Interview: Brian Manowitz ~ Vegan Black Metal Chef


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I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever hosted anyone like today’s guest! Brian Manowitz, also known as the Vegan Black Metal Chef, is a standout in the vegan community; there isn’t anyone quite like him. He completely rocks the black metal vibe, creates his own music to accompany his ever popular vegan YouTube show all while cracking jokes using spiky cooking utensils that look like they came from another planet!

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Brian in person on several occasions and what struck me the most about him is his overwhelmingly sweet and mellow personality (quite different from the dark and raspy voiced dark character he portrays in his show). I’m honored to know him and think it’s awesome that he’s able to reach so many people through his show (over 80,000 subscribers!!!). Come along as Brian shares why he went vegan, talks about his show, his book, and answers the main question we all really want to know– does he apply his own makeup? Welcome to Cowgirls & Collard Greens Brian!

Yeehaw, Kayle

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I attended an event last year where Brian gave a cooking demo and signed his books. It was fun to see him dressed up in all his garb!

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Cowgirls & Collard Greens: What lead you to the vegan lifestyle? Can you share your vegan story?

Brian Manowitz: I went vegan in my first year of college after having a girlfriend that went vegetarian. I said to her that I recognized it as the right way to go, but I was not ready for that yet. After a year passed, and she didn’t die I saw that it was just a fear in myself. I faced the fear and went vegetarian for about three months. Then went to an animal rights group on campus at my college, saw a few videos, and said…ok, now I’m vegan.

C&CG: Why vegan & black metal? Did you combine your love of vegan cooking with your favorite type of music? How’d the Vegan Black Metal Chef come about?

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BM: The main reason I started the Vegan Black Metal chef channel is to answer the question “What do vegans eat?”. I think my food tastes incredible, is not difficult to make, and is very inexpensive. These are three things people do not associate with veganism. I wanted to tell the world about this but normal cooking shows put me to sleep. So I combined my passions of making music and black metal music in particular to make the cooking show I wanted to see.

C&CG: Have you always enjoyed cooking? Do you have a background as a chef?

BM: I wouldn’t say I always enjoyed cooking, but I always enjoyed eating. I do not have a background as a chef. Everything is self taught through experimentation.

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BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with Mac n’ Cheese (recipe available in The Seitanic Spellbook cookbook)

C&CG: I’ve notice that you often create recipes that are affordable & shop for ingredients at grocery stores that are off the beaten path. Where did your desire to create low cost meals come from?

BM: LOL! The low cost meals came from me not liking to spend so much money on things and having had a low income ;). Also, the ingredients I use are naturally cheap. I think a lot of the places I shop are fairly mainstream, at least to a certain socioeconomic demographic of people. Though if I want ingredients for Asian food I go to the Asian store, etc.

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Sesame Tofu with veggies over rice (recipe available in The Seitanic Spellbook cookbook)

C&CG: You’ve had great success with your YouTube channel. Do you create your own music for each episode? When did you start your show and have you been surprised by its popularity?

BM: I’ve been doing this for 5+ years now, crazy. Yes, I make all the music for the show. I didn’t know YouTube was that popular when I first started making videos. I am humbled every day that people still care. However, how people consume my content is different now, I get far more views and interaction via Facebook video.

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C&CG: Last year you launched your first book, The Seitanic Spellbook: Rantings and Ravings of the Vegan Black Metal Chef. Was this the natural next step following your YouTube show? Do you have plans to write more books in the future?

BM: I do not want to be a constant cookbook author. Everything I currently eat/all of the concepts of the meals I eat are in The Seitanic Spellbook. The book has QR codes for people to scan at the back of each section where the book will expand over time and things will be added in the virtual realm. If there is a need to write another book, I’ll write one.

C&CG: And because everyone wants to know, do you apply your own makeup? If so, how long does it take you to transform (costume included) into the Vegan Black Metal Chef?

BM: Yes, I apply my own makeup. It can take from 1.25 – 2 hours to do everything.

C&CG: And finally, a question I ask all of my guests, what’s your favorite go-to vegan meal?

BM: I do not have a favorite meal. To me if you have a real stand out favorite, then most of the rest of what one eats probably sucks. My favorite is anything made to a high level.

C&CG: Thanks so much for taking the time to be interviewed today Brian and keep up the great work you’re doing on behalf of the vegan movement! 

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unnamed-1Vegan Black Metal Chef (Brian Manowitz) combines his passions for vegan cooking and making metal music to create an awesomely unlikely combination that is informative, hilarious, and enlightening. As a vegan since 2000, and a musician since 2002, his quest to make awesomely amazing food, music and blasphemy has culminated into a modern sensation. As seen in TIME Magazine, Anthony Bourdains “No, Reservations”, The Washington Post, and Wired Magazine among many others. He has devoted followers in the U.S. and across the world.

Manowitz’s cookbook and website contain vegan cooking instructions that focus on cooking concepts rather than strict recipes, a series of YouTube videos that focus on single dishes as well as whole meal ideas that seek to answer the question “What do vegans eat?” set to a self made and recorded soundtrack of Black Metal music with comedy thrown in. The website also tries to bring in consciousness to people’s lives and all of their actions.

You can follow Brian through his YouTube show, website and social media on the following channels: Instagram and Facebook.

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