Austin, TX

Tristan Lora may be the most unlikely Pitmaster in America. 

As a vegan enthusiast, he’s dedicated to changing the way people experience food by sharing his passion for healthy, farm-fresh dishes with a vegan flair. Tristan, who has never eaten any of the meats he has prepared had no qualms about cooking meat by touch, look and smell even as a vegetarian. Now only grilling vegan foods, he has has received numerous accolades from chefs around the world for his unique abilities cooking without meat. He’s proud to keep his pits a place carnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike can enjoy.

Tristan started his culinary career as the grandson of Master Chef, Jacoba Lora. Then, as Tour Manager for several nationally known bands, was able to cook large meals for the singers, their entire bands and support people. His abilities became well-known and had been asked to cook for Shaquille O’Neal, Metallica, NASCAR and Formula 1 racing teams, and even avid vegetarian Paul McCartney.

In his 5-year tenure in Culinary Operations for festivals such as Austin Food and Wine, Nashville Music City Eats and Chipotle Cultivate, Tristan has worked alongside chefs including Tim Love, Jonathan Waxman, Amanda Freitag, Aaron Sanchez, Jason Dady. He has also been honored to build live fire activations for world famous Pitmasters Pat Martin, Billy Durney, Louis Mueller and many others.

Half-Cuban and half-Dominican, Tristan loves celebrating his Latin heritage by dishing up special culinary delights such as Puerto Rican mofongo, Spanish paella and his own variation of arroz con pollo, using seitan in lieu of chicken. 

In his spare time you can find him on one of his many bicycles, building out kitchens for chefs and working on his newest venture, an all-vegan taco shop in Nashville.  may be the most unlikely Pitmaster in America. 


Arroz con Seitan
Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 12 ounces commercially prepared seitan, sliced into thick strips about 3 or 4 inches long
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Big pinch of dried oregano

Sofrito and Arroz:

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup plain tomato sauce
  • 1 cup light-colored vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more as desired
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow rice
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen small green peas
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced small
  • 1/2 cup sliced pimiento stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  •  Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prepare the seared seitan: In a large bowl whisk together lime juice, olive oil, and dried oregano. Add the seitan strips, using tongs to toss and coat them with the marinade. Marinate for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally. Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat and generously coat with cooking spray or brush with peanut oil. Add a layer of marinated seitan strips, taking care not to crowd the pan. Fry seitan on each side for 1 to 2 minutes, flipping once (metal tongs work nicely here). Seitan should be crisp and dark on the edges but still look juicy. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. While preparing the seitan, prepare the sofrito: In a large Dutch oven or enamel-glazed cast-iron pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine olive oil, and garlic over medium heat. Fry until the garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the onion and bell pepper and fry uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and juicy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce, vegetable broth, dried oregano, cumin, and bay leaf and simmer for 4 minutes. Stir in the salt, rice, water or vegetable broth, peas, and carrots; cover the pot, and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and push seared seitan strips down into the rice mixture. Sprinkle sliced olives and capers, if using, over everything, cover the pot, and cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until rice is tender, fluffy, and all of the liquid is absorbed.