In the Spolight: Steven Petusevsky

by Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe 


We are so excited to introduce the newest member of our culinary team, the world renowed chef, Steven Petusevsky who is now the Director of Culinary Innovation. 

Steven Petusevsky, ’ CIA class 77,  is a highly acclaimed chef widely known as a pioneer in the pairing of health and exceptional taste. Chef Steve is currently the Director of Culinary Innovation for Native Foods Café, Americas premier fast casual vegan restaurant group, serving from scratch- chef crafted cuisine.

His culinary studies have taken him across the globe in search of innovative and authentic cooking techniques.  Robust earthy flavors and vibrant cuisines capture the influence and unique reinterpretations of ethnic dishes he is famous for creating. Chef Steve has been the National Director of Creative Food Development for Whole Foods Market, the largest natural food retail chain in the country. He wrote the book on natural foods, quite literally. He is the author of The Whole Foods Market Cookbook – a Guide to Natural Foods with 350 Recipes published by Clarkson Potter in the fall of 2002. Chef Steve is a celebrated food journalist with a vast readership. He writes special features for Cooking Light Magazine, and for more than four years, he was a contributing editor to Cooking Light, with a monthly column entitled Inspired Vegetarian. He wrote a weekly syndicated column called Vegetarian Today, for The Chicago Tribune news service, which was published in hundreds of newspapers across the nation for over a decade. Steve currently writes a regular feature column for with a readership of over 20 million. He is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where he was awarded a fellowship and served as Chef Instructor.  His  current book, The Diabetes Vegetarian Cookbook  is up for 4 awards including the prestigious James beard Award. His forthcoming book, Sizzle and Smoke: Diabetes Friendly Recipes for Charcoal, Gas and Stovetop Grills will be published by the American Diabetes Association in early 2014. (Plantation, FL).

We decided he would be the perfect, In the Spotlight, guest this month. 


1.)     What were you up to before joining the Native Foods team?

I've been in the food business from the time I was 14 and over the years I have worked around the globe. I was corporate chef for whole foods market for over a decade and wrote the whole foods market cookbook. I also write about food and travel and just completed my 4th book.


2.)     Have you had a lot of experience in the vegan cooking realm? 

For years I  have been developing vegan/ vegetarian and macro recipes for both retail market chains and restaurant groups. I help mainstream restaurant chains understand vegan and vegetarian diets and recipes.


3.)     What is your favorite thing to prepare?

I love any kind of Mediterranean foods from all countries. I’m a warm and sunny country food junkie


4.)     What are your favorite foods? 

I really enjoy interactive foods that you can eat with your hands- spring rolls, Vietnamese pancakes rolled into lettuce leaves and all kinds of dips, spreads, drizzles and spice sprinkles. Asian cuisine of all kinds is probably my all time favorite


5.)  If Native Foods could have any  thing on the menu what would you pick? 

Spicy green papaya or mango salad with Thai basil, sambal chili and fresh cilantro


6.)     Any food trends people might be surprised about? 

Rising trends in grains, plant based cuisine and global ethnic foods form smaller lessor known areas of the world


7.)     You were just at the Culinary Institute of America, learn anything cool about the future of food?

8.)     That we are not only headed in the right direction but ahead of the curve 


9.)  March is all about green, being green, eating green…what is your favorite green? 

I love lacinato kale, marinated and grilled- but avocado for sure the favorite green food !


10.) Do you find any challenges working exclusively with vegan cuisine?

I wish vegan cheese was a bit further along in quality and variety.


11.) What is your favorite Native Foods menu item? 

Our desserts and watermelon fresca are wonderful !


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