Chef Ron Pickarski is an Executive Chef and founder of American Natural Foods. Chef Ron discovered the medicinal benefits of a vegetarian diet over 45 years ago, and since then, he has spent his life creating Classical and Modern American plant-based recipes and developing and perfecting plant-based cuisine for use in the home and in professional kitchens. In 1978, Chef Ron took to the world stage of the International Culinary Olympics (IKA) to give vegetarian cuisine a contemporary and upscale image. From 1980 to 1996, he led his American Natural Foods team to win seven medals (gold, silver, and bronze) using only vegan plant-based foods and was the first chef in the history of that prestigious event to do so.
After completing 20 years of Culinary Olympic Competition, Ron’s goal was to translate what he and his team accomplished at the IKA into American food service operations. In 1991, as America’s first plant-based culinologist, he founded Eco-Cuisine, Inc. as a plant-based business platform to operationally and cost-effectively integrate a modern interpretation of vegan cuisine into the US food service industry. Eco-Cuisine is a major sponsor of the ANF, donating countless hours of service and innovation to bring its expertise to the ANF. Today, Eco-Cuisine food products can be found in food service operations nationally. Chef Ron spends a significant amount of time developing recipes and products in Eco-Cuisine’s kitchen and lab as well as educating food service operators and the general public on the art of plant based cuisine.
Chef Ron is looked upon as a pioneer for his 45 years of developing and promoting plant-based cuisine in the professional arena. The Olympic medals, books, awards, and honors in his career are an acknowledgement that his efforts are making a difference in helping vegetarianism emerge as a 21st century Renaissance cuisine. In 2016 he was chosen by the UN FAO to represent North America in the 2016 International Year of the Pulse, and presented his work on taking pulses to entree status at the United Nations World Soil Conference. He has also made numerous television appearances and written four cookbooks. Some of the publications he has been featured in include Vegetarian Times, Art Culinaire, The National Culinary Review, Saturday Evening Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Chicago Sun Times, and Los Angeles Times.