Chef Heather Sperling unites veggies and eggs in artfully delicious pairings

Chicago, IL (May 6, 2019) – The American Egg Board’s (AEB) latest segment of Incredible Egg Trends explores how plant-forward cuisine is taking over the center of the plate, accompanied by eggs — a versatile plant-friendly protein. Younger diners are leading the charge toward more flexitarian and vegetarian menu options, without leaving behind their older counterparts. A full 44% of all consumers want to increase their consumption of plant proteins, although women and younger eaters are more likely to order plant-forward dishes. Almost three-fourths of all restaurant operators, or 73%, aspire to or already offer vegetarian-focused menu items, according to Datassential.

Chef Heather Sperling, owner and proprietor of Botanica in Silver Lake, Calif., illustrates plant-forward cuisine in this segment of the AEB’s Incredible Egg Trends (IET). Sperling embraced plant-forward dining long before it started trending on menus around the country. Her enthusiasm for fresh produce bubbles over and infiltrates every aspect of her menu.

Plant forward doesn’t mean eliminating animal proteins, but rather opting for a healthy balance of both. “Plant forward to us,” says Sperling, “means that we use vegetables in every way possible and think a lot about incorporating vegetables into every dish. But we also use meat and seafood and eggs. Eggs are a huge part of what we do here.” In Sperling’s dish, Chickpeas with Spiced Tomato Sauce, Carrot & Preserved Lemon Salad and Poached Eggs, veggies artfully fill the center of the plate, while the poached eggs play a supporting yet integral role in the dish. “We have so much fun playing with creative ways of combining eggs and vegetables in really satisfying and wholesome dishes.”

Global Inspiration
Chef Sperling opened her restaurant with partner Emily Fiffer to great acclaim for their “vibrant, produce-driven artistry happening in the kitchen.” Named by Los Angeles Magazine as one of the 10 best new restaurants of 2017, Sperling honed her skills over the course of 20 years experimenting in the kitchen.

Like many successful chefs, Sperling soaked in the flavors and essence of global cuisine through a combination of family heritage and world travel. Her love of fresh produce and vegetable-centric cooking stems in equal parts from her Lebanese heritage and by the spices, scents and ambiance of plant-forward entrees popular in India, where she lived as a child. Bitten by the travel bug, she claims she “ate her way” around the world.

Local roots
“Chef Sperling makes plant-forward intoxicating in a craveable way as one of the industry’s leading proponents of plant-forward dining in Los Angeles,” says Phaedra Ruffalo, senior director, market development, American Egg Board. “From coast to coast, some of the hottest new restaurants feature plant-forward entrees, a smart move in an environment that sees younger consumers adopting ‘fresh’ at an earlier age, like Millennials and Generation Z. Fresh vegetable consumption is projected to increase another 10% over the next several years, but it needs a willing, working partner. And it can find it with the egg.”

This issue of Incredible Egg Trends chronicles the plant-forward menu phenomenon through restaurants across the country from Austin’s Better Half Coffee & Cocktails’ umami-rich Greens & Grains to Manhattan’s Latin Beet Kitchen with an Avocado Fresco Arepa, combining veggies with eggs. Find plant-forward recipe suggestions, nutritional information, consumer insights, a video of Chef Sperling cooking in her L.A. restaurant, and more at