Chef Marty Glucklich of Veg (2164 Gulf Gate Dr., Sarasota. 312-6424;vegsrq.com) draws from his South African roots and global travels to create a cornucopia of healthy, often unexpected flavors at his Gulf Gate restaurant. Since 2010, Glucklich and his family have offered some of the tastiest vegetarian, pescetarian (and now raw) offerings in Sarasota.
Tell me about the origins of your fairly new “awesome rawsome” menu.
Introducing raw food to our customers was a natural progression for Veg. We had already offered vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free and low-salt items, as well as wild-caught seafood. I began researching raw food several years ago, and about four months ago, my wife, Maggie, and I did a two-week raw cleanse. I felt wonderful and wanted to share that feeling with our customers, so I created “awesome rawsome.”
Is it a challenge cooking extremely nutritious food that is so flavorful?
It is challenging and exciting. The key to creating nutritional food that is delicious and flavorful is to use quality ingredients, have knowledge of herbs and spices, and creatively substitute healthier ingredients in traditional dishes. We use very little salt and no creams, fillers or thickening agents, so our cuisine is clean.
You have traveled quite a bit. How have you incorporated what you’ve learned during your travels into Veg’s menu?
While growing up and working as a chef in South Africa, I was exposed to a variety of multicultural and multiethnic cuisines, such as Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian, British and Dutch. Whenever I travel, I always look for something new and different to bring back to the restaurant. For example, when we traveled to Panama last year, we loved the bowls of lentils served with rice. I decided to incorporate lentils into our brown rice pilaf and our customers have enjoyed this simple but unique combination.
Yours is a true family operation. What is it like to work side by side with your family?
Veg started out being a family-run restaurant and it continues today. My wife, Maggie, has always given me her total support and she is an integral part of the business. Our son, Ben, is back at Veg as assistant manager and we are thrilled to have him back. Our customers love the fact that we share our lives with them, and we enjoy the fact that they share their lives and families with us. For me, it’s a wonderful experience.
How has being a chef made you a better person?
It has taught me tolerance and patience. It has also been a humbling experience to have customers actually stop by the kitchen and thank me for being open. I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie when meeting other chefs and restaurateurs locally and around the world. It has provided me with a great outlet for my creative and innovative side. It also helps to be a little bit psychic.
CURRIED QUINOA, BLACK BEANS AND VEGETABLE-STUFFED AVOCADOS
1 whole avocado, pitted and cut in half
½ cup cooked quinoa
½ cup black beans
½ cup snap or edible-pod peas, cut in half, lengthwise
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half, lengthwise
¼ cup shoestring carrots
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons orange juice
Bunch of field greens and baby spinach
Combine all ingredients except for the avocado and mix gently. Spoon mixture into the avocado halves and place on a bed of field greens and baby spinach. *Make the recipe raw by eliminating the quinoa and beans and using freshly squeezed orange juice.