The Tenth Degree: Amanda Cohen

She may not be a fan of having dead people at her dinner table (don’t ask), but she is a fan of parsley and all-you-can-eat buffets.

By Sophie Brickman

Published on March 25, 2015

Her cookbook is a graphic novel, and in today's paleo-sanctioned culinary moment, when tomahawk steaks and pork butts dominate, her award-winning vegetarian restaurant has gained such popularity that she recently moved its location from teensie digs to bigger ones. Ladies and germs, meet Amanda Cohen, chef-owner of Manhattan's Dirt Candy, who fearlessly goes against the grain and took the challenge of Saveur's Tenth Degree, chatting with us about taking off her pants, 50 Shades of Grey, and a few other choice tidbits.

What is your favorite sandwich?
I try not to play favorites with my sandwiches because it makes them harder to eat.

Your house is on fire and you can only save one thing. What is it and why?
Let it burn. A house fire would be a welcome way to clean the clutter out of my life right now.

What book(s) is on your bedside table right now?
50 Shades of Grey. My husband and I are working our way through the recipes.

You're having a dinner party and can invite three people, dead or alive, and serve them one thing. Who are they, what do you serve, and why?
I think having dead people at a table is against health code, so I'd be nervous about this entire event.

What is your greatest fear?
Being invited to a dinner party where any of the other guests are dead.

What is the most overrated ingredient? Underrated?
Anything that costs more than $10/pound is overrated. That's not an ingredient, that's a treat. And nothing is more underrated than parsley. It is to vegetables what salt is to meat.

You can have any superpower. What is it and why?
I wish everything I touched turned to gold. It's foolproof.

What's the first thing you learned to cook?
A very 80's pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes.

What is the best advice you've ever gotten, and from whom?
"Take off your pants," passed along to me by Jesus, one of my line cooks after I dumped two gallons of boiling soup down my pants during service. I was standing there in shock and if he hadn't told me to do that I would have wound up getting skin grafts.

What do you want as a final meal?
An all-you-can-eat buffet. I can make that thing last forever.

If there are questions you think we should be asking and aren’t, feel free to email

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