Encinitas Chef Participates in TV’s First-Ever Vegan Cooking Contest

Sandra Hurtault of Encinitas is a one-of-a-kind French vegan chef, creating gourmet cuisine made without meat or any animal by-products.

The plant-based Parisian runs Ma Table Végane, a private chef, catering and event management service focused on high-quality, organic and expertly crafted vegan foods. Since 2021, she has been offering her private vegan dining experiences, meal prep, larger events, classes and more.

Recently, Hurtault participated in the first and only 100% vegan cooking competition show in the United States, “Peeled”. The show will premiere September 24 at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles, a red carpet event that will include vegan celebrities, activities and changemakers. After the premiere, the show will air on Unchained TV, a channel known for its animal rights content.

Sandra Hurtault, Chief of Encinitas.

(Courtesy of Sandra Hurtault)

Hurtault has been a vegan for seven years. Her health really launched her on the journey, driven by her fitness routine, finding a plant-based diet to be best for her recovery and performance. She also appreciated that environmental impacts and animal welfare are at the heart of veganism.

“I was and still am of the belief that this is the healthiest, most compassionate lifestyle anyone could choose,” she said. “While my meals were initially very simple and lacking in nutritional balance, over time I learned to adapt my cooking skills to create incredibly tasty and nutritionally balanced foods.”

But… a French woman who doesn’t eat cheese? It’s incredible !

“If I can do it, anyone can,” Hurtault said. “I make a beautiful vegan cheese made from nuts.” She worked with an artisan vegan cheesemaker and created camembert and blue cheese that even fooled her French father.

Before becoming a chef, Hurtault worked internationally in finance and real estate. Life was hectic and she was always on the move.

“I was happy to be successful at a young age and was grateful for the opportunities, but I’m a creative at heart,” said Hurtault, who has been cooking since she was 8.

Born and raised in Paris, she grew up surrounded by cooks in the kitchen. “My mother was a great cook,” says Hurtault, whose grandfather was also trained at Le Cordon Bleu school. In Paris, the focus has always been on making everything from scratch, the freshest ingredients picked from the garden or the farmer’s market.

Stuffed tomato served on a bed of wild rice with tomato bisque and fresh parsley.

Stuffed tomato served on a bed of wild rice with tomato bisque and fresh parsley.

(Courtesy of Sandra Hurtault)

Hurtault came to San Diego in 2010 to learn English with a friend who was in an au pair program. She learned English and got her MBA and was quickly hired by a financial market start-up in La Jolla. She rose through the ranks and became a country manager at 24. She lived in Dubai, China and New Zealand before returning to California in 2017 and opening her own business, a housing company which she ran for four years.

As Hurtault is in America on an entrepreneur visa, during the pandemic she was unable to leave the country due to the travel ban and was unable to see her family for two years. She was able to reflect on her career goals during the quiet time of these quarantine days.

“I had more time to rethink my priorities,” Hurtault said. “I was 35, maybe it was time to do what I love to do.”

At the time, she mainly cooked for herself and her husband, who has been a vegan fitness trainer and nutritionist for 30 years. In 2021, she decided to create an Instagram account for Ma Table Végane, exhibiting her creations and offering her services as a chef at home.

Her diet showcases her rustic, elegant and well-balanced organic dishes: acorn and butternut squash risotto with tofu lardons, stuffed zucchini flowers and candied kumquat micro-mustard leaves and gluten-free donuts baked in chocolate black. “Vegan art is what this company stands for,” Hurtault said.

As a personal chef, his dishes are inspired by his French and European heritage as well as his travels around the world. She can adapt to any type of occasion and lifestyle and is comfortable accommodating the wide range of nutritional needs and allergic restrictions of her clients. She prides herself on being knowledgeable about vegan nutrition and loves to cook exclusively with organic/pesticide-free whole foods and minimally processed ingredients – she works with homemade vegan butter and nut milk, all made from zero.

“I love making gnocchi with a cashew butter cream sauce and adding morels and porcini mushrooms,” Hurtault said. She makes a strawberry tart with a shortbread crust and a creamy egg custard that everyone is shocked to find out is vegan.

She has low-key celebrity clients for her meal preparation and private catering services. “I have never left a home without happy faces,” she said.

Every month, Ma Table Végane also organizes an event called the Vegan Boss Lady’s Dinner. A small group of women from local sustainable businesses come together to network and enjoy a three-course vegan feast with all proceeds going to Amma.org, supporting the charitable activities of Indian spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi.

A private dinner with Ma Table Végane.

A private dinner with Ma Table Végane.

(Courtesy of Sandra Hurtault.)

Through her Instagram, Hurtault was contacted by a VKind Studios producer who was launching a new vegan cooking show in Las Vegas. Hurtault was shocked that she reached out because it was just when she was debuting with Ma Table Végane, but the producer was intrigued by her unique approach: “You don’t see a lot of French vegan food because it’s It’s very hard to do,” she said.

Hurtault immediately said yes to the opportunity to appear on the show. Filmed in Vegas, she took on three other chefs in a competition with challenges with elements similar to shows like “Top Chef” and “Chopped.” In each episode, the cheftestants are either named the hottest vegan chef or “peeled” into the compost.

The show’s hosts are Dr. Shabnam Islam, a health and fitness industry leader, and Babette Davis, who Hurtault called a “71-year-old firecracker.” Davis is an accomplished raw and vegan chef, restaurant owner and motivational speaker. The judges featured on “Peeled” represent a diverse panel of celebrity chefs, vegan enthusiasts and plant-based industry experts, including “Hell’s Kitchen” season 20 chef Josie Clemens and Dr. Miles Woodruff, the CEO of Sophie’s Kitchen, the best-selling seafood alternative. .

All contestants play for charity. “It demonstrated the compassionate aspect of veganism, so it was lovely,” Hurtault said.

Hurtault said she was impressed with the quality of the filming, even though it was a new show. She said they took great care of the casting and it was a lot of fun. She has to keep a low-key voice about the winner of “Peeled,” but she’s excited everyone can stream it this fall.

With pandemic travel restrictions lifted, Hurtault was able to return to France, most recently last month. She has traveled across Paris, Bordeaux, Armagnac, Cognac and Brittany to glean inspiration to incorporate into her cooking and include in new recipes for the enjoyment of her customers.

Living her life now as a professional vegan chef, she doesn’t miss her career in finance, in fact she doesn’t even think about it – it was like a different world of stress and anxiety.

“Now I only see happiness and joy and feel much more comfortable in this world,” she said.

Discover Hurtault creations on Instagram.com/matablevegane or matablevegane.com. To learn more about “Peeled”, visit peeledshow.com.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: