Interview with Cornelia Guest About Her New Cookbook and Vegan Product Line

Interview with Cornelia Guest About Her New Cookbook and Vegan Product Line
In 2009, she founded Cornelia Guest Events and Cornelia Guest Cookies, catering charity and entertainment events with healthy, delicious vegan food. She has launched her own line of animal-friendly handbags, wallets, and dog accessories made with a vegan alternative to leather. She lives in New York.

Why did you become vegan? Was it an overnight change or did you ease into it gradually?

CG: It was overnight . . . but I had always felt better when eating a vegetarian diet. The cruelty and the health benefits are very important to me.

How has being vegan changed your life?

CG: I really think it has made me a happier person.

What would you tell people are the benefits of being vegan?

CG: You feel better, have more energy, and your taste buds become so sensitive that you really taste how delicious food is without preservatives.

Most people think eating vegan is restrictive, unsatisfying, tasteless or will leave you feeling hungry. What would you say to these people?

CG: Don't knock it till you try it!

Do you have a favorite book that inspired you about veganism that you would recommend?

CG: Eating Animals by Jonathan Foer and books by Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Neal Barnard.

In your book Simple Pleasures you mention that when you were a child and ate meat you didn't feel well, so you ate lots of fish instead, but then your mercury levels got very high. I've never heard of people being able to check their mercury levels. Is that a special blood test?

CG: My doctor Michael Galitzer, MD does all those tests. Blood, urine, etc.

What skincare products do you use? What do you wash your face with?

CG: I love Joanna Vargas products and also Biologique. They have cleansing milk that I adore and Joanna's serums are amazing.

Do you juice? If so, can you share a favorite green juice recipe with us?

CG: My friend Natalia Rose got me drinking her "Green Lemonade" a mix of Kale, Celery, Romaine, Ginger, Cucumber & Lemon. I start the day with it and love it.

What are the easiest, quickest plant foods to grow when someone has limited time and space?

CG: I would say herbs; they are easy and grow very quickly. They can be added to anything. They are fabulous for apartments and pretty to look at!

When did you launch your cruelty-free, vegan handbag collection? How is it doing in terms of sales? What is the design aesthetic and price point?

CG: I launched my Cornelia Guest line at Bloomingdale's last fall and we sold out in 4 days! It's classic with a twist and all under $300 dollars. It can be seen and bought on my website www.corneliaguest.com.

Will you expand your collection to include shoes?

CG: Yes . . . shoes, fake fur I'd love to do things for the house also. I would like the Cornelia Guest Cruelty Free brand to give people an intelligent alternative for anything they might wish.

You posed for PETA's "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign. Which winter materials do you wear instead?

CG: Fake fur is fabulous and warmer than the real thing. My pal George Sharp the designer at St. John has wonderful coats this fall.

Tell us about your vegan chocolate chip cookies. Do they come raw or baked? How many in a package? How to order?

CG: My cookies come cooked, in packages of 6 or 12. You can order them at Corneliaguest.com or if in NYC go to City Sandwich, 649 9th Avenue, NYC at 96th Street. They sell them.

I love that your book Simple Pleasures is divided into seasons. Now that we are going into summer, almost everyone loves ice cream. Do you make your own vegan ice cream or is there a particular brand on the market that you favor?

CG: So Delicious is my "go to" ice cream. It's delicious and comes in great flavors. I love the Cookies & Cream and the no-sugar added Vanilla.

What is your favorite breakfast?

CG: Natalia's Green Lemonade and my friend Jeff Deperon is always teaching me how to make delicious smoothies.

How do you stay vegan while traveling?

CG: I always bring my own food on the plane. And I always have some raw chocolate also! But I think it's getting easier to travel . . . I eat salads, pasta, vegetables & Quinoa. I find these very available.

What percentage of your friends are vegan?

CG: I would say just a few, more and more all the time but lots are vegetarian, people are eating meat and chicken less and less.

Do your dogs eat vegetables?

CG: My Newfie, Cash loves apples and carrots and my Westie, Olive loves sweet potatoes . . . they all love those.

Do you see any new trends in veganism?

CG: Kale chips are everywhere!

Do you have another book idea in the works?

CG: Yes, working on my next book now!!

For more information please visit http://www.corneliaguest.com/, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Luxury Travel Magazine has reviewed Cornelia's book and we highly recommend it! Order: Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining