Vegan restaurant Citizen Fox's road to opening has been long and winding; so long in fact, that chef Kevin Schuder decided to take a different route, parting with the restaurant before it could open its doors to the public. Now, he's launching a series of pop-ups with Feastly, showcasing his vegan cuisine in a more flexible, "less bureaucratic" setting.
The pop-up series will run every Saturday in March, testing out different menus and styles of preparation that Schuder says is a test to see how big the market is for what he's doing. A vegan sushi omakase will offer dishes like a cauliflower kara-age and smoked beet nigiri, while the "Avant Garden" dinner aims to use molecular gastronomy techniques to launch vegan food out of the "crunchy hippy" zone. Part of the reasoning behind Schuder's move from brick-and-mortar to the pop-up model is the (surprising) lack of opportunities to cook vegan restaurant food in the area. "After I left Citizen Fox, the question was 'Where is there for me to go?' I want to stick with vegan food but there's not that many opportunities," said Schuder. "This [Feastly] seems like a thing people will be doing soon, since opening a restaurant requires some steep investments."
Secondarily, and in keeping with the sharing economy that Schuder is dipping his toe into at the moment, is the chef's plan to launch a website with all of his recipes available on it (including those he developed at Citizen Fox). "It's an idea I've had for a while," explained Schuder. "With vegan food some of it borders on molecular gastronomy, and to open source it seems like a lot of fun." Given the complex nature of many of the recipes, the chef reckons that though diners won't be staying at home to prepare his recipes, (which include things like a "mozzarella" made using cashew cream and carageenan that actually melts like cheese), sharing techniques will benefit chefs and the cuisine longterm.
Schuder is also widening his playing field, helping friends open Berkeley's vegan deli The Butcher's Son and participating in the Vegan Iron Chef All Star competition tomorrow (February 24). Stay tuned for more pop-ups as Schuder figures out his next moves.