Keepin’ It Real

Thug Kitchen Creators Dish on Vegan Recipes Blog in Gangster Voice

The Thug Kitchen folks tell Jean Trinh about their gangster vegan-cooking blog and fan Gwyneth Paltrow.

Thug Kitchen isn’t a place for wimpy cooks or for carnivores. It’s a place for readers to find some healthy vegan cooking recipes and a hilarious dose of f-bombs. Since the Tumblr started in August 2012, it has garnered more than 126,000 likes on their Facebook page, won Saveur magazine’s best new food blog award last month, and even got some love from Gwyneth Paltrow on The Rachael Ray Show. It’s gotten so popular that a Thug Kitchen cookbook is now in the works.

Not too shabby for a relatively new blog in an arena that not only offers recipes on dishes like Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos or Tucson Tempeh Pasta, but also dispenses advice on healthy living in general. In Thug Kitchen’s posts, the authors tell readers to “drink some goddamn water” and give tips on feeding frozen peas to dogs to make their coats “shiny as fuck.”

The blog gives such a refreshing take on recipes and perfectly captures the joy of cooking that it’s not surprising it snagged the Saveur award. Instead of instructing readers to just take a baking sheet full of vegetables out of the oven, the authors give the warning, “don’t fucking burn yourself.” And even though the broccoli will look a tad burnt, the site reassures fans “that is the plan so chill the fuck out and take it out of the oven.” Thug Kitchen also talks to millennials in meme-speak, using some crisp macro-photography overlaid with tongue-in-cheek jokes. In one of photos of a black bean and cilantro pesto wrap, it’s captioned with, “This protein-packed cilantro laced shit is refreshing as fuck. Grub on this. Go to the gym. Fuck membership fees. Lift cars in the parking lot. Sign autographs.”

The Thug Kitchen collective is a group of people who intend to remain anonymous, and who strive to focus on spreading the good word about healthy cooking and food accessibility. On the website, they mention that “everyone deserves to feel a part of our country’s push toward a healthier diet, not just people with disposable income who speak a certain way.” The folks at the blog agreed to do an interview with The Daily Beast over email, in an effort to keep up the mystery behind the kitchen.

How did you come up with the idea to start Thug Kitchen?

We thought it was time for some real talk about some real fucking food. Since this is how we talk in the kitchen, the idea for the site just came naturally. Many cooking blogs make healthy eating seem like some expensive hobby and that just isn’t our scene.

What do you hope readers will gain from your recipes?

Straight kitchen knowledge. We want people talking about healthy eating who aren't usually invited to that conversation. The recipes help people see that this shit isn’t as hard as you think. You don’t have to spend $40 and 4 hours every night just to have a nice dinner. We want to help your ass out.

You recently won Saveur's best new food blog award. How did it feel hearing you won?

It was really fucking amazing. We were nominated against some really classy motherfuckers so it was great just to get noticed. We still can’t believe it.

Gwyneth Paltrow gave your blog a shout-out on The Rachael Ray Show. How has the response been to your website since that?

Gwyneth also said on GOOP that we were her favorite thing ever. She has been really fucking cool to us and helped a lot of people find our site that wouldn’t have noticed us otherwise. They seem to really like our shit. We need to cook her dinner or buy her a fucking drink or something.

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Could you tell me more about what fans can expect from your upcoming book?

We may be funny but we aren't fucking around. It will have our best unseen recipes, lots of crazy stories, and kitchen knowledge to help your game. There will be some unexpected stuff too. Our last post was for dog treats which surprised readers and we're looking to do more content that people wouldn't imagine.