In the kitchen with zero waste chef Max La Manna

Read Time:   |  3rd September 2018

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Zero waste chef Max went vegan in 2012 and is now a passionate advocate for vegan food and the whole lifestyle. 

max la manna

It all started six years ago while I was in Hawaii visiting friends on a holiday trip. I was in the kitchen cooking for friends and a young couple came over to me and asked “is anything you’re cooking vegan?” At the time, like most people back in 2012, I did not know what veganism was, so being curious I asked for an explanation. At that time I did not know it was going to leave such an impact on my life that I would transform and be the person I am today.

You know that saying goes “right place, right time”. Well, this was exactly that and I am so grateful that I met that young vegan couple. Just a few months ago, I ran into them on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles and they were the same young vegan couple I met 6 years ago!

Everyone of course has their story of how they transitioned into a vegan or plant-based lifestyle, and for me, I fully committed to going vegan in that moment. So, while I was in Hawaii on the island of Maui, I had the most beautiful experience. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables at my disposal! I could not believe how easy it was to live this way and it was right in front of my face the whole time!

max la manna

My first reason is my health. If I’m not healthy and reaching my truest, highest potential in this one life, then what am I doing?

My second reason for adopting a vegan and plant-based lifestyle is for protecting our environment, which we call home. I have always been conscience of my impact, and each day I am becoming more aware of how we use what we use in order to survive, but if we are also not conscious and aware of this, then we are just creating destruction of our environment.

Reason number three – the animals! I consider myself a lover of animals and if you do too, then why would we let them go through pain and suffering? The amount of waste that is created to produce animal products is way more destructive than the pollution of vehicles.

My role as a zero waste vegan chef is simple – create delicious healthy low-impact food. Most people may say this is difficult, but what we are lacking is education. We have all the tools to inform each other on how to be zero waste or be vegan, but we give up too easily and don’t challenge ourselves to create change. When we create change in ourselves, the world conspires to open up doors that you never knew existed.

max la manna

Upon learning more about zero waste, I found out that the number one occupant in American landfills is food waste. People are misinformed of how to treat food scraps and whether or not food is ‘bad’ based on food labelling techniques that confuse consumers.

Once I started educating myself on food waste and ways to compost from books, online articles, and from first hand, then I was hooked and never turned back. It’s really hard to wipe it away from your consciousness. Then I started looking in all areas of my life – “what about this?”, “what about that?”, “where does this go?”

If I can be of any encouragement to you – start today and make one change, one simple change today will go a long way. Say no to straws, bring your own bag to the store, bring your own jar and container for food and water. These are things we already know, they just need to be reintroduced to us.

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Vegan Food & Living

Vegan Food & Living is a magazine dedicated to celebrating the vegan lifestyle. Every issue is packed with 75 tasty recipes, plus informative features.

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