A Decadent Eight Course Vegan Tasting Menu for The Illuminati Ball

For the last few months I have been creating and perfecting the menu for the immersive excursion “The Illuminati Ball”  created by artist, protectress of animals and all around bad ass Cynthia Von Buhler.

The Illuminati Ball is a surrealist soirée that includes intricate cocktails, mouth-watering delicacies, inspiring music, devilish dances and esoteric rituals. The guests are picked up in Manhattan and taken by limousine to a secret lakeside estate.   Depending on how the guests choose to participate, the guests may be involved in power struggles, morality tests, and anthropomorphic escapades.  The experience is inspired by the famed “Illuminati Ball” thrown by the Baroness and Baron de Rothschild in 1972.  68Kr7EtrMy goal was to create a decadent meal worthy of the sumptuous atmosphere of the ball, but also to ultimately leave the guests feeling like they had eaten real, nourishing food.   I don’t want to give too much away about the piece but, for reasons both solidly dramaturgical and subtly subversive, the menu needed to be entirely vegan.  Additionally, the menu is totally gluten-free, because it’s important that the chef (me) be able to taste the food!  This project has been an exciting challenge and I’m very proud of the menu.

You can click on the hyperlinks to find the recipes.  Many thanks to Claire Matern of A Cheesemonger’s Daughter for coming to help cook at the last April show and for taking some of the very beautiful photos of the plated food on the grounds of the estate.


For the table: Beet Caviar on Seed and Nut Bread or Tomato Eggplant Appetizer with Sweet Moroccan Spices and Savory Seed Crackers or Zingy Ginger Pumpkin Spread


First course: Sautéed and Salted Medjool Dates



Second Course: Spiced Carrots with Avocado Tahini Sauce and Pistachios


photo by Claire Matern


Third Course:  Curried Lentil Salad served on Spicy Greens

Curried Lentil Salad


Fourth Course: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Sweet Sriracha Lime Sauce  or Charred Broccolini with Forbidden Rice and Sweet Sriracha Lime Sauce

Fifth Course: Mushroom Soup with Cashew Cream or Tangy Cold Pea Soup or Watermelon Gazpacho

Sixth Course: Celery Salad with Green Olives and Mint


photo by Claire Matern


Seventh Course: Crispy Yuba Mock Duck with Vietnamese Pickles and HerbsIMG_8821


Eighth Course: Creamy Lime Shots with Dark Chocolate and Ginger or Cardamom Cashew Cream and Rhubarb Rose Parfait (the rhubarb is swapped out with strawberries and nectarines seasonally) or Spiced Plum and Chocolate Cashew Cream Parfait.





About Big Sis Little Dish

This is a blog run by two sisters. Erin is the big sister who lives in New York, and Silvi is the little sister who lives in Vancouver. They both love to cook! They created this blog to share and store recipes for the food they make.


  1. Wow this looks so great, very impressive!

  2. That all looks soooo good. Lucky people. Good work!

  3. Wish I had been there – amazing work

  4. Pingback: Charred Broccolini with Black Forbidden Rice and Sweet, Spicy Lime Sauce | Big Sis Little Dish

  5. Pingback: Cardamom Cashew Cream and Rhubarb Rose Parfait (vegan) | Big Sis Little Dish

  6. Pingback: Tangy Cold Pea Soup (vegan and not vegan) | Big Sis Little Dish

  7. Thank you for making me the cold pea soup. The menu is fantastic. Each dish is a work of art.

  8. Pingback: Tomato Eggplant Appetizer with Sweet Moroccan Spices/ Savory Seed Crackers (Vegan and Gluten-Free) | Big Sis Little Dish

  9. Pingback: Watermelon Gazpacho (Vegan and Gluten-Free) | Big Sis Little Dish

  10. Pingback: Spiced Plum and Chocolate Cashew Cream Parfait (Vegan) | Big Sis Little Dish

  11. Pingback: Zingy Ginger Pumpkin Spread | Big Sis Little Dish

  12. The food was fabulous, thank you for sharing the recipes! And I’m so excited to see recipes from events earlier in the season! They all look delicious!

  13. Pingback: Creamy Butternut Soup with Miso and Paprika (Vegan) | Big Sis Little Dish

  14. Pingback: Kasha and Beet Salad/ Estonian Folktale Dinner | Big Sis Little Dish

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