Question of the Day

Meatless Mondays inspires vegetarian ideas for chefs.

Chefs encourage the idea of eating all things in moderation, though not all are on board with the Meatless Mondays agenda. Some urge diners to avoid the concept and support sustainable meat, others simply insist on some meat as a way to stay energized, and others go meatless a few days a week to stay healthy.

Susan Goss's Profile Photo Susan Goss
Executive Chef/Owner

Chicago, IL

We have lots of options for people who don’t wish to eat meat but I will not add my restaurant, or my name to a group I do not belong to and do not know much about. Meatless Mondays is gaining a reputation because it rolls off the tongue more easily than, say, Meatless Sundays. While the argument about healthy eating is for another post, a big plate of white flour pasta is not necessarily healthier than a grilled piece of fish. If you are talking food politics, then let’s not forget to talk about agribusinesses that are depleting the soil of all its nutrients and relying on petroleum-based fertilizers. Besides, we make a lot of people really happy with our Fried Chicken Mondays and I wouldn’t want to change that.


Answers from other users

Craig Harzewski's Profile Photo Craig Harzewski
Pastry Chef
NAHA and Brindille
Chicago, IL

Due to my athletic endeavors, I do not follow any meatless guideline. I
have to take in extra protein often and cycle my diet around my training.
If I was to give anything up, it would be the very basis of my
employment...refined sugar and flour. Those things in moderation are fine,
but left to my own devices, I could certainly put away a loaf of bread with
a slab of good salted butter in a single sitting.

Shin Thompson's Profile Photo Shin Thompson

Chicago, IL

Never heard of Meatless Mondays. I say the more meat the better!

Jonathon Sawyer's Profile Photo Jonathon Sawyer
Executive Chef/Owner
The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat
Cleveland, OH

We don't have a specific meatless day, but we do create a different
vegetarian special every day at Noodlecat. Today's is a lemon ginger dashi
udon stirfry (photos coming soon...)

Melissa Trimmer's Profile Photo Melissa Trimmer

Chicago, Illinois

Funny you should mention this, my family goes meatless a few times a week just to stay healthy. I’ve been quoted recently in the Sun Times regarding meatless Mondays:

Matt Danko's Profile Photo Matt Danko
Pastry Chef
The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat
Cleveland, OH

Greenhouse Tavern doesn't have a specific meatless day, but about 1/3 our
menu is vegan/vegetarian, and we can modify most dishes to be gluten free
as well. At home, we recently subscribed to a CSA from The Chefs Garden and
really want to live a mostly veggie lifestyle at least through the summer.
I think it really makes you appreciate food as you enjoy things with the
seasons, and fresh local veggies are a great way to do that.

Paul Fehribach's Profile Photo Paul Fehribach
Executive Chef/Owner
Big Jones
Chicago, IL

I'm always careful to set a place at my table for vegetarians, but I believe very strongly that this Meatless Mondays thing is horribly misguided and off base. They are driving an agenda that promotes a vegetarian diet as healthier for your body and better for the environment, and the evidence they cite is misguided and misconstrued. Of course modern industrial meat production is a disaster, but they're building a straw man by making the animal-based food the bad guy and not looking at the growing methods. It's a classic false choice scenario. Truth is, modern grain and vegetable production is a disaster also, though perhaps (even as the evidence isn't all in) less destructive than the production methods for industrial meat. Speaking personally, I was a vegetarian for years and a vegan for one, and I can say without pause that I feel better as an omnivore, I'm stronger, more alert, and if you want to talk numbers, my cholesterol levels and all other bloodwork has improved markedly on a holistic, omnivorous diet. I am a walking contradiction of their claims that a vegetarian diet is healthier, and I'll continue to tell my own story in that regard. If they want to improve human health and reduce our resource consumption to promote a healthier environment, and better animal welfare, they would stop their incessant bleating about need to "go veg" and instead work to promote something more realistic - good, pasture-based animal husbandry, and to emphasize whole animal cooking. Whole animals are like whole grains - eating the whole provides health benefits you don't get by eating only a part. Healthy, well-managed pasture is an effective sink for greenhouse gasses, and farm animals can actually improve marginal land on a well-managed farm. There are plants and funghi underground that you don't see in pasture, tons and tons of carbon sequestration per acre of well-managed pasture. A modern industrial grain farm is an industrial wasteland, dead soil upon which no living thing grows most of the year. Couple that with the fossil-fuel intensive production method and you have a greenhouse explosion in a corn field. Pastured animals harvest their own food and contribute to a living, breathing organism that is a healthy farm. Look, if someone doesn't want to eat meat for whatever personal reasons they have, I'm supportive of that because I respect people's individuality and I was there once myself. I've been a vegetarian and a vegan and count many of such folks as dear friends and they always have a place at my table. But let's call a spade a spade and all be honest with each other. It's possible to go both ways as a conscientious global citizen and to use fragmented and specious arguments to promote an agenda isn't productive to the ends we all want to achieve, which is a healthier food system for our bodies and our planet.

David  Katz's Profile Photo David Katz
Executive Chef/Owner

Philadelphia, PA

I've never heard of Meatless Mondays and it sounds like an utter nightmare. I would NEVER dedicate any day of the week to meatless.

Jill Barron's Profile Photo Jill Barron
Executive Chef/Owner
MANA food bar
Chicago, IL

Mana is meatless seven days a week!