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PYP 064: Chef Alan Roettinger on Navigating Life Through Joy (and much more)

alan-roettingerAlan Roettinger packs a ton of wisdom, compassion, and humor into a 102-minute interview – one of the longest and most inspiring I've had the privilege to conduct.

Alan shifted his career as private chef to the rich and famous (he doesn't name names, except for Bill Clinton and Frank Sinatra) to a successful stint as the author of four vegan cookbooks. In this far-ranging conversation.


We cover:

  • Alan's journey from hedonic omnivore to even more hedonic vegan
  • what really goes on in the kitchens of most restaurants, and why we should be cooking more at home
  • why home cooks have advantages over chefs in the world's best restaurants, even if they lack experience and skill
  • a philosophy of plant-based eating based on human rights as much as animal rights
  • what Alan learned about cooking during his childhood in Mexico
  • the five requirements of life, and why we should insist on making them the highest possible quality
  • the real problem with the Standard American Diet: not pleasurable enough
  • how and why to use joy and pleasure as the primary compass guiding us through life
  • the wonders of Aleppo pepper, and where to get it cheaply
  • the difference between the mind and the heart, and which one to listen to
  • the real Paleo diet, and why it's crazy to aspire to it

Enjoy, comment, and please share!


Alan's website

Speed Vegan

Extraordinary Vegan

Paleo Vegan

Leonard Cohen singing “Bird on a Wire”:

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.


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2 comments on “PYP 064: Chef Alan Roettinger on Navigating Life Through Joy (and much more)

  1. Valerie Suwanseree says:

    This is one episode that really impressed me the first time I listened to it and parts of it have stayed with me, so now I finally recommended it to a friend. Alan Roettinger is just so genuine.

    1. Howard says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Valerie! I’ll let Alan know he has a fan 🙂

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