A popular (and, in my opinion, very sad) Italian chef called Gianfranco Vissani has been criticised after he likened vegans to members of a sect and claimed he would “kill them all” during a TV cooking show.
The restaurateur made the comments during a discussion on cooking programme ‘In Onda’ about molecular gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy is a subdiscipline of food science that seeks to investigate the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients that occur in cooking, but it is also known as multi-sensory cooking, culinary physics and experimental cuisine. So it really has nothing to do with veganism in particular, which makes Vissani’s outburst all the more sudden and bizarre.
So here’s what happened! Vissani responded to his co-presenter’s description of molecular gastronomy as a lifestyle and said, “What do you mean, like vegans? Vegans are like members of a sect, they’re like Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Another chef, Davide Oldani, told him not to say such rubbish and Vissani responded by claiming: “But it’s true. And I mean vegans, not vegetarians. What would I do with the vegans? I would kill them all.” A ray of sunshine, isn’t he?
He received backlash for his ridiculous comments (rightly so), and he only succeeded in coming across as irrationally violent and ignorant of veganism. Who knows, maybe that was his intention, but probably not.
I feel we’re going to see more and more of this nonsense as veganism grows in popularity. The problem, in my opinion, is that omnis who are vehemently anti-vegan are usually that way because of two reasons:
1) They have never looked into veganism. As humans, they like to think they are good people and not causing harm to anyone, and the prospect of that belief being turned on its head is shocking to them, so they reject it. What else are they to do? I understand, I was the same way before I was a vegan.
2) They know that veganism benefits human health, the environment and spares sentient creatures from being killed for their flesh, and because they have no facts to back up why they still insist on eating meat, they attack vegans as being “extremists” or “a cult”. They can’t find a negative side-effect of veganism, so instead they attack vegans individually. It’s a pattern I see constantly.
Although I think the rise of veganism will result in a lot more negative commentary, it is also obviously a good thing as more and more people are becoming aware of what they’re putting in their bodies and are questioning where it comes from (or, more accurately, who it comes from).
Recently, the media peddled many articles on how Italy was going to jail all the vegans if they “forced” their children to be vegan as well. I didn’t want to contribute to such nonsense so I didn’t address it before now, but I’ll tack my two cents on here. Obviously it’s just sensationalist clickbait and the media, as it usually does, made a mountain out of a molehill. The topic “went viral” after Elvira Savino of the Forza Italia party called for parents who give their children what she believes to be “an inadequate diet” should face up to four years in jail. Anti-vegans decided to latch onto it and make it out to be a certainty rather than the silly proposal that it was.
The Mayor of Turin, on the other hand, has encouraged vegan and vegetarian diets in the city for the protection of the environment, animals and people’s health. It’s always great to see people in positions of influence encouraging veganism.
As for Vissani? I hope he either looks into veganism and sees the truth for himself, and if he already has, I hope eventually he will see the damage he is doing to the animal populations, his own health and the health of his customers, and our world.