Cassandra Bodzak brings vegan cooking to ABC’s ‘The Taste’

 

Cassandra Bodzak has brought her vegan cooking style to ABC's The Taste as member of Team Ludo Credit: Getty Images
Cassandra Bodzak his flying the flag for vegans on ABC’s “The Taste” as member of Team Ludo.
Credit: Getty Images

New York-based healthy living guru Cassandra Bodzak has taken her vegan cooking style to “The Taste,” ABC’s new competitive cooking show. She is matched up with French mentor Ludo Lefebvre, and her style of cooking has made her a hit.

On “The Taste,” four celebrity chefs serve as mentors and coaches for 16 chefs, both home cooks and professionals. A blind taste test narrowed down a field of 35 to 16. The four mentors — Anthony Bourdain, Marcus Samuelsson, Nigella Lawson and Ludo Lefebvre — tasted each dish without knowing anything about who cooked it or what the ingredients were. They then decided if they wanted to add that chef to their team. Think “The Voice,” just with food.

For her audition, the 26-year-old Bodzak decided to make her specialty: vegan cupcakes. Bourdain’s dislike of all things healthy is well documented, so making the desert was definitely a risk.

“I felt strongly about presenting my vegan cupcakes, because out of everything I make I’m most known for them,” Bodzak says. “My friends will order them for their birthdays and I really take pride in them. I knew I was going up against a bunch of people that were not huge fans of vegan foods. But at the same time I thought doing anything else would be going against myself.”

Her risk definitely paid off: Lefebvre took a chance and added her to Team Ludo.

“There was definitely a part of me that was hoping for him because I thought I’d get farther with him and I could learn a lot more from him,” Bodzak says. “He’s intense and little crazy at times, but he really knows his stuff. He really knows how to work with you and make you the best chef you could be. I was so freaking excited to get him.”

The origins of Bodzak’s work with food date back to the start of her blog, Go Sweet and Skinny. Bodzak began looking for a way to eat healthier in college and turned to a more vegan lifestyle. She experimented often, trying new recipes, and eventually started her blog to share her ways of eating and living healthier.

“My main philosophy is that I want to make happy, healthy living attainable for anyone,” Bodzak says. “Even though a lot of my recipes are vegan and vegetarian, I don’t believe in labeling. I probably eat 80 percent vegan and 20 percent of the time I’m more flexible with myself.”

Her appearance on “The Taste” has given her an even bigger audience. It has also, however, opened her up to criticism from some more die-hard vegans. Chef Ludo had her try chicken on the show, for example, which ruffled some feathers.

“I have been getting a little bit of flak,” Bodzak says. “It makes me really sad that people that are so passionate about a culture of kindness can be so cruel to another person. I do strongly believe in a lot of reasons why people are vegan, and I think vegan food is delicious. I just feel that I’ll be able to help more people and inspire more people if I’m not so extremist.”

Despite a few critics, Bodzak remains dedicated to making a healthy life possible for as many people as she can.

“You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian all the time. But if you start making little changes and learning to cook some of these dishes that are a little bit healthier, I think that’s a victory.”

Watch “The Taste” on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Local

Marshals, cops arrest fugitive after shootout in Queens

Federal authorities arrested a fugitive hiding out in Queens after he shot at U.S. Marshals and officers with the New York City Police Department.

Breaking: National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.