Brian Patton '00
Public Relations | Los Angeles, Calif.
An Ordinary Dude with Extraordinary Food
On 2000 graduate Brian L. Patton’s YouTube page, his alter ego, The Sexy Vegan, merrily strums a guitar and croons, “But seriously, you shouldn’t eat meat.”
Patton studied public relations at Susquehanna and has fond memories of watching omelets being prepared in Evert Dining Room. “When I moved off campus, I lived next to I.T. Express, so it was pizza and strombolis from there on out!”
After a yearlong marketing stint in northeastern Pennsylvania, Patton moved to Los Angeles and became addicted to cooking shows. He fostered his culinary appetite at a small café, preferring a hands-on approach to food preparation over formal schooling. Once the owner trained Patton in all things food—“not just making dishes; prepping, organizing, taking inventory, produce ordering, essentially managing the entire kitchen” —she left the café in his hands. “We were staffed with one waitress, one dishwasher and myself. Was it stressful? Yes. Did I want to drive my car off the Santa Monica Pier on a daily basis? Yes. But it was also an experience of inestimable value,” he says.
After Patton began working at a friend’s vegan delivery service, Vegin’ Out, he realized that his love of food was backfiring on his health, and decided to emulate his new co-workers by eliminating animal products from his diet. A month-long pledge turned into a lifelong commitment as Patton felt better, lost weight and gained energy. “Once I discovered how easy eating vegan was, and how good it made me feel, I didn't see the need to go back,” Patton said.
In 2007, Patton posted a YouTube video under the alias “The Sexy Vegan.” In the video, shot cooking show-style, Patton makes guacamole and declares, “Sorry, pervs, no hot chicks here… just good food that won’t kill ya’.” As his YouTube popularity and culinary talent grew, Patton added more videos on vegan-style dishes: pancakes, ice cream, even Thanksgiving dinner and poutine, all served up with a dash of crude humor, absurdity, and sometimes a song.
Patton was approached by New World Library two years ago, and after confirming that the book publisher was “a real company, and not one of my idiot friends messing with me,” Patton agreed to write The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude, which was published in March. Within three months, it had claimed two bestselling ranks on Amazon.com. The book provides recipes that bridge the gap between omnivores and vegans, and retains the same edginess portrayed in his YouTube videos. Recipes include “Et Tu, Tempeh?” and “Kajillion Island Dressing.”
Patton’s success as The Sexy Vegan has led him to demonstrations at restaurants all over Southern California. He is now the executive chef at Vegin’ Out and continues to make YouTube videos, jamming on his ukulele to songs about simmering artichokes and roasted red pepper hummus.
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