Each Friday in this space food writer Sarah Henry will ask a well-known, up-and-coming, or under-the-radar food aficionado about their favorite tastes in town, preferred food purveyors and other local culinary gems worth sharing with visitors and residents.

Bestselling cookbook author Mollie Katzen kick-starts this new column.

Mollie Katzen is perhaps best known for her whimsically illustrated, hand-lettered vegetarian classics Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

The author of a trio of popular children’s cookbooks, Pretend Soup, Honest Pretzels, and Salad People, Mollie played a major role in mainstreaming a plant-based diet in modern American kitchens.

Inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2007, her most recent book, Get Cooking, was recently nominated for an International Association of Culinary Professionals Award.

Mollie lives on the Berkeley-Kensington border and serves as a culinary advisor to UC-Berkeley.

1. What’s one of your favorite neighborhood restaurants?

Corso. I love the food that Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper serve. It’s perfect for me: So simple and yet so accessible and satisfying. Rustic, Italian fare.

2. Where do you like to shop for edible goods?

I’ve been going to Monterey Market three or four times a week for the past 30 years. I work from home, so that’s a great place for me to head for a little stress management. It’s like a second home. There’s been a recent ownership change and I wanted to see how things played out but it seems to still be its good self.

3. Where do you take out-of-town visitors to eat?

I cook for them at home. The truth is, I hardly ever eat out. When I’m not traveling I like to be in my own kitchen cooking for my family and friends.

If we do go out I like Fonda’s, Lalime’s and Tacubaya. If I’m near 4th Street I’ll stop by for some soup at Tacubaya and then all will be well with the world.

4. Is there a local food person you admire?

I think Michael Pollan is marvelous. He’s like a rock star of the food movement.

5. What hometown vittles do you miss when you’re away?

The coffee at Peet’s is hard to beat. Seattle is maybe the only other city in America where I can get a brew I like.

Learn more about Mollie Katzen in an interview over at Lettuce Eat Kale.

Photo: Lisa Keating

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