The Vegetarian Chef


179 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-19-540487-4




Reviewed by Ann Tudor

Ann Tudor was the former Managing Editor of Canadian Book Review Annual and had her own Toronto-based crafts company, Honest Threads.


David Cohlmeyer has a way with vegetarian cooking. He writes a column on the topic for the Globe and Mail, he was owner-chef of the Beggar’s Banquet in Toronto for several years, and he is a teacher of cooking and runs a vegetarian catering service in Toronto.

The Vegetarian Chef is a collection of recipes from his Globe and Mail column. Arrangement is by season, with some twenty menus (with recipes) given for each season. This somewhat haphazard arrangement is redeemed by a good index, but the randomness of the arrangement makes for uncomfortable browsing. (A further hindrance to browsing is the layout of the recipes on the page; better editorial help would certainly have improved the book.)

The recipes are not simple. This is definitely not a book to pick up at 5:30 and skim for ideas. But the cook who plans ahead will be rewarded: the potato moussaka is better than any lamb version (and its topping of yogurt, egg yolks, and grated Kasseri cheese can be adapted for use in other recipes). The chickpea pâté is well worth the trouble and is a great addition to a holiday table. And the falafels, which can be baked rather than fried, are great for low-fat diets.

What David Cohlmeyer does best is apply his fertile imagination to the problem of creating stimulating meals without meat. His recipes are enticing and imaginative. The book, however, has errors, which presumably crept in during the typesetting process. The recipe for zucchini patties omits a line or two, with the result that the zucchini itself is never mentioned. The directions for the mustard dip on page 7 don’t tally with the list of ingredients for it. And the drawing for the wire cheese holder (page 90, Raclette Picnic) is misleading.

Anyone who cooks vegetarian meals, whether on a day-to-day basis or just a couple of times a week, will welcome Cohlmeyer’s ingenious approach to the subject.


Cohlmeyer, David, “The Vegetarian Chef,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,