Tag Archives: Cooking

The Best Of Vegan With Kim-Julie Hansen

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan by Edward Gebel Thumbnail

From a meat-eater to being one of the most renowned Vegan experts in the world, Kim-Julie Hansen shared with us how she started Best of Vegan, as well as her Vegan Reset blog and most recently launched a fantastic 28-Day Vegan Plan book!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan by Edward Gebel
Photo Credit: Edward Gebel

Tell me a bit about you! Where you’re from, what you studied, where you’ve worked, how you ended up in NYC…

I’m Kim-Julie, I’m 32 years old and originally from Brussels, Belgium, although that’s only partially true. I was actually born in West Berlin (two years before the Berlin Wall fell) and have lived in many places throughout my life.

I studied modern languages and comparative literature (BA and MA) in Brussels and I’ve worked all over the world in tourism and hospitality before starting my own business.

Five years ago I came to New York for an event and stayed with a friend for 5 days. On the fifth day, I knew that I needed to move here.

Luckily, my online business’s audience was located mostly in the US, so I got my Visa thanks to that (and the advice and support of amazing friends who had undergone the process before me!).

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Creamy Mushroom Penne
Creamy Mushroom Pasta – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

You have countless different platforms and social channels. I’d love if you could share a bit about each of them!

My two main platforms are Best of Vegan and Vegan Reset.

Best of Vegan is a digital culinary publication focused on crowd-sourced and crowd-pleasing recipes for every occasion and showcasing the best the vegan culinary scene has to offer.

Vegan Reset is my health conscious blog within Best of Vegan. It’s where I share meal prep and plant-based lifestyle tips, as well as my own quick and easy recipes. It’s also the name of my book and online program.

In addition to those, I also share the things that inspire me on my personal page and blog, @KimJulieHansen and I have two additional vegan Instagram accounts: @VeganChallenge based on the free 7-day vegan challenges I host and @IDontWantSalad, an ode to vegan comfort food, which I created to show that vegans can eat much more than just salad.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Green Smoothies
Green Smoothies – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

How was your journey into the Vegan lifestyle?

Unexpected, overnight and life changing. I was the furthest thing from a vegan you could possibly imagine.

I loved meat, dairy and eggs and had them every day. Then, in 2011, I read two books that made me change my eating and lifestyle habits instantly: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz.

It was a strictly ethical decision for me at first and I didn’t even know that veganism could be healthy. I ended up researching and trying to find out everything I could for months.

That’s how I ended up learning more about whole foods and cooking with unprocessed ingredients, incorporating more fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. I had never liked any of these foods, so no one was more surprised than me.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Muffins
Blueberry Muffins – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

What are some myths about Vegan cuisine that people believe?

That it’s bland, boring, not nutritionally adequate, hard to adapt to and impractical.

I believed all of that too before going vegan myself, so as you can imagine, I wasn’t thrilled to give up so much of what I enjoyed, but I soon found out that you can actually veganize practically anything.

Latte? Make it a soy or oat latte. Sushi? Make it a sweet potato or avocado roll. Pizza? Add some vegan cheese and pepperoni. It obviously doesn’t taste exactly the same, but it’s close enough and, given the ethical implications, definitely worth the sacrifice.

What I at first feared would be restrictive ended up opening the doors to a whole new world for me. I enjoy cooking and eating out so much more now. Vegan cuisine is also neither boring nor deficient. You can get all the same nutrients from plants and whenever they’re harder to get, you can take a vegan supplement for convenience.

I do want to note that vegan foods and products aren’t readily available to everyone equally, so I think that as someone who does have access to the lifestyle, it’s important to simultaneously educate and motivate those who are in the same position while also actively working on making access easier for those who do not without ever judging them.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Salad
Smoky Tempeh & Vegan Cheese Salad – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

What are your favorite NYC Vegan spots? Sorry for this tough question, Kim… 🙂

There are far too many to list!

I love using the app “Vegan NYC” to discover new spots, but my all time favorites are Seasoned Vegan, Avant Garden, Adelina’s, Little Choc Apothecary, Bar Velo, Jungle Cafe and Délice & Sarrasin.

I’m probably forgetting half the list…!

How about your top Vegan brands that are really disrupting the industry, in New York?

I love brands that emphasize quality and/or community and are based right out of New York. Some of them include Egunsi Foods, Raaka Chocolate and Foreal Foods.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Yogurt
Vegan Breakfast Idea: granola, fresh fruit & plant-based yogurt with toppings – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

Ah! And you have a gorgeous life changing book and I was lucky enough to follow closely it coming to life! So tell our readers what it’s all about and what they can expect.

Thank you for the kind words!

My book, Vegan Reset (called The 28-Day Vegan Plan in the U.K.), is a practical guide, a cookbook and a 28-day meal plan. It’s an introduction to ethical veganism, plant-based living and a holistic approach to health.

It’s not a diet in the sense that the goal is feeling good physically and mentally, not weight loss.

While it teaches you how to incorporate more fresh produce and unprocessed foods, there are no strict guidelines and you can adapt everything as you see fit. The main motivation is ethical rather than dietary.

Do you have any super cool upcoming project you can share? Anything exclusive no one knows yet!? Lol!

I may or may not be planning my second book! 🙂

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Rice Pudding
Cinnamon Rice Pudding – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

More about her Book!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Book Vegan Reset
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Vegan Reset: The 28-Day Plan to Kickstart Your Healthy Lifestyle is a 28-day plan for new vegans or anyone looking to get their diet back on track, from the wildly popular creator of Best of Vegan!

No matter what diet you practice, a reset is a way to jump-start or refocus healthy habits and get your body to a state of optimum health. Here, NYC-based blogger and Instagrammer Kim-Julie Hansen of Best of Vegan offers a practical and easy-to-follow program, laid out day by day with meal plans, prep, shopping lists, recipes, and personal tips and inspiration.

If you want to become a vegan and don’t know where to start, this is the ultimate guide. But it’s also invaluable for anyone (vegan or not) looking to kick-start healthier habits, whether to lose weight, become fitter, or simply cultivate a more balanced lifestyle.

Kim-Julie introduces you to the benefits of a reset; guides you through the 28-day meal plan; and finishes with additional recipes to carry you beyond the reset—all brought to life with her gorgeous photography throughout. With its emphasis on satisfying plant-based foods and its achievable 28-day plan, this program is a great way to meet your goals of health and well-being.

Buy book here!

Thank you Kim, my dear friend, for sharing your amazing story with everyone and congratulations on all that you have built during these amazing years in New York City!

I’ve had the opportunity of seeing it from close and I couldn’t be more proud of you!

Plus, I can’t wait to see more of your work and continue trying out all of your food (yes, please continue inviting me over for dinner, lol!) and following your tips!

And finally, if you want to uncover more Vegan spots in New York, be sure to explore our website!

Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, Best of Vegan LLC and portraits by Edward Gebel
*Last Update on April/2020.*

NYC Cooking Class: Vegetarian Dishes from “My Korean Home”

Events Up Coming Vegetarian Dishes Cookbook NYC Cooking Class

Come celebrate the flavors of Korean vegetarian cuisine with the release of Chef Shin’s cookbook “Vegetarian Dishes from My Korean Home”! Plus, explore the thrill of a NYC cooking class!

Events Up Coming Vegetarian Dishes Cookbook NYC Cooking Class

Chef Shin, Founder of Banchan Story, will demonstrate the making of vegan delights from her newly launched cookbook. The book is called “Vegetarian Dishes from My Korean Home: Flavorful Korean Recipes in Simple Steps“.

For dishes like the Cauliflower Popcorn in Sweet Gochujang Glaze, Shin will explain the importance of sauces in Korean cuisine.

Plus, she’s tell you how to create Korean flavors with any sort of ingredients, through a few basic ratios of foundational Korean sauces.

Furthermore, you will also taste samples from the cookbook fitted for the holiday season and get new ideas to incorporate Korean flavors for your holiday menu.

Each participant will receive a copy of the cookbook, listed at $23. Also, additional copies will be available for sale at a special discount, for that night!

Plus, non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. This will be a demo class with light hands-on participation.

So, Sign up for this super exciting demo/class!

A little more about Banchan Story:

“At Banchan Story, we bring fun Korean culinary experiences led by Shin Kim, founder of Banchan Story. It combines cultural stories and tasty dishes of Korea.

We believe each little dish (called ‘banchan’ in Korean) has a story to tell and deserves its own little spotlight. Be it a home favorite, interesting historical background, or a feature in a popular Korean drama. We want to share them with you!

So, together with our team of passionate Korean food enthusiasts, we are excited to share the delicious fun of Korean cuisine with you. Get ready for an exciting Korean culinary event!”

So, if you want to organize a private session with Chef Shin or have her cater at your event, let our experts take care of it all. On the other hand, for corporate dinners and receptions, we can fully assist you, your team and/or clients.

Date: Thursday – November 17th, 2016
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Basement Kitchen Studio – 306 West 51th Street


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Banchan Story

Amazing Grocery Stores With Korean Ingredients In Manhattan

Shop Specialties Korean Ingredients Chef Shin Kin Banchan Story

There are some amazing groceries stores that sell delicious Korean ingredients in Manhattan! If you’re an aspiring or professional chef, take a look!

Shop Specialties Korean Ingredients Chef Shin Kin Banchan Story
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Banchan Story

A while ago, we did an amazing cooking class with Chef Shin Kim, Founder of Banchan Story. It was a class on “Delectable Sea Vegetables”, and the result was an exquisite and savory feast!

We had the best time and the dishes were literally to die for! The entire experience enticed our 5 senses, making it surely memorable! We clearly loved it, right?

At the end of the class, she gave us a few very secret and valuable tips on where to buy the best Korean ingredients in Manhattan, so we’re sharing them exclusively with you!

But, we do recommend doing the courses with her first! The thing is, it’s quite hard to find the correct ingredients, but if you do find them, the question still remains: “And now?”.

Take a look below to see all the amazing groceries stores recommendations given by the super talented Chef Shin:

1) H Mart (Han Ah Reum) – 38th West 32nd Street
2) M2M – 55 3rd Avenue – at 11th Street
3) Sunrise Mart – 4 Stuyvesant Street – at 9th Street
4) Hong Kong Supermarket – 157 Hester Street – b/t Mott and Bowery

To talk to Chef Shin and ask more about her classes, you can contact her through: shin.kim@banchanstory.com. Plus, you can find her online at www.banchanstory.com.

But wait! Are you are already a chef and love exploring new cuisines?

You might want to check your Shin’s book called “Vegetarian Dishes from My Korean Home: Flavorful Korean Recipes in Simple Steps“. We’ve written a bit about her book when she launched it too.

If you want experiece a private class with her for you and your friends & family, let us know and we’ll organize it all for you. Contact our experts to know more about how we can make this seamless and very exciting!

This might be a super cool activity to organize for you and your team from work. It’s a great idea for a team building experience, right? So, for any Corporate requests, let us cater it for you too!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chef Shin
*Last Update on March/2020.*

NYC Cooking Class With Banchan Story: Whispers From Every Little Dish

Our Experts Recaps Banchan Story Sea Veggie Cooking Class Group

We love to explore everything the city has to offer when the topics are: unique courses and classes. Our NYC Cooking Class with Banchan Story was fantastic and we want to share it with you!

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We wrote a post a few days ago about the Korean NYC Cooking Class we were invited to go, do you remember? This time, we went to another NYC Cooking Class!

On February 20th, we participated in this super unique and delicious Delectable Sea Vegetable cooking class.

Chef Shin, Founder of Banchan Story, taught us how to cook countless types of delicious, healthy sea vegetables that are very rich with minerals. We learned how to prepare them as a part of a daily meal through easy and quite simple steps.

Now, we would like to briefly tell you about our NYC Cooking Class experience. It all took place in her kitchen, located in Hell’s Kitchen.

We completely adored the class and Chef Shin Kim couldn’t be a more pleasant and kind human being! Not to mention, her obvious extraordinary cooking skills.

As soon as we arrived at the address given to us, we encountered a small little staircase leading us down to a black metal door. We started loving the experience from that point already, for there is nothing more exciting than going down a little staircase, not knowing what to expect. Then, after passing through the doorway, you find a beautifully built kitchen, very organized, with a quite tall ceiling, giving the space more amplitude and comfort.

Chef Shin has great teaching skills and definitely knows how to keep it simple and easy to learn.

I’m a vegetarian, so she was super prepared to have dishes that I was able to cook and eat during this NYC cooking class.

These are the amazing dishes that we learned how to cook:

  • Calamari & Miyeok (wakame) Salad with Ginger Gochujang Sauce
  • Sautéed Sea Vegetables Mélange with Spicy Sesame Seasoning
  • Savory Dulse and Garlic Chives Pancakes with Lemon-Sory Dipping Sauce
  • Soy-Pickled Spicy Peppers
  • Udon Noodle Soup with Kelp and Shitake Broth
  • Sweet Brown Rice Balls with Hijiki Rolled in Nori
  • Yuzu-Cannellini Jelly made with Agar Agar
  • Sweetened White Bean Paste

Plus, she gave us a great list of a few grocery stores with Korean ingredients in Manhattan. This way we would be able to find everything we used for cooking that day!

Chef Shin hosts cooking classes every month, with different topics and menus. Take a look at her website to find out when are the upcoming classes and what she will be teaching!

Have fun!

For the ones interested in organizing a unique experience with friends & family, contact us so we can help you out with all the details!

If you are interested in hiring Chef Shin for catering or for a unique corporate experiences, let our experts assist you throughout this project.


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Banchan Story: A Korean Sea Vegetable NYC Cooking Class

Events Up Coming Banchan Story Cooking Class Delectable Sea Vegetables

We will participate this Saturday, February 20th in a delicious and unique “Delectable Sea Vegetable” Korean cooking class, hosted by Banchan Story.

Events Up Coming Banchan Story Cooking Class Delectable Sea Vegetables Chef Shin
This post was updated after the cooking class, with this picture of the final table.

Chef Shin, Founder of Banchan Story, will be teaching us about various types of delicious, healthy sea vegetables full of minerals. Plus, she’ll teach how to prepare them as a part of a daily meal through easy and simple steps.

After all, it is possible to cook a full course meal from salad to dessert with a Korean flare to it!

Cool right?

How this all started? Chef Shin explains:

“I decided to start my own Korean cooking class program because I wanted to share the Korean food culture. It has such a long, dynamic history with dishes using diverse, healthy ingredients.

In fact, Korean home meals are largely based on plethora of vegetables – both from the land and the sea. Although, it has gained popularity through Korean BBQ in recent years. These are the dishes I still like eating on a day-to-day basis. Plus, it’s what I’d like to share with more people through my cooking classes in the future.

I love sharing not only the ingredients and cooking techniques of Korean food, but also the stories related to each and every dish. It may be an anecdote from my family, a special meaning in Korean culture, or a significance in Korean history.

Hosting small, interactive, hands-on cooking classes gives me a chance to share these stories and cooking in person. Also, we can feed off from each other’s enthusiasm.”

Read more about Chef Shin’s NYC cooking class experience.

For private cooking classes, contact us!

Plus, if you’d like Chef Shin to cater for your private event or corporate event, let out experts organize it all for you!

Date: Saturday, February 20th
Time: 3pm – 5:30pm
Location: Basement Kitchen Studio – 306 West 51st Street


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Banchan Story

Natural Gourmet Institute: NYC Cooking Classes And Friday Night Dinners

Events On Going National Gourmet Institute NYC Cooking Classes Small Appetizer

If you are a mess in the kitchen, like us, but would love to learn your way around cooking, the Natural Gourmet Institute offers quite a few interesting NYC cooking classes and experiences.

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The Natural Gourmet Institute was founded on the principle that what we eat significantly affects our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Of course, we couldn’t agree more with this statement, since we are huge believers of “we are what we eat”.

They’ve created a framework for healthy food selection. It’s based on high quality ingredients, concepts of Eastern & Western nutrition and a variety of dietary paradigms.

They offer different types of courses, like the ones below:

  • Summer Immersions: A summer course where you learn not only the theory, but also have hands-on classes;
  • Certificate Programs: Students work and meet accomplished chefs, industry experts and partners;
  • Classes: Some last 5+ days, other 3 days, others only a couple of hours. Student go home ready to experiment in their own kitchen;
  • Professional Training: You’ll master the art of healthy cooking through 600 hours of rigorous, life-changing culinary education.

Furthermore, most of the products used are organic, which we particularly enjoy, since we only shop organic.

Plus, they offer a super unique Friday Night Dinner. This three-course vegetarian dinner is both innovative and beautifully presented. Something New Yorkers love! They charge $45/person, which is a super reasonable price for a NY dinner. And last, it’s a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle), so feel free to bring in which ever drink makes you smile!

And don’t forget to check out their book store. You’ll find amazing books that are actually pretty hard to find out there.

Alternatively, to organize an experience with friends with true NYC cooking classes or to put together a corporate activity for your clients or team, contact our experts to learn more. It will be an amusing activity for everyone!

Location: 48 West 21st Street, 2nd floor


Photo Credit: Courtesy of National Gourmet Institute
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Chef Fed’s Sex on the Table Cooking Classes

Dining Chef Fed's Sex on the Table Fire

Have you ever heard about Chef Fed’s Sex on the Table Cooking Classes? Let’s explain. The art of seduction is the ability to get all your senses working in unison. Feeling, touching, seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting.

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At Chef Fed‘s cooking school, they believe that, to have a seductive meal, you need a mix’n’match of things.

The final presentation of your food, choice of ingredients, texture of your creation, way you combine flavors, where you dine, and how you eat are all vital to a seductive meal.

Chef Fed also offer private dinners cooked by himself. Plus, you can purchase his products with the most successful recipes he’s shared at his cooking school and dining society.

Everything is done by Appointment only.

About Chef Fed:

A mere three years after graduating from Switzerland’s prestigious Culinary Institute, Chef “Fed” Federer was awarded a Michelin star alongside Chef A. Blockbergen at the Auberge du Raisin at Lac Léman in Switzerland.

It is this nuanced and open-minded approach to cooking that was the genesis for his aphrodisiac cooking class, “Sex on the Table”, founded in New York City in 2012.

In a nutshell, Sex on the Table is a full circle sensory experience that engages students during the cooking and dining process.

Students not only create a complete three-course meal, but they also get to sit down and enjoy it. Since its inception, Sex on the Table has sold out over 400 classes in a row and has been featured on the Food Network, Fox, E! News networks.

It has been the subject of articles in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Time Out New York, and many more.”


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Chef Fed


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