Veganism isn’t a new practice for DeRossi. He was a vegetarian and then vegan for years before falling into the hospitality industry, where he got “sucked into” eating and drinking everything, he says. DeRossi returned to a mostly vegan diet a while ago, with the exception of tasting items that go on his restaurant’s menus for quality control. Besides opening Avant Garden last year, he also kicked off a nonprofit against animal cruelty called BEAST.
But a new fervor overtook DeRossi last Christmas, when his cat Simon was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The restaurateur retreated to spend time with his pet, ultimately spending weeks contemplating life. DeRossi decided it was time to follow-through on his goal of doing more vegan projects.[…]