José Andrés, the Ferran Adrià prodigy who popularized Spanish cuisine in the U.S., will be launching a vegetable-focused fast casual concept. The first location of ‘Beefsteak” (play on the tomato variety), will open on campus at George Washington University in Washington D.C. early next year. José Andrés, aside from having his own course on food at the university, also serves as an advisor on food initiatives and has been testing dishes with his staff for months.
José Andrés would like to clarify that his concept is not “vegetarian,” it is vegetable-centric. As Jose says, “We don’t like to call it vegetarian. We want to call it tasty, fun, sexy, good-looking.” Vegetables has been around forever, so this concept is not about ‘the next big thing,’ so much as it is re-inventing and converting people’s ideas about vegetables. Roy Choi, the Los Angeles food-truck chef, recently posted on his Instagram about the future of vegetables and how he is, “trying to make vegetables relevant to a new generation by just making them fun.” Batali and Bastianich also have a portion of Eataly dedicated solely to dishes prepared with vegetables, and world famous chef Rene Redzepi of Noma is always preaching the virtues of vegetables.
Vegetable restaurants do exist, such as Vedge in Philadelphia, where chef Richard Landau reaffirms that vegetables are beginning to ‘move from the side of the plate to the center.” Jose Andre’s Beefsteak will be the first of its kind in Washington D.C. and if it is successful, will expand and open more locations. Before opening his now wildly successful Jaleo, people had their doubts about tapas and small portions; now small plates are a nationwide phenomenon. José Andrés is confident that despite the doubts about a vegetable-centric fast casual, he will be successful in giving the people “what they don’t know they are craving.”
To read more about the new fast casual concept and other vegetable-focused eateries, click here