10 Questions: Vegan Foodie with Louisville Vegan Jerky Company’s Stanley Chase III
With a product line that includes robust flavors such as Smoked Black Pepper, Smoked Chipotle, Perfect Pepperoni, Smoky Carolina BBQ, and Maple Bacon as well as an assortment of meaty toppings and bits, Louisville Vegan Jerky Company keeps animal and umami-lovers well stocked in delicious foods that do not sacrifice an iota of flavor. Founder Stanley Chase III is as committed to a more compassionate world as he is developing savory, satisfying vegan foods for every palate that can easily replace the slaughtered stuff. It is a delight to see his company doing so while sticking to their morals. Pick up some tasty jerky today using their store locator or treat yourself to their fun Jerky of the Month Club, where you’ll get some of their classic flavors as well as a small batch jerky just for club enrollees, and know that $1.00 from each subscription goes to an animal sanctuary. You can also check out Stanley’s food beyond jerky if you’re ever at his restaurant, Morels Café in Louisville. We are honored to feature Stanley Chase III of the Louisville Vegan Jerky Company as this week’s vegan foodie.
1. How did you start down this path of creating delicious food? Was a love for food nurtured into you? Did you have any special relatives or mentors who helped to instill this passion?
I had never really cooked much, but started cooking more when I stopped eating meat. My father is a chef, but I never really took interest in cooking myself until this point. I dove in head first though. By the time I was 25 I was running a vegan food blog and shortly after working at a vegan restaurant in Philadelphia.
2. What was your diet like when you were growing up? Did you have any favorite meals or meal traditions? Do you carry them over today?
Growing up my mother and father both loved to cook. Mom had a bunch of recipes her family had passed down to her, my father competed in chili cook-offs a lot. I would say there wasn’t a lot off the table, my brothers and I had pretty adventurous palates. Most of my cooking began with calling my parents and saying, “Hey how’d you used to make that teriyaki chicken we grew up with?” I veganized all the things I grew up eating.
3. It’s late at night and you just got home: What is your favorite quick and simple vegan meal?
I go through a lot of phases. A few months ago I was making tons and tons of pizza. Right now I’m pretty obsessed with mac & cheese. There’s a competition coming up this fall here in Louisville that I’m sure I’ll be the only vegan participating, but I wanna win! Also I make quick ramen a lot, so I always have porcini powder on hand and lots of noodles in my pantry.
4. If you could prepare one meal or dessert for anyone living or dead, who would it be for and what would you create?
I would love to make a meal for legendary chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I spent countless nights a decade ago swimming through her recipe books and her website forum The Post Punk Kitchen. And I would just love to hang with her.
5. What do you think are common mistakes in vegan cooking and how do you avoid them?
A lot of people, well intentioned, have no clue what they’re doing with tofu. I cringe seeing popular food bloggers/Instagrammers that gloss over the art of properly searing tofu. I have two brands I cook with, and I’ve learned everything I know about patience through cooking with tofu.
I even named my dog tofu.
6. What ingredients are you especially excited about at the moment? Also, what ingredients do you always like to have on hand?
I’m really into fermentation right now. I have disavowed any other pickle on this planet other than Bubbies brand. I love kimchi, gochujang, kombucha….I love it all. I keep a lot of garlic salt on hand, as well as weird hot sauces.
7. What are your top three cuisines from around the world?
I love Korean food, southern fried foods and Indian food.
8. Who or what has been most influential to you on your vegan path? Individuals, groups, books, films, etc. included.
Honestly I’m kind of out of the vegan loop. I don’t really keep up with a lot of the conversations like I used to on message boards and what not. My expression has turned into my businesses. I wanted a vegan cafe in my hometown. I didn’t see anyone else opening one, so I opened one. The CEO of Tofurky Jaime Athos has been a huge mentor and inspiration for me over the last five years. He’s helped me out of a lot of pickles.
9. What issue is nearest and dearest to your heart that you would like people to know more about?
I rescued a greyhound off a racing track named La Fawnduh about six years ago. It’s mind-blowing that this sport still exists. Tracks are however being shut down as we speak, lots of movement on closing these places down. But there’s still work to be done. They’re the sweetest, most interesting dogs I’ve ever encountered.
10. Last, please finish this sentence. “To me, vegan food is…”
To me vegan food is a magic trick. I love being able to create my own meats and cheeses out of things in my pantry. Also satisfying to do in the company of suspicious friends.