Pierson: The stuffed avocado for Cinco de Mayo has the hemp seeds on it? It is so delicious, again, very simple. See the picture?


Caryn Hartglass: It’s stunning.


Joy Pierson: Stunning. Food porn.


Caryn Hartglass: That’s the other thing about plant food…hello…colors. It’s not gray and dead and boring.


Bart Potenza: Right.


Caryn Hartglass: It’s vibrant and alive.


Bart Potenza: And it’s all available now whether you’re going to local farmer’s markets, going to a Whole Foods or local health food store, the stuff is all available now.


Caryn Hartglass: Okay, red, white and blue shortcake.


Joy Pierson: Come on, this is 4th of July. And 4th of July, I love barbecues. I really love the whole idea of it and the flavor profiles and the barbecue sauces and the grilled corns. Really what we did is make such a fun chapter. We did Mojo de Ajo Seitan which is a garlic seitan, Grilled Corn on the Cob.


Caryn Hartglass: And grilled fruit, you have those peaches.


Joy Pierson: Peaches!


Caryn Hartglass: Where do you get good peaches from, by the way? Do you know?


Bart Potenza: Late summer probably come from up state too.


Caryn Hartglass: It’s hard to find good peaches these days. I remember peaches in the ‘70s when I went to college in Pennsylvania and they were phenomenal and I haven’t been able to really find…


Joy Pierson: I’m going to find one for you this summer.


Bart Potenza: That’ll be another show though. There is a dilution though with the droughts on the West Coast and all.


Caryn Hartglass: Meat eaters like to claim the barbecue and the barbecue holidays, barbecuing vegetables is so much more fun, so much more delicious.


Bart Potenza: Delicious.


Caryn Hartglass: There are so many things we can put on the barbie, so many more things.


Joy Pierson: So many things.


Caryn Hartglass: OK we have our vegan hot dogs and burgers but it’s the corn, like you said, pepper, watermelon, peaches, it’s crazy.


Joy Pierson: There’s a watermelon drink in the background here. We did gazpacho shooters for this chapter.


Caryn Hartglass: I love those.


Joy Pierson: We did a bruschetta with white beans, tomatoes and olives. It’s just crazy exciting.


Caryn Hartglass: Can you stand all this talking about all this delicious food?


Joy Pierson: I love this. 1776, that’s the drink in the background. It has American whiskey in it, then it has fresh lime juice, agave nectar, fresh watermelon juice and cilantro.


Caryn Hartglass: Don’t think that vegans don’t know how to drink because we could probably drink you under the table.


Bart Potenza: That’s right. As Joy would say there’s no sacrifice in eating this way. It’s pure pleasure.


Caryn Hartglass: And you locally source things from time to time? I notice you had a Brooklyn gin in one of your drinks?


Joy Pierson: Oh did we have fun. We took the whole staff to the Brooklyn Gin Mill. At 9 in the morning they were drinking gin. It was really exciting. It’s all organic. It’s a small purveyor, Gin Smiths. Really exciting and we put it in beverages. They also make a beach plum gin which is made with beach plums that are also wildly grown.


Caryn Hartglass: It’s one of the things we don’t talk about enough when we talk about food, and I talk about food on It’s All About Food all the time, but alcohol and the companies that make our alcoholic beverages is something we need to know about because there’s a monopoly now. The major beer producers—there’s just a handful of them. They own like all of them. That’s why we really need to support these local small artisanal breweries and distilleries.

Joy Pierson: Which is what we do. You should really come see our bar Eco-bar, Candle Cafe West right up here and it’s amazing with all the organic juices and chia seeds, chia frescas. You can add alcohol to any drink.

Caryn Hartglass: Do you still have the happy hour at Candle West?

Joy Pierson: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: You had an organic beer at happy hour that was amazing.

Bart Potenza: There’s usually a big variety of beers in all of the restaurants.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes. Very nice.

Joy Pierson: It’s so nice what you’re saying is that you get to support local people really working hard to source organic to use the best quality of what they’re using. The Gin Smith is a good example. They were so kind to us the way they took us to a tour, showed us the equipment and everything. It’s very nice to be in a community of supporting local people doing the right thing.

Caryn Hartglass: Community…community.

Bart Potenza: Yes, right and sourcing it all. Since we’re a kind of network we’re always sharing information even as we are here today, of course. When we meet one farmer somehow that one farmer becomes five farmers through the years because he or she will tell us about someone, “oh yeah try that guy, he’s got a great tomato crop this year.” We have someone who does only mushrooms so there’s like specialists within the growing community, too.

Caryn Hartglass: You know this community is important because we don’t just get delicious food and good quality food but I think when we’re more involved with the community we can help those who don’t have as well and take care of them a lot better. I don’t know if you heard this but I just want to mention this because, I don’t know, it bugs me. A couple weeks ago there was the Second International Conference on Nutrition in Rome. Did you hear about it?

Joy Pierson: No.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay it was put on by the Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization. It was their second in 22 years. The last one was 22 years ago and the sad thing is—nothing’s happened.

Bart Potenza: Oh my word.

Caryn Hartglass: The Second International Conference on Nutrition and they’re trying to eliminate hunger and they have like…how many countries?…over a hundred some odd government organizations, all kinds… I think they just wanted to get together in Rome and have some good food and I’m wondering what they served.

Joy Pierson: An organic wine?

Caryn Hartglass: I’m wondering was the food that they served really even in line with what they’re saying their mission is.

Joy Pierson: That’s really interesting too, Caryn. We’ve been to a lot of socially responsible events where they have no idea that the food is one of the most socially responsible things you can do. That is really responsible to eat a vegan plant-based diet and people don’t really make that connection, especially some of these big organizations. I think it’s really important that we keep speaking up and keep saying, “This is the way to heal the world, heal ourselves.”

Caryn Hartglass: And you’ve always been very generous to different organizations providing food for some events.

Joy Pierson: We do. Also we feed the homeless every Monday with All Souls Church.

Caryn Hartglass: What do you feed them?

Joy Pierson: There’s a vegan actually at the church…

Bart Potenza: There’s a local church that carries…Candle 79.

Caryn Hartglass: What do they get?

Joy Pierson: Whatever the leftovers are. They get great food. Actually it’s even catching on in the homeless shelter, like more and more people wanting to eat our food. And that makes me really, really, really happy. Any way that we can get good quality plant-based foods in everybody because it had such a profound impact on my life that I feel that it’s my responsibility to keep sharing it with people. And I love it.

Bart Potenza: She does. She really does.

Caryn Hartglass: So you have these three restaurants and you’ve got the frozen foods out, is there something else going on up your sleeves?

Joy Pierson: Something cooking?

Caryn Hartglass: Something cooking?

Joy Pierson: Every night at The Candles we have something cooking and we’re only as good as our last meal, we keep telling each other too.

Bart Potenza: Let me know how many radio slots are available. Good morning, vegans.

Joy Pierson: And he wants to do a show with you.

Caryn Hartglass: There we go. We should have an all vegan station, right?

Joy Pierson: Oh would he love that.

Bart Potenza: There’s so many categories within what we’re talking about today. We covered a lot.

Joy Pierson: And Caryn we have to acknowledge you because really this is so important to get this message out to people and you do it with such love and such respect…

Caryn Hartglass: You know I started this show listing three things that I’m grateful for. I just want to repeat that when you’re looking at the light instead of looking at the dark—and I know New Yorkers have a way of complaining, there was even an article in the New York Times about how good it is that we complain and we’re not unhappy because happiness and complaining aren’t the same…I don’t know about that but I think it’s better to be focusing on everything that’s good rather than complaining, personally. It makes me feel better. That’s the point. And everybody coming into your restaurant has to feel good.

Bart Potenza: We collect comment cards. We literally have shopping bags full of them and some of the things that people say are quite extraordinary. I had a headache all day and I came into your place and the headache was gone. One guy said recently, “I want your food served at my funeral.” There’s a radio show around those cards, believe me.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s good.

Bart Potenza: And happily we’re on a lot of websites too. There’s a lot of people coming in from literally all over the world. The pleasure of being in New York City we do have that dynamic. We happen to be looking at cards this morning—United Kingdom, Ireland—you know we get all going on.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m sure you get people who travel here just to go to your restaurant.

Bart Potenza: Others too, we’re not the only one, but mostly us.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, but one of the last things I wanted to mention—I don’t know if you read about this one—here in New York fast food companies have to list the calories and a little bit of nutrition on their menus and now that’s going federal which is kind of an interesting thing. Fortunately, you won’t have to do that. You have three restaurants but it’s not considered a chain, right?

Bart Potenza: The chains have to do it, yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m just really fascinated by this. I suppose if you were eating at fast food it’s a good thing. My personal experience, I ate at Le Pain Quotidien, which is a chain I guess because they listed calories. For me it kind of threw me for a loop because I don’t think about calories ever.

Bart Potenza: We don’t either.

Caryn Hartglass: I just eat what I want. Then I was thrown because I had these different items and they all had different calories, like 400, 600 and I started thinking “maybe I want to get more calories for my dollar”. I started thinking calories per dollar.

Bart Potenza: Fabulous.

Caryn Hartglass: Because I knew they weren’t going to be empty calories which is different than when you’re at fast food places.

Joy Pierson: It’s a whole other calorie consciousness.

Caryn Hartglass: But maybe we should be…it’s all screwed up. Maybe we should have nutrition per dollar listed on a label.

Joy Pierson: Interesting. It’s like the ANDI scores at Whole Foods Market. It’s sort of nutrient density as opposed to…

Caryn Hartglass: But there’s no ideal score with this just yet and that’s part of the problem.

Bart Potenza: We get asked the calorie questions fairly often but the main thing we can do is represent that this vegan/organic food keeps your body in great shape.

Caryn Hartglass: Think about calories

Joy Pierson: It’s the quality of the calories to say that it goes to all the right places and it’s a good quality calorie.

Caryn Hartglass: There you go.

Bart Potenza: It’s good for the tummy too. That’s how health begins.

Caryn Hartglass: I want to eat what you brought me.

Joy Pierson: I have more in the bag too. I have a black bean soup and a cauliflower and potato soup with truffle oil.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay who’s jealous raise your hand.

Joy Pierson: Come on over. Dig in.

Caryn Hartglass: Or get this book—Vegan Holiday Cooking—I wish I could show it to you but if you go to or if you go to you can see this…

Bart Potenza: All three restaurants have it.

Caryn Hartglass: All three restaurants have it. You have to go in and eat at the restaurants and make this food on your own. It’s just such a stunning, wonderful celebration. Yee haw!

Joy Pierson: Yea!

Caryn Hartglass: Thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food everybody and remember have a very delicious week.

Transcribed by Deanne Vaughn 2/2/2015 and Suzanne Kelly 7/4/2015

  1 comment for “Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza, Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe

  1. Great fresh nutrient dense flavors….mmmmmm;
    Thanks Caryn! Always great and inspiriting information.
    Thanks, all, for great food ideas;
    Home cooking, hard to beat, but it is great there are restaurants like Candle.
    Restaurants are tough to make last.
    Food = Love; Love = Food…./Gratitude;
    Investment… good health;
    Celebration of life!!!! Yes!!!!!! Happy Dance.
    Looking to discover my “Inner Chef”;
    Yum, Yum, Yum………;
    Social Responsibility!!!!!!
    Thanks for the enthusiasm!!!!!

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