Happy New Year – how are your New Year’s Resolutions holding up? Are you eating more plant based food? Are you incorporating more plant based food into your menus?
Veganuary snuck up on me
Something has rather surprised me going into 2018 and kind of excites me. I am a meat eater but the increase in the number of people doing the Veganuary challenge this year compared to last is pretty impressive. Veganuary just in case you don’t know, is a charity that has set a challenge to people to sign up to eating Vegan for one month – January. Actually, they would rather you did this for longer and for life, but January is a fabulous start. In 2018 its estimated that more than 150,000 people have signed up for Veganuary, more than double last years’ figure.
How are chefs responding to a desire for plant based dining?
It got me thinking about Chefs and Restaurants. What do you think about this? Are you adding Vegan dishes to your menus? What’s your reasoning behind this? Is it a commercial decision or are you thinking wider in terms of saving the planet and health benefits? As a diner, I would certainly like to see more choice. I was watching Masterchef-The-Professionals at the end of last year and one of the great chefs – Matthew Campbell - produced a raw, vegan dessert which was sugar free and used Jerusalem Artichoke. I think everyone (well me, at least) thought it was going to be a disaster, but apparently not, it was very well received. Have a look at his Instagram account here.
Eating Vegan really isn’t about depriving yourself. Lovely, tasty food is to be had and this includes Fine Dining. The Veganuary website gives a list of the more standard restaurants that serve Vegan food. You have to dig a little deeper to find that there are some great independents out there also taking up this mantle, along with some incredible chefs. London has the renowned Farmacy in Notting Hill and Nama, also in Notting Hill. Outside of London there is the very well established Terre a Terre in Brighton – a vegetarian restaurant of many years standing but with excellent vegan options too. I wonder how chefs are doing outside of London and Brighton. Do you know of any great Vegan or Vegetarian Chefs allowing us to taste their scrumptious food outside of London?
More vegetables in Paris, who knew!
Thinking about this reminded me of an article I read in Vogue whilst sat in the hairdressers (when else do you read Vogue!) It was about plant based restaurants in Paris. I have searched it out for this blog, and true enough, the great Alain Ducasse (I am a fan) is cited as getting rid of red meat and poultry on his tasting menu at Plaza Athenee. He is of course a great meat chef, but it also seems he too advocates the use of more plant based options. With a kitchen garden at Versailles (no less) he has the best organic produce to do this.
Is it chefs responsibility to improve global health?
For those of you in the Chef world, I wonder if you have heard of Matthew Kenney of Plantlab fame? He’s a Vegan Chef with many restaurants around the world. He is of the mindset that Chefs have a responsibility to build a plant based world. With the world looking at who the ‘influencers’ are in every part of life, he considers a role of the chef is to improve global health (wow!). This brings me back to one of my first questions in this blog – are you doing more vegan food as a commercial decision, or as a health and planet based decision? Or perhaps both. I would love to hear your views. As someone who dips in and out of meat free, and then in and out of wheat, gluten and dairy free food, I do wish we had more choice and I am excited to see what our chefs – all chefs – are going to do this year.