When Tom Nütten and J.C. Perez, owner and chef, respectively, of Lamoraga, Naples, were approached about hosting a vegan event, they hesitated. Neither is vegan, and they had little experience. But, after discussing how to create vegan dishes while maintaining the quality and character of Lamoraga, “we accepted the challenge and never looked back,” Nütten says.
Perez and Nütten will unveil their newly revamped prix fixe menu for the next Vegan Dinner November 25. It features four plant-packed courses: a pan-fried veggie pancake with scallion and mango salsa; marinated, roasted beets with crispy onion, shaved radish, and horseradish mayo; a main course of king oyster mushroom “scallops” over roasted tomato risotto and coconut pesto (pictured); and house-made Belgian chocolate mousse. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to aplantbaseddiet.org, a Florida nonprofit that advocates for a “veganic whole plant lifestyle.” Overall, diners have been extremely positive, says Nütten, adding, “We realized that this event is not just for the vegan community. Lamoraga has become a restaurant where both vegan and meat eaters can enjoy a great meal in a beautiful setting together,” he says. “Everyone is happy!”