The Vegetarian Gourmet

Raised in Switzerland among people who grew most of their own food, I spent a lot of time on my grandparents’ small farm outside of Bern. Although my grandparents were poor, they enjoyed a diet associated with privilege by today’s standards ‒ fresh organic fruits and vegetables, fresh organic eggs, milk and cream, fresh butter, free-range chicken, and wildflower honey.

On a small farm, everyone pitches in. I understood, as a young child, that our entire day revolved around putting food on the table. The highlight of each day was sitting around the table with family and friends to enjoy a meal together. Following WWII, many people were in survival mode, and there weren’t many pleasures to look forward to. So working to produce food, and preparing it in the tastiest way possible was a way of saying “I love you, you matter to me.”

My family instilled in me a deep sense of quality and workmanship – being poor was nothing to be ashamed of, but producing something of shoddy quality was. So we always offered our best. When I cater an event, I commit to creating the best possible meal within your budget. It’s what gives me pleasure. When preparing your meal, I select only the freshest, organic, high quality, locally sourced, and sustainably raised ingredients.

In every culture, life’s milestones are celebrated with sharing food in community – it’s the oldest ritual known to humankind. When early humans figured out how to gather food in an organized manner, it marked the beginning of human society. No matter how intimate or grand your event, I am honored to be part of your special celebration, and it gives me pleasure to witness your guests’ delight when eating delicious and healthy food. Eating wonderful food is one of life’s great pleasures, and I believe that healthy, fresh food is everyone’s birthright.


Margaret Riesen

Founder & Chef

Chef Margaret of The Vegetarian Gourmet


The Vegetarian Gourmet
344 20th St
Oakland, CA 94612


For over 25 years, The Vegetarian Gourmet has delighted vegans, vegetarians, and non-vegetarians alike with sustainable, delicious, chef-inspired food from around the world.

Book Margaret

Nutritional Education Speaker

With a background in Biology and a personal preference for a mostly plant-based diet, Margaret is passionate about helping people optimize their health through proper nutrition. As a former culinary instructor at Contra Costa College, Piedmont Adult School, and Santa Barbara Community College, Margaret is now offering nutrition education seminars for businesses and organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay area. To maximize your team’s health and wellbeing through proper nutrition education, contact us to inquire about booking Margaret for a speaking engagement.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about our vegan and vegetarian catering menu options or to request a quote, contact us today.