Daphne Cheng - New York

Daphne Cheng is a classically trained chef, but considers herself largely self-taught. The pioneer in haute, plant-based cuisine challenges the status quo, believing that vegetables can be the centerpiece of a meal. With her hyper-sensitive palate and creative vision, she focuses the culinary spotlight on seasonal, fresh vegetables, juxtaposing ingredients and flavors in a style she calls “ethnically ambiguous.” Cheng’s journey is an unusual one: As a teenager, she suffered from anorexia nervosa and ate barely 500 calories a day. She gradually overcame the disorder through playing in the kitchen and reading about healthful eating, and now has a deep respect for food. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, for a year before committing to her culinary dreams and attending Natural Gourmet Institute in New York instead. She is certified in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University. Shortly after graduation in 2010, Cheng launched her own catering company and has since cooked for individuals, companies, nonprofits and celebrities including fashion designers Vera Wang and John Bartlett, artist Peter Max, actor Alec Baldwin and actress Lea Michele. Learn more at her website Daphne Cheng.

MY PROCESS: “Constant experimentation and evolution. Ignore all voices but your own.”

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