Food Blogger Spotlight: Michael Natkin of Herbivoracious

If you thought Michael Natkin’s popular blog, Herbivoracious, was a quaint little site about basil and thyme, boy are you in for a surprise. This chef, blogger, cookbook author and busy father of two wants to expand your mind about the world of meatless dishes. From his website: “I love to draw inspiration from cuisines around the world, and stay abreast of the latest developments from the best chefs, then apply all of those ideas to create vegetarian dishes that you can rock at home.” With 400+ recipes to his credit, Michael has definitely been busy creating inspiring dishes for his readers.

Hey, Michael, it’s Father’s Day, put your feet up and let the kids cook for you!

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Why did you start your food blog? Honestly, I started the blog out of pure frustration. I wanted to be a restaurant chef, but five years ago wasn’t the right time in my life to quit my day job and make that leap. I have young kids and a wife with chronic fatigue syndrome, so it just didn’t work. I also have this unstoppable passion for food, and needed to find a way to share and connect with the larger culinary community. Food blogs were just starting to become popular, and I thought that “Hey, at least this is something I can do.”

How would you describe your approach to eating/health? I always put flavor first. I believe that, barring specific medical needs, it pays to just eat a wide variety of relatively natural (not overly processed foods) and listen to your body.

Have you always had an interest in healthy food or did it come later in life? For me, being vegetarian was purely a personal choice. My mom was dying from breast cancer, and wanted to try a macrobiotic diet so I learned how to cook in that style for her. As soon as I tried going meat-free, I knew it was for me. I literally went from eating at McDonalds on a daily basis to vegetarian overnight. But I don’t believe in preaching. I don’t tell anyone else what to eat. My assumption is that many people have realized that eating more vegetarian meals is good for them and makes them feel better, not to mention it makes for a more sustainable food supply and is kinder to animals. So I focus on providing recipes that are delicious, satisfying and beautiful, and leave the politics out of it. By the way, I’ve written a longer post on this topic and it has generated an incredibly lively comment thread. I’d love to hear your reader’s thoughts HERE:

What is your favorite (or a few of your favorites) food/ingredient to use in the kitchen? Some of my current favorites are kimchi, kochujang (Korean chili paste) and smoked paprika.

Has blogging changed the way you view food and cooking? If so, how? Well, one thing is that I end up not making my favorite dishes often enough because I’m always trying to create something new. But overall, I think my cooking has improved a lot over the past few years from focusing on making dishes (and photos) good enough to share, and getting a ton of feedback.

Which three recipes would you like to share with our readers?

Bibim naengmyeon – cold and spicy Korean noodles

Coconut rice with black beans, plantains and mango salsa

Vegetarian, tempeh-filled potstickers

Thanks, Michael! Be sure to check back next Sunday to meet another healthy food blogger in our midst.


Also Read:

Food Blogger Spotlight: Diane from the Canning Diva

Food Blogger Spotlight: Laura Wright of The First Mess

Food Blogger Spotlight: Janetha Gallegos of Meals and Moves

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