Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, an award-winning vegetable-only restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Born in Ottawa and raised in Toronto, Cohen moved to New York to attend university and never left.
Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in New York when it opened in 2008. The restaurant's original 18-seat location was open for 6 years and during that time became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive 2 stars from the New York Times, was recognized by the Michelin Guide 5 years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet Magazine, the Village Voice, and many others. Dirt Candy opened its new location in January 2015.
Cohen believes strongly in paying employees a better wage, so she eliminated tipping and instead increased menu prices by 20%. This allowed her to increase the pay of all staff, from dishwashers to servers.
Cohen was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef America and her comic book cookbook, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, is the first graphic novel cookbook to be published in North America. It's currently in its sixth printing.