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Short ribs and baby octopus may dominate many menus in the city, but that doesn’t mean local chefs can’t find love in an acorn squash. In our ongoing series, Chefs Veg Out, we’ll prove D.C.’s chefs can play with more than just meat.

  • NameAnnie Leconte
  • Title: Co-Founder (with husband, Didier Leconte, and son, Eric Leconte) and Nutritional Chef (certified to verify nutritional analysis)
  • Restaurant: Litestars
  • Twitter: @Litestars
  • Cooking Since: Forever. It started with my mother when I was 11 or 12 because I was able to read recipes. Every time we had guests I was the one that wanted to try the new recipes and that made my mother nervous. This is my first venture in restaurants.
  • Random Fact: I’m a swimmer. I like the backstroke.
  • Favorite Vegetable: I like butternut squash because it’s sweeter, but not too sweet.
  • Least Favorite Vegetable: Brussels sprouts because I think it’s too sour. I have a kind of sweet tooth. Back in France, my mother and father liked it. But I never did.
  • Memorable Meatless Dish: Tomato tartlets. My mother made tarts: it’s based on tomatoes and fresh herbs and just a bit of cheese, but mainly tomatoes roasted in the oven. It’s very pure. It’s what we call the pizza of tartlets. The recipe I’m using [at Litestars] is her recipe.
  • Best Vegetable Dish at Litestars: Wheatberry and cranberry salad, as part of our gourmet salads. It’s simple, it fills you up and its a wholesome food.
  • Quick and Dirty Meatless Idea: I make this nice salad of carrots with bean sprouts. It has an Asian taste with garlic and raisins, a combination of sour and sweetness. The dressing is a mix of canola oil (it’s the good fat and less expensive than olive oil) and vinegar.

Photo courtesy of Julie Woodford