What stirred Johannes Vermeer to paint his Girl with a Pearl Earring masterpiece? Why did Billy Joel compose Uptown Girl? Love. The same reason Crossroads Kitchen’s Chef Tal Ronnen took the vegan path and is now the maestro of exquisite plant-based cuisine. Wanting to impress a cute vegan girl in high school, young Chef Tal traded his steaks in for soybeans. His infatuation may not have turned into marriage. However, Chef Tal’s flair for turning veggies into haute cuisine certainly caught the eye of Oprah. (America’s beloved chat show host.) And no wonder. At Crossroads Kitchen, a cheese board with vegan Boursin and Brie served with dense nutty raisin bread had this writer swooning.