Lakeside Grill Expands Vegan Menu

adelle-labrecqueBY ADELLE LaBRECQUE
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

Graydon Mashburn, full-time chef for The University of Alaska Southeast’s Lakeside Grill, has created numerous vegan and vegetarian recipes for the growing menu offered to the UAS community.

According to Mashburn, who sat down for an interview at the Lakeside Grill Feb. 21, there are roughly a dozen vegans and vegetarians who eat at the Lakeside Grill regularly. With the recent attention to food trends in America, it’s not surprising that students and faculty would be interested in, and appreciative of, the growing list of healthy  vegan and vegetarian options available on-campus. There are noticeable movements in the food markets, such as the high demand for natural and organic foods, non-GMO foods and ingredients, as well as gluten-free options that the Lakeside Grill is paying attention to.

“On average, most of the vegans I know make their own food,” he said.

Vegan and vegetarian options made available on-campus may mean less work for many students.

In my own experience, (though I do enjoy cooking), having little to no vegan options available when going out to eat is—by far—the largest ongoing inconvenience of the vegan lifestyle. For example, at any catering event, it is simply a realistic expectation to eat only crackers, cold vegetables, and sliced fruit. There are moments where I reach my maximum capacity in my tolerance of plain, sliced vegetables.

According to Mashburn, however, if you ask for it, he can more than likely accommodate what you are looking to try.

“If it’s a meat-based recipe, it can almost always be made into a vegan recipe by substituting  various items,” he said.

For example, one student who regularly eats at the Lakeside Grill has a favorite recipe he created called the “Vegan BLT” using homemade vegan mayo and sun dried tomato as a bacon substitute.

“If you ask me I can usually make just about anything. On any given day, there’s at least one vegan main [hot dish] available.”

And it’s not only the vegans who are giving feedback. Many students who taste test the ongoing vegan specials and recipes are, as Mashburn referred to them, ‘the carnivores.’ Although many people are somewhat resistant to eating vegan recipes because of stigmas surrounding their ingredients, there has been positive feedback surrounding the recipes.

“It’s important that everyone can enjoy them,” Mashburn said.

“Even those do who eat meat and dairy. If it’s going to be made vegan, it has to be good, not like cardboard.”

As a fellow vegan for almost four years now, I have tried countless recipes and experimented with a large variety of new foods, and there are some premade foods on the markets that fit into this category.

I was greatly impressed at the creative options available on-campus. In fact, Mashburn is also to credit for creating the entire Vegan Menu for our most recent on-campus Thanksgiving.

“The only things I haven’t been able to make homemade are vegan cheeses, so we bought some. Making them from scratch is just too time consuming and expensive,” Mashburn said.

In short, whether you’re curious to try a new recipe, craving something new, all you need do is ask.

“I’m glad to be able to offer vegan options. I get treated like family, [here] so I treat others like family.”

Below is a list of vegan recipes that are currently available, (or can be made upon request), at the Lakeside Grill:

Vegan Hot Meals:
Vegan Chicken Strips, Vegan Fajitas, Vegan Pot Stickers, Vegan Lasagna, Vegan Spaghetti Sauce, Vegan Mashed Potatoes, Vegan Rueben, Vegan BLT, Vegan Hawaiian Burger with Pineapple, Ongoing Vegan-Friendly Specials

Vegan Cheeses:
Tofu-based cheese, Nut-based cheese

Homemade Vegan Condiments:
Vegan Mayo, Vegan Ranch, Vegan Thousand Island, Vegan Honey Mustard

The key, according to Mashburn: “all you gotta do is ask.”

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