Charity Morgan Reveals The Inspiration Behind Her Cookbook - Exclusive

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Charity Morgan can remember the first time she started cooking when she was five-years-old. "I started becoming the pest. I shadowed my mom, every single thing that she did [in the kitchen]," she told Mashed in an exclusive interview. Morgan's mother was a superb cook and made the traditional dishes from her own upbringing in Puerto Rico. Morgan's Creole father, on the other hand, didn't cook , though his mother — her beloved grandma Duplechan — cooked Creole comfort food. Adding to this delicious fusion were the Mexican, Filipino, and Indian friends of Morgan's mother who all prepared meals together and shared their own traditional recipes. "We always were eating all these different kinds of foods ... you look at all these beautiful dishes and herbs and spices ... and that's kind of how I was raised, which is weird. I got that head start from my mother." 

Inspired by those formative figures, Morgan set out to make a career as a chef and attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California. She was one of a handful of women in a class of about 40 people. "[W]e all know that having a woman's perspective in a certain environment can definitely change the attitude of things," she affirmed. Although it was a challenging culinary training program, Morgan persevered and graduated and then worked several restaurant jobs in Los Angeles until realizing that the skills she learned from her mother and grandmother for creating multi-cultural dishes weren't being utilized. So, she launched her own meal-prep service and began amassing the recipes she now cooks for her clients including footballers.

Charity Morgan's dishes are inspired by all the cultural influences in her life

When Charity Morgan's husband, Derrick — former lineman for the Tennessee Titans — switched to eating vegan, she knew that the team wouldn't feed him the food his body needed for peak performance. So, she began creating vegan recipes for his daily packed lunches during training season. Soon Derrick's teammates took notice of the delicious meals and asked if she would make vegan lunches for them. The documentary "The Game Changers" chronicled the transition, and ultimately changed the Morgans' lives. In it, Morgan was featured serving up platters of vegan meatballs, burgers, and mac and cheese — and when the film was released, fans from all over the world begged her for the recipes, which she recently compiled and published in her debut cookbook, "Unbelievably Vegan: 100+ Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes." 

There are recipes for everything Morgan made in "The Game Changers" included in the cookbook, but she's also created and shared vegan versions of her family's favorites, like Grandma Duplechan's gumbo and jambalaya and her mother's Puerto Rican dishes, such as pastelillo and arroz con gandules. There's even a Creole-Cajun version of her grandma's famous Caesar salad. The chef took all of the cultural and ethnic influences from her life and fused them into her cookbook, because, as she said, "It's a truth snippet of who I am, what I like to eat, and my whole entire background."

Charity Morgan's debut cookbook — "Unbelievably Vegan: 100+ Life-Changing, Plant-Based Recipes" — can be purchased on Amazon. Treeline Cheese is offering a promotional package of "Unbelievably Vegan" and eight plant-based cheeses on their website.