Matthew Kenney: Plant-Based Culinary Guru (EP 49: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

I couldn’t have been more excited to interview plant-based culinary guru Matthew Kenney.


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*Links mentioned in the episode are at the bottom of this page.

With a career spanning decades, a lifestyle brand, and over fifty restaurants opened in his image or with his name, Matthew Kenney is someone I have great respect for. I was honored that he made the time to have this intriguing conversation for The Vegan Life Coach Podcast. 

Matthew Kenney, A Bio

Matthew Kenney is the founder and CEO of Matthew Kenney Cuisine (MKC). The MKC business is an integrated, California-based lifestyle company that provides high-quality products and services in the culinary arts and wellness markets. Matthew’s company, MKC, holds places in six business categories: education, hospitality, wellness, services, products, and media. They operate in more than ten major cities across the globe. 

Most of the work that MKC does is based on innovative and proprietary techniques that can help prepare minimally processed, plant-based foods that are refined and healthy. MKC sees things differently, especially when it comes to food. 

Everything Matthew’s company does is based on the desire to bring culinary art and ultimate nutrition together. 

Matthew, himself, is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City. He is the author of 18 cookbooks, operates 16 restaurants in ten countries over five continents. He has been named one of America’s Best New Chefs by Food & Wine Magazine. 

“A good chef can be a magician of sorts, but no amount of magic can make up for subpar ingredients. Being fanatical about quality is not something that only restaurant or professional chefs should take into consideration.”

My Conversation with Matthew Kenney

Over his career, more than fifty restaurants have been opened with Matthew Kenny’s help, and he can speak to the lessons that came with each experience. It’s crucial for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur, to be willing to take calculated risks. As intelligent as Matthew is, it was his passion that drove him at the beginning of his career, and it is one part of why he became so wildly successful. 

“Chefs can either be drug dealers or food healers.” 

When I brought up this quote to Matthew Kenney and told him how much I loved it, he explained to me how this quote is a little more sensational than his personality tends to be. However, he did mention that veganism can be equated to how everyone in the 80s, his parents included, smoked. Once doctors discovered how hazardous tobacco was to our health, and began disseminating this information, we eventually stopped allowing smoking in restaurants, in planes, and so on. Now, if someone tried to light up a cigarette in a plane, people would freak out!

While more provocative than how he tries to get his messages across to people, this analogy is something that Matthew can equate to eating a plant-based diet.

Matthew wants to be part of shifting the global food paradigm so that plants become the norm. Although he doesn’t believe in preaching or forcing anyone to follow his beliefs, he certainly has been the catalyst for countless people to rethink their food habits and make the transition to veganism. 

He feels motivated knowing he can bring positive change to the environment, animals, human health and get the opportunity to do something creative and fulfilling through spreading his passion. 

A raw vegan diet should be all plants that can be eaten raw or kept below a specific temperature (which there are some disagreements on) whole, plant-based, fruits, vegetables, healthy plant-based fats (avocado, coconut, sprouted seeds and nuts) and legumes.

Because there weren’t standardized techniques, gourmet vegan restaurants, or even gourmet vegan food for such a long time, there was no structure to Matthew’s vegan menus at first. He would come up with dishes during yoga or walking down the street and begin to experiment and create. 

When he opened his culinary school, he realized he needed structure to his planning, menus, and how to eat vegan. This opportunity gave the school so many various options to make new dishes (and from the looks of those dishes, they’re also pieces of art!). 

Because many of the students were from all over the world, they bring their knowledge of veganism to the school. Between that, the new methods Matthew was learning, and with the use of new tools that were used in vegan restaurants around the country, a new way to look at veganism in the culinary world began to form. 

This new view helped Matthew ultimately change how he developed new recipes and helped shape what we know about plant-based cuisine. 

Six or seven years ago, he began funneling down the possibilities of how to bring veganism into more focused ideas like vegan-French cuisine. He brought a test kitchen to California and has Michelin star chefs creating new recipes, and new techniques. 

While Matthew’s business is worldwide, he always knew that flying from place to place was not the most efficient use of his time. He wanted to use technology to supplement how his company worked. The pandemic, allowed him to use technology more effectively and helped his business, the school included, get a chance to dig into the technological realm. 

When I asked him what kitchen tool he can’t live without, Matthew replied, “a chef’s knife.” With a sharp knife, you can do everything. Everyone should have an outstanding chef’s knife and a sharpener. There are so many good options to finding a knife, so finding what feels good is the most important thing. The second, most important thing is to sharpen the blade on a sharpening stone every day. It will transform your cooking experience.

Three Question Sprint Round

List three staple ingredients you never let run out in your kitchen.

Olive oil, Lemon, and Seasalt. Or, if you’d like something a little more exciting, avocado, sauerkraut, and lemons.

A healthy dish anyone can make in minutes? 


If you were a non-human animal, what would you be? 

A fox. I love foxes, they are clever, but they play a lot. They have beautiful fur, and they love the outdoors.


Matthew Kenney’s Website

Food Future Institute

Matthew Kenney’s Instagram

Matthew Kenney’s Facebook Page



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A passionate vegan for the last 28 years, Ella Magers, MSW is a leading voice for revolutionary transformation in the fitness industry. Ella connects people with the information, tools, support, and guidance they need to develop holistically healthy habits, claim mental and emotional well-being, and live more fulfilling and fiercely compassionate lives. Ella is a professional speaker, published author, and coach. She is the spirited host of the inspiring Rise & Thrive Podcast and the Vegan Life Coach Podcast, founder of Sexy Fit Vegan®, and creator of the 22Reboot total transformation system. As a plant-based athlete and former bodybuilding champion, Ella was recognized as one of the world's top personal trainers by and Shape Magazine. Having healed from her own struggles with disordered eating, Ella Magers shows people that there are alternatives to crash diets and excessive workout regimens, and how to align their lifestyle with true health by using compassion as their compass. Ella is on the founding board of Hogs & Kisses Farm Sanctuary, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with the mission of creating the best possible life for farm animals while inspiring compassion for all living beings.


  1. AnnaReply

    Matthew Kenney started my journey on getting creative with my plant-based meals. Plus, as an avid photographer 🙂 .His work is an art-form that is not only food for your body but for your soul!

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