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INTERVIEW: Chef Amanda Cohen On The Lekka Burger, A Vegan, Plant-Powered Patty

Nicole Barylski

Lekka co-founder Andrea Kerzner with The Real Housewives Of New York City's Ramona Singer with a Lekka Burger. (Courtesy Photo)

For the first time ever, the plant-powered Lekka Burger will be available beyond the Manhattan-based eatery.

Created by Lekka Burger co-founders Chef Amanda Cohen and Andrea Kerzner, the tasty vegan patty consists of five vegetables and a handful of secret grains and spices.

We caught up with Chef Cohen, a 2018 James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef: New York City, and Iron Chef regular - on Food Network's Iron Chef Canada, about the plant-based movement, her go-to burger arrangement and more.

Plant-based meals have become quite popular lately, but it's something you've focused on for 20 years. What initially got you interested in highlighting vegetables?

AC: I've always felt vegetables were misunderstood. In general, people don't really get excited about vegetables. Yes, they're a healthy part of our diet, but what about fulfilling, necessary, life-sustaining, or fun? At Dirt Candy and Lekka, I'm dedicated to taking back the vegetable, and showing people how creative and versatile vegetables can be.

What inspired the Lekka Burger?

AC: My business partner and Lekka co-founder Andrea Kerzner had a vision to create a really delicious plant-based burger offered at an accessible price point. A burger that could hold it's own on the grill and covered in bold, flavorful sauces. We partnered because of her passion for sustainability and my background in making vegetables taste good.

Is this the first time that the plant-powered burger patties are available in the Hamptons?

AC: We are shipping nationally on Goldbelly starting Friday (7/16), so yes—this is the first time! These burgers are perfect for throwing on the grill at your socially distanced pool party. Meat lovers and vegans alike will enjoy them, I promise.

Between the array of speciality sauces - like the spicy cheese sauce, coconut chutney, hatch chili sauce, peri peri sauce, and herb mayo - or the classics (mustard, vegan mayo, and ketchup) and all the toppings, there's so many ways to arrange the Lekka Burger. What's your go-to arrangement?

AC: I am a huge fan of our cheese sauce (made from butter beans!), so my go-to is the classic Lekka Cheeseburger with pickles. When we first re-opened during the pandemic, we didn't have our Peri Peri on the menu and our fans were distraught. We had to bring it back ASAP (it's available on Goldbelly, also). The burgers really carry the char-flavor from the grill, so even basic ketchup and mustard is a perfect pairing. You really can't go wrong.

For more information, visit www.lekkaburger.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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