What do you do? Plain and simple, I’m a cabaret diva and cookbook author. I’ve been putting on cabaret shows with live music and dance since 2006, and in 2014 I authored a vegan cookbook, Mistress Ginger Cooks: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone.
What’s your favorite song to perform? Ooh, what a great question! I’m a lover of popular song, and I’ve got such a voracious appetite… One of my faves to sing is "Bein' Green", the Kermit the Frog song. It’s at first so amusing to people when I start to sing it, and then it gets real deep real quick. It’s always moving.
What's your favorite J. Selby's menu item? I love The Philly, and here’s why: You can’t get a vegan “steak & cheese” sub anywhere else around here that I’m aware of. And I grew up eating those, so there’s a nostalgia there for me too. It’s delightful that I can have a delicious cruelty-free version of that quintessential comfort food.
What's your favorite thing to do in the Cities? I love going to hear live music, especially jazz vocals. And did you know the chef at the Dakota Jazz Club will fix up a vegan entree for you if you ask? Well, now you do.
What's your favorite animal? Probably cats because I live with two of them and they would be miffed if I didn’t say they are my favorites.
What is something you're passionate about? Why? I'm seriously passionate about people being free to live their truth. Maybe that brings us back to the song Bein Green. “I’m green, and it’s beautiful. It’s what I want to be…” I guess my passion grew from not always feeling that I had that freedom. Being LGBTQ from a small town, I've been through quite a journey with feeling like I didn't belong, being bullied and harassed, and then learning how to live my truth, to accept myself. And now here I am. So much of what I do on stage (and with my vegan cookery) is about lifting others up, giving them encouragement to own their fabulousity and flaunt it. It's a big old love-fest really.
What made you decide to follow the vegan diet/lifestyle? It was a whole chain of events, but the catalyst was the death of my kitty, So-hi, in 2001. I grieved over her death and then was like, why I am eating this chicken? Duh.
What is one piece of advice you'd offer to someone hoping to become vegan or eat plant-based? Relax that ass! Just let go of striving to be perfect. Being vegan is a practice, and it’s not black-and-white. Stay open, stay humble, and wear sequins. Your Mistress has spoken.