Chef Profile: Bob Bouley

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Upon first glance, Chef Bouley does not look like someone you would picture when you think of a vegan. In fact, he looks more like your next-door, all-American, meat-and-potatoes family man. I guess because, well, that’s true – except for the meat part.  Aside from running a vegan restaurant, Bob, along with his wife and co-owner Lisa, is a parent and has the same responsibilities as any other parent, such as making school lunches (vegan, of course!). Bob didn’t start out as a vegan, however. Far from it, he began his career working in a diner in Danvers, MA around the age of thirteen. Without receiving any formal training, he worked his way up in several kitchens, including the ones at Paparazzi, The Colonnade Hotel, Whole Foods Market and a catering company. It was only when he met Lisa, who was already a vegan, did he begin to think about food as an ethical choice. She took him to the Boston Vegetarian Society’s Food Festival where he spent time looking around, visiting all the booths and talking to people. After that experience, he went vegan cold turkey (pardon the expression) and never looked back. Bouley says he doesn’t miss meat or dairy – instead he uses the techniques he’s learned over his career to replace animal products with tons of flavor. With his latest restaurant, The Pulse Cafe, Bob is cooking foods that are familiar and comforting in order to appeal to meat-eaters and recent vegan converts as well as those who have been vegan for a long time already. So, what are his favorite dishes from the menu? Though the menu is seasonal, right now he loves the quinoa salad with grill tofu cutlet, ranchero sauce and salsa. The BBQ seitan is also an evergreen favorite. So what else does Bob eat? Well, while he and his family don’t eat out too much, he is anxious to get to Prana Café. In the meantime, when Bob’s cooking at home, it usually comes down to Amy’s burritos. Though Bob claims that he’s “not a hard-core vegan,” he really enjoys his vegan lifestyle and creates comforting vegan dishes that can satisfy even a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy.

See Chef Bouley recall his favorite food memory in the video below and learn how even great chefs can make mistakes.

The Pulse Cafe
195 Elm St.
Somerville, MA

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