Amanda Cohenchef, Dirt Candy; New York, NY
Chef Amanda Cohen is the James Beard-nominated chef and owner of Dirt Candy, the award-winning vegetable restaurant on New York City's Lower East Side. She is also one of the Iron Chefs on Iron Chef Canada.
Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in the city and is a pioneer of the vegetable-forward movement. It’s included in Paul Freedman’s Ten Restaurants That Changed America as one of the “Ten Restaurants Changing America Now” alongside such notable eateries as Momofuku and Eleven Madison Park. Starting small, Dirt Candy’s original location only had 18 seats and was open for seven years, during which time it became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from the New York Times and was recognized by the Michelin Guide five years in a row. It has also won awards from Gourmet magazine, the Village Voice, and many others.
Its new location opened in January 2015 and was the first restaurant in the city to eliminate tipping and share profits with its employees. Amanda was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef: America and her comic book cookbook, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, is the first graphic novel cookbook to be published in North America. It's currently in its seventh printing. In 2018, New York magazine named Dirt Candy "The Absolute Best Restaurant on the Lower East Side" and Wine Enthusiast selected it as one of the 100 Best Wine Restaurants in America.