Before the milquetoast ministrations of Thug Kitchen, there was a plant-based Prince of Darkness: the (faux) leather-clad culinarian known as the Vegan Black Metal Chef.
The horrifying herbivore drew more than two million YouTube views for the first episode of his online cooking show, where recipes are roared, screamed, and sung to the tune of original black metal music. With lyrics like, "Seitan, I release you from this prison and summon you upon my altar," what's not to love?
Brian Manowitz, as he's also known IRL, cooks up his apocalyptic kitchen creations in what appears to be a well-equipped dungeon, complete with candles, skulls, studded walls, a pentagram-adorned cutting board, spiked pots, and knives crafted by "the finest artisans in hell."
Since Halloween is right around the corner, we spoke to the meat-free fiend about why we should "Hail Seitan," how regular cooking shows are boring, and why Miami might be the gateway to hell.
New Times: Aren't black metal dudes usually into biting the heads off of birds and such?
Brian Manowitz: I think that's usually more putting the heads on pikes. It's hard to bite the head off a carrot.
Why the pairing of black metal and veganism?
Veganism and black metal have nothing to do with each other at their core. I've been vegan now for about 14 or so years. When I first started doing the videos three years ago I was vegan for around 11 or so years. I decided, "Hey, my meals taste fantastic, they're cheap as hell to make, and they're not difficult." It's kind of everything people thing veganism isn't. I said, "Hey, I've gotta show the world this somehow." I thought about doing some kind of regular cooking show but cooking shows put me to fucking sleep. I combined my passion for making music, black metal in particular, and really made the cooking show I wanted to see.
Why should we all hail Seitan?
Seitan is awesome. It's wheat protein. The media and various outlets have done a pretty good job of freaking people out when they say "wheat gluten." Unless you're allergic to the stuff (i.e.: Celiac disease), it's a fantastic protein. It tastes great and it's incredibly cheap to make. You can make it yourself out of vital wheat gluten powder and mix it with the vegetable broth to make the dough, then boil or baste that. You'll have seitan for the entire week or week and a half. You can do a lot of things with it.
I'm not gonna say that's where vegans get their protein -- there's protein in everything.
I know bodybuilders that mostly eat fruit. We can officially end this paranoia because getting your protein is not even a thing. How do you get your protein? You eat anything.
Are you dressing up for Halloween?
My cooking demo is on Halloween so I'll be in full form. I don't even have to think of a costume. I'll just go as me.
Since you live in Orlando, have you ever been to the Holy Land Experience?
I have not yet. If I ever get a free ticket I will go there and take as many pictures as possible.
Would you call Orlando the gateway to Hell?
It's definitely the gateway to something ... Orlando is pretty awesome actually. I think Miami is closer to the gateway then hell than Orlando [laughs]. As one of my friends from Seattle said, Orlando is the most amazing place ever for none of the reasons anyone knows or cares about.
Is it vegan friendly?
Orlando has a surprisingly large vegan option scene. There are several all-vegan places and many others just within the community that obviously cater to vegans. You can get a vegan cupcake or carrot cake or vegan light snack 24 hours a day, four out of the seven days a week at Austin's Coffee.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.