Southern Vegetarian Recipes: The Fiction Kitchen Dreams of Meatlessness

The Fiction Kitchen, a future vegetarian restaurant in Raleigh, is our Featured Kickstarter of the Day!

September 23, 2012 9:45 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Southern Cooking
When a vegetarian thinks about all the cuisines that feature delicious, meatless foods, one of the last that comes to mind is southern cooking and southern vegetarian recipes. With its focus on slow-cooked meats, deep-frying just about everything that walks the earth on four legs, and sticking fish and chicken stocks where the sun don't shine, American cuisine south of the Mason-Dixon is an exercise in how much meat you can handle. Even omnivores have been known to run for the hills. (Photo: Kickstarter)

When a vegetarian thinks about all the cuisines that feature delicious, meatless foods, one of the last that comes to mind is southern cooking and southern vegetarian recipes. With its focus on slow-cooked meats, deep-frying just about everything that walks the earth on four legs, and sticking fish and chicken stocks where the sun don't shine, American cuisine south of the Mason-Dixon is an exercise in how much meat you can handle. Even omnivores have been known to run for the hills.

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It's exactly that preconceived notion that Caroline Morrison and Siobhan Southern would like to shatter with their project to raise funds for The Fiction Kitchen, a restaurant based in Raleigh, N.C. that will serve up perfect, meat-free southern grub. If they meet their fundraising goal, then chances are you'll be leaving their restaurant feeling healthy, happy, and super-full. And best of all, you'll be leaving guilt-free.

Here's what they had to say about their project. If you're already sold, feel free to click through to The Fiction Kitchen's Kickstarter here.

FoodNRecipe's Anthony Smith: Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Fiction Kitchen's Siobhan Southern: I'm primarily an artist at heart, and I found my love early on for food and the ability to use it as another medium for creativity and beauty. Having worked for years in breads, confections, pastries and finishing cakes, I eventually decided to round out my kitchen experience in the savory realm.

Caroline worked at IBM for almost a decade, then realized that despite the confines of her cubicle, her mind was always wandering back to food: preparing it, tasting it, learning the science behind it and above all, celebrating the quality of fresh ingredients. Two years later she was graduating with honors from culinary school and juggling several different line cook positions at local restaurants. This summer, she was a guest chef with the team from the restaurant 518 West in a North Carolina cooking competition called Fire in the Triangle. She is now ready to concentrate on defining herself as one of the only vegetarian chefs in Raleigh.

Most recently, the two of us have been working with Bon Appetit Management Company at their SAS account which utilizes seasonal and local produce in an environment where each chef's creativity is encouraged. While each of us holdi down both full and part time jobs in local area kitchens, we have committed much of our "free" time over the last few years to focusing on what would become their biggest, most rewarding challenge yet: The Fiction Kitchen.

AS:What's your mission with Fiction Kitchen?
SS: Essentially it is two-fold: to prove there is actually a need for a vegetarian restaurant in Raleigh,which has traditionally been a very meat-reliant area, and to create a thriving new dining experience which is fun and offers cuisine that is fresh, innovative, locally-sourced and sustainable.

AS: Where does the Fiction Kitchen get its name?
SS: The name popped into Caroline's head one day while on a run and at the time worked for several reasons. One of those reasons was based in the idea of re-creating classic comfort food traditionally made with meat, but so deliciously that people couldn't believe it was vegetarian. Another reason is that while doing pop-up food events for a couple of years we had a faithful following, but no restaurant, so we really were a Fiction Kitchen. After a while the name just stuck and we decided to keep it as part of the fun culinary experience we want to create.

AS: Most people don't think vegetarian when they think southern cooking. How do you plan on combining them?
SS: For some dishes, it will be as simple as substituting a soy protein or other plant-based product for a classic meat protein, and leaving out things like meat stock or lard. For many of our dishes, we will primarily rely on the bounty of our state's agriculture to keep the freshest, tastiest food on the table using the best stuff the South has to offer.

AS: Can you give us sample menu items?
SS: Without revealing much about the menu (we want to keep some element of surprise when we open in a few months), I can tell you we will offer several classic favorites from previous brunches or other food events we've done. I can also promise that we will have much more than just Southern classics... there will definitely be some global comfort food favorites of ours as well as dishes inspired by fresh produce and years of experimenting with food. We want to offer Raleigh the kind of food they can't already find on another menu in town! There will also be many vegan and gluten-free options on our menu at all times.

Editor's Note: That sounds amazing.

AS: How and where have you been marketing your Kickstarter?
SS: We have been posting regularly on social media sites like our Facebook and Twitter pages, and currently are in the process of doing some interviews for local papers and blog sites. In addition to this, we have been hanging flyers around town the 'old school' way, and in our free time attending as many big public events as we can (like The Hopscotch Music Festival, Sparkcon, local markets and art events) to spread the word around.

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To learn more about this project that's going to rock Raleigh to its core, check out The Fiction Kitchen's Kickstarter here.



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