How can you tell if you’re hanging out with a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

I stopped eating eggs on a regular basis when i was about 11 years old. I would still eat them occasionally, depending on what else was around, but the explanation of what they were really grossed me out. Eggs, be they from a chicken, alligator or human sound like nothing I want in my mouth. I still ate a lot of desserts though.

I went vegetarian in 1998. The girl I was dating at the time was veggie and all my favorite bands were veggie and vegan and about a third of my friends were not eating meat, so why not? Plus Taco Bell and The New Ho King are delicious.

I went vegan in 2001. The last thing I ate on purpose that wasn’t vegan was a krispy kreme donut. I worked at 102.1 The Edge and they were dropping off three dozen every morning and I had pretty much been vegan for weeks/months leading up to that point, but have you ever had a Krispy Kreme? They are delicious.

Then I started working with Underground Operations and we were all political and vegetarian and vegan (except for Stacey) but we drank a bunch and were too broke to afford decent meat and cheese anyway. Tour diets were made up almost entirely of cold cans of refried beans on crappy tortillas and spaghetti with tomato sauce. Plus blueberry bagels from Tim Horton’s are delicious (though questionably vegan).

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Then in 2006 I started working at The Drake and when you start there you train as a food runner, a busser and a bar back. I excelled at bar backing but would still occasionally have food running shifts, until the brunch crew realized that my adult hands had never cracked an egg. So the extra set of hands during busy brunch services was useless and that’s how I got sent to just straight bar back shifts. Now that you know this, watch me make bourbon sours, it’s hilarious.

Since the Drake, I have worked at hotel in Vancouver (around the corner from Steamrollers), Savoy (curry all the time), Campagnolo (troughs…look at my twitter photos), Gwai Lo (asians love alternate forms of protein) and now Rock Lobster (jerk spice on macaroni noodles, why not? Also Hawker Bar is like 67 steps away and their Lahksa Lemak is amazing) and my being vegan has never really gotten in the way of what I do. I am not the kind of vegan to get in anyone’s face about it. One night at Campagnolo I helped the kitchen out by prepping buffalo heart spiedini. At Rock Lobster I shuck oysters and split lobster tails. I have still never tasted a caesar in my life.

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The reasoning behind being vegan in the first place was that there are some issues with the planet. Starvation, lack of water, fuel costs, etc… So you’ve got all this land in the world dedicated to farming grain, then you feed that grain to livestock, then you feed that livestock to people. Along with all the waste of water and fuel and soil that goes along with all those processes, it just seems…wasteful. So why not just grow grains, and feed them to people? All people.

“What about the farmers?” Right? Well, how’s the price of pork been going for the past ten years? And beef? And isn’t there an issue with horse meat in everyone’s burgers right now? So maybe the farmers need to rethink their methods and livelihood. I went to school to learn how to run a  radio station, now I order liquor once a week. I know I’m just one guy and the opportunities presented to me are much different than some guy my age from say Carstairs but we live in a world where adaptability is a mandatory trait.

Anyway, what I wanted to get at was that I’m not calling myself vegan anymore. I plan on spending the rest of my life traveling, and I can’t expect to go to some taco stand in rural Mexico and get tabbouleh. Or walk into a cafe just outside Addis Ababa and get a slice of banana bread that contains no egg, butter or whatever (or banana bread at all). This doesn’t mean that I am going to start eating exclusively at Beast or that I won’t be calling Cory at The Harbord Room before I go in to let him know I’m coming and will be eating vegan (this is a topic for a different post, but it drives me nuts when people assume that chefs will cater to specific diets, even though it flies in the face of what they do as a chef, in the case of The Harbord Room, vegan isn’t that much of a stretch for them and they do it well for me every time I’ve ever been there). I’m still going to Hot Beans as my first choice for burritos in the city and when I go to cities like New York or Portland I’m going to hunt down the vegan joints and I’ll probably stock my hotel room with hummus and almond milk.

The truth is, in the past 6 months or so I have occasionaly sipped drinks with egg white, finished plates of food that my friends were done with that had cheese or whatever on them and at a sherry tasting last November I ate a piece of sausage that was supposed to be the best thing in the city and I thought it tasted like the tofurky things that I bring to every bbq i go to…and I don’t even like them that much.

I am just trying to be respectful of my surroundings and the people in them and the planet in general. So maybe I’m selling out, but all the bands and friends did that forever ago.