The show name “Vegan. Black. Metal. Chef.” is growled. The video begins with a steady low-tuned guitar and blast beats. The kitchen is a dark room and the cutting board features a pentagram. It’s a different sort of cooking show with episode names like “Soupapocalypse” and “Green Bean Holocaust.” Brian Manowitz, AKA the Vegan Black Metal Chef dresses up in full black metal gear complete with corpse paint. In each episode the instructions are sung (captions appear) to music composed and performed by Manowitz. Even if you don’t have interest in this type of music the show is fun and the recipes are actually quite good.
I’ve been a fan of Vegan Black Metal Chef since hearing about him on ABC’s Nightline and through some old metal head friends. It’s great to see a sense of humor in the subgenre. His wildly popular Youtube channel has over 40,000 subscribers and the first episode on making pad thai has been viewed well over 2 million times.
The Orlando based VBMC was nice enough to answer some questions about veganism, black metal and Orlando. His official youtube channel can be found here. Here is a link his official website.
RoodonFood (R): If someone is interested in becoming vegan, what are some easy ways to get started?
VBMC: I wrote a brief article on my website detailing everything I wish I knew before I went vegan. http://veganblackmetalchef.com/how-to-be-vegan/
R: How long have you been vegan? Were you first vegetarian, then moved onto vegan? If so, how long did it take you to transition?
VBMC: I have been vegan for about 12-13 years now. I was vegetarian first for about 2-3 months before I went vegan.
R: You feature some great recipes on your youtube channel. What’s your favorite? And who inspired you to learn to cook?
VBMC: Thanks a ton. I never like picking a “favorite” food. To me there is food made on a very high level and food that is not. Out of all the amazing foods made on a very high level, how can one pick a favorite? My favorite is whatever my body wants at that time! So simply set your “bar” to a really high level and all food will be your favorite.
R: You’ve been featured on Nightline and other huge outlets. Are you surprised at all of the attention your site has gotten? What do you attribute it too?
VBMC: I am humbled and honored by it. I attribute it in the beginning to the WTF factor the show started off with and hopefully some amount of quality of message, music, or humor for any of the continuing press.
R: What is the most metal protein next to seitan?
VBMC: Everything in the fucking world has protein
R: Who are some of your musical influences? Since you’re from Florida, has the Scott Burns produced stuff influenced your style?
VBMC: I have listened to a ton of Scott Burns produced bands, and really like Cannibal Corpse, Death, Obituary, among many others… though death metal is very much not my main musical influences. I am very heavily influenced by the various great thrash bands (what I consider the father of all modern metal). And of course the black metal aspect very influenced by more of the “upper production” black metal bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, and Emperor. I listen to such a wide variety though that it would be impossible to list them all.
R: Have you ever run into issues for being a vegan in the metal community? It’s a community not known for being particularly politically or socially conscious compared with, say, punk.
VBMC: Only online where people can hide behind anonymity. I have been going out to/playing metal shows for so long around here that no one seems to give a fuck. People ask me questions a lot and sometimes disguise their questions by giving me a hard time but its usually because they want to know a bit more about it and my thoughts.
R: Who are some current death/black metal bands you respect? What was your last good show you attended?
VBMC: I am fairly terrible about keeping up with very current music. One of my favorite “underground” Black Metal bands is Winterhorde. Especially their first album “Nebula”
Carach Angren is incredibly impressive musically and production wise. I really like to see Vital Remains live but just missed them when they came near here recently. One of the best shows I recently attended was not even a metal show per se, but an industrial show with the bands Psyclon Nine and Dawn of Ashes. Both are a unique form of industrial mixed with some metal. Kamelot was good, Fleshgod Apocalypse was very impressive live when they came with wintersun, Arsis, and Starkill.
R: You’re from Orlando. What are some vegan places you recommend in your city?
VBMC: There are a ton, Orlando is fucking awesome actually. Ethos vegan kitchen, various Vietnamese places in the mills/50 area, tako cheena, dandelion cafe, the list is really pretty long.