Roni Zaide
Roni’s Kitchen, Calgary

After working in restaurants, hosting brunch pop-ups and catering weddings across Calgary, Israeli-born Roni Zaide shifted her focus to “demystifying cooking” and making delicious, plant-based homemade food accessible to all. Even from the beginning, says Zaide, her goal has been “to give people an experience, and to help people feel more comfortable around food and cooking in their own kitchens.”

Roni ZaideRoni Zaide. Photo by Hannah Burne.

Pre-COVID, she hosted in-person cooking classes and retreats; then, right on the eve of the pandemic, her popular cookbook, Roni’s Kitchen: Recipes from My Food Journeys Around the World, was released—sparking an influx of fans hoping for more culinary content. Zaide expanded her repertoire and began hosting Zoom classes and then pre-filmed cooking classes to help home cooks recreate her famous dishes, and make daunting ingredients and plant-based-specific cooking techniques feel manageable and even easy. 

“People new to vegan cooking should start with something simple and build from there if they feel overwhelmed,” says the chef.  Demystification is a huge part of her work: according to Zaide, many folks don’t make the connection that dishes they already enjoy (like hummus!) are actually vegan.  To that end, she simply provides the essential building blocks for being a great home cook, whether you’re a full-time vegan or not. Who’s afraid of tofu? Definitely not us... when we have Roni Zaide in our corner. Like she says: “Everything is new, until it isn’t.”

Food for Thought with Roni Zaide

What ingredient scares home cooks, but shouldn’t?
Tofu.  I created “Who’s Afraid of Tofu”  for that reason.

THE WHOLE STORY: Introducing Western Living's 2022 Foodies of the Year