Chef Troy Gardner
Interviewed by Erica Mestyanek
Troy Gardner is a former rock band musician and realtor turned chef. This now veteran chef has traveled through Europe to help develop cooking techniques and the ability to create unique flavors to enhance his American cuisines. His passion for living a cruelty free lifestyle and maintaining sustainability sets him apart from other restaurants.
How did VEats come to be?
I have prepared vegan and vegetarian dishes for years. One of my passions is taking on the challenge of re-creating meals with animal products and making them into vegan or vegetarian dishes. I realized when I owned my previous restaurant, Samson’s, that 40% of my customers were vegan so I decided to move forward and open an all vegan restaurant.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
We do a great deal of sourcing from Fresh Point in Addison and they are really big on trying to get local farmers within a 100 mile radius. We get some of our herbs and micro grains from a local grower that actually grows them indoors right around the corner from us. If we can get our products organic, we do. Everything is non GMO across the board with our menu.
What sets your restaurant apart from others?
I knew going into this, most of our customers would be vegan, but I also tailor the menu to non-vegans and carnivores. My hope is that we can help reduce the amount of meat in their diet and be able to enjoy our dishes without realize they’re missing it. Along with the vegan lifestyle, we are always pushing a certain amount of sustainability. All of our tableware is compostable as well as our straws, cups, and our to-go boxes. We also make virtually everything in house from our sauces to our cheeses. We don’t have a microwave on site and we frequently misplace our can opener because we rarely use it.
How long have you been a vegan?
I am not a vegan. I live a cruelty free lifestyle and I eat vegan most of the time, but sometimes partake in non-vegan items so for the sheer sake of making sure I get the taste spot on. It’s important for me to make an amazing product and if I am trying to get people in who aren’t vegan, I need to make sure I know what things taste like so I can replicate it as best as possible.