Sarah Kramer, cookbook author, chef, vegan food advocate (born 27 June 1968 in Regina, SK). Named “The World’s Coolest Vegan” by Herbivore magazine, Kramer’s first cookbook is affectionately known as “the vegan bible” by her animal-free fans, and remains a bestseller.
Kramer grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, raised by artistic parents who started the province’s first professional theatre company, the Globe Theatre, in 1966. Although her father was a meat-lover, her mother was in charge of the kitchen and a vegetarian. When Kramer’s mother died from ovarian cancer her father continued to raise his then 10-year-old daughter in a meat-free household, out of respect for his late-wife’s values. She credits this early introduction to animal-free eating as one of the reasons she became a vegan.
Although Kramer experimented with eating meat for the first time in high school, she always felt guilty about it. In 1988, at the age of 20, she moved from Regina to Victoria, BC, for a change of scenery. She started experimenting in the kitchen, slowly learning the dishes her mom used to make. She described herself as a “lazy vegetarian,” —occasionally dabbling in bacon and sandwich meat. Then her health started deteriorating and eventually she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. After consulting numerous books and over 10 doctors on the subject, Kramer decided that a vegan lifestyle would be the best solution.
First Cookbook: How It All Vegan!
In 1998, Kramer and her best friend, Tanya Bernard, brainstormed ideas for inexpensive Christmas gifts for family and friends. The result was a homemade, hand-bound, indie-style magazine full of their favourite vegan recipes. After receiving an enthusiastic response, they photocopied another run of 1,000 that they sold over the Internet and at punk rock shows. Their supply ran out almost immediately. Kramer approached Arsenal Pulp Press and secured a book deal in three days. How It All Vegan!, her first cookbook, co-authored with Bernard, was published in 1999.
How It All Vegan!, dubbed “the vegan bible” by readers, is highly recommended by vegan publications and blogs to both newly converted and veteran vegan cooks. It is also Arsenal Press’s bestselling title to date with over 150,000 copies sold worldwide. In addition to having easy-to-follow recipes written in an approachable, unpretentious tone, the book has tips for living a vegan lifestyle outside of the kitchen, with DIY instructions on how to make household, health and beauty products.
Kramer and Bernard followed it up with a sequel in 2003, The Garden of Vegan. In 2005, Kramer released La Dolce Vegan!, followed by a pocket-sized vegan travel companion book, Vegan à Go-Go! in 2008. Arsenal Press released a tenth-anniversary edition of How It All Vegan! in 2009.
Kramer’s cookbooks remain bestsellers in Canada and around the globe. They have won numerous awards from vegan publications such as VegNews magazine’s Veggie Awards and the now-defunct Herbivore magazine, which dubbed Kramer “The World’s Coolest Vegan” in 2003. Kramer’s signature punk-rock style of playful makeup, print dresses and colourful tattoos combined with her warm, honest personality have endeared her to the vegan community in Canada and the United States.
In 2012, Kramer released a vegan-focused mobile app GoVegan! with Sarah Kramer with original videos and audio tips, in addition to the recipes from her cookbooks.
In July 2011, Kramer opened Sarah’s Place, Victoria’s first vegan-only retail and online boutique carrying novelty items, clothing and other “cruelty-free” products. In 2013, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Kramer decided to close down her retail store to undergo treatment. In 2014, her online store reopened for business. She also co-owns a vegan-friendly tattoo shop in Victoria, Tattoo Zoo, with her husband, a tattoo artist.
As one of the most popular Canadian faces of veganism, Kramer has appeared on national Canadian television shows like “Canada AM” and on radio stations including the CBC and NPR to educate, motivate and inspire others on animal rights and veganism. She also makes appearances at food festivals and speaks at vegetarian conferences throughout Canada and the United States.
Sarah Kramer, How it All Vegan! (1999), The Garden of Vegan (2003), La Dolce Vegan! (2005), and Vegan à Go-Go! (2008).
Best Cookbook, Veggie Award by VegNews Magazine (2003, 2004)
Favourite Cookbook Author, Veggie Award by VegNews Magazine (2005)