Michael Newman is the muscle chef who rose to national fame in Fox’s “MasterChef: Legends.” The Asbury Park, NJ resident is also the co-founder of lifestyle brand JerseyStyle, along with his wife and partner Basia, and is a proud vegan.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, the popular social media personality and ‘Relationship Sexpert’ shares how to celebrate the big ‘JerseyStyle’ day.
Newman also shares an exclusive vegan recipe for making the perfect “Vegan Loaded Potato Cauliflower Gratin”. (Try saying that after a few Thanksgiving drinks!)
M&F: What makes Thanksgiving a JerseyStyle Thanksgiving?
Michael Newman: A JerseyStyle Thanksgiving is all about being around loving, positive, like-minded people. These people should share the same visions and desires, which will help teach people to love themselves and others…so they can live their best life!
How would you describe JerseyStyle to a stranger?
The way I would sum JerseyStyle to an outsider would be to describe my wife Basia and I as self-love enthusiasts, or life lovers! Using the common emotional connection of food makes us more accessible and helps people feel comfortable talking about the emotional connections they have in their personal lives.
It all starts with health, fitness and learning to love yourself for who you are. Once you do that, you can start learning to love others too. When you are healthy, feel good about yourself, eat healthy, etc., you exude confidence that is unmistakable. You can feel it in your mind, body, and soul, and these energies are not only transferred to others around you, just like positive or negative energies, but you also begin to experience these feelings, leading to a lifestyle happier and healthier, and that’s what JerseyStyle really means to me and my wife.
As someone who follows a vegan lifestyle, do you cook meat for other guests?
Yes! Absolutely! I always make non-vegan dishes, including ham and turkey, candied yams, coleslaw, and other delicious non-vegan dishes. I especially love cooking pecan pie and my famous cannoli cake for those I love.
Thanksgiving can be stressful for chefs. Do you prefer small or large groups when cooking for guests?
I enjoy cooking for people, regardless of the size of the group. Whether it’s family or friends, or just my wife and me. It’s just a joy, and I love nothing more than making people happy…and my cooking will do that!
I find cooking for smaller, intimate groups to be more rewarding for me personally. That’s not to say that catering for a large group of, say, 100+ people doesn’t have its perks, like the pride of running a service that runs so smoothly.
What I really love about cooking for small groups is the immediate feedback I get from guests. Quality control and attention to detail can be much more focused. When guests love something you’ve made for them, especially if it’s something they’ve never tried before, I love the feeling I get from creating those positive reactions and experiences!
Vegan cauliflower and potato gratin
The skilled chef likes to contribute vegan sides and desserts for big Thanksgiving family dinners, and also enjoys inviting vegan guests to his dinner parties so they can share in the full vegan experience. He calls these small gatherings “Friendsgiving” and says anyone who needs a warm, loving and positive space is welcome. With dishes like below, we are on our way!