Wow. Firstly it has been far too long since I wrote a blog post. Many, many things have changed. To begin with I am now vegan. Yep. Me.
Last November I began working at ‘Cafe Meon‘ – a restaurant in Wickham serving vegetarian and gluten free hot meals and delicious cakes and coffees. I fell in love with the place and it was amazing to have my input on the dishes we were selling and the cakes we were making. The team I have become a part of feel like a family and it is crazy to think I have gone from being self-taught, knocking up dishes and recipes in my kitchen, to now working in a real kitchen serving food for actual customers!
In January we rebranded and became OFFBEET – www.offbeetfood.com and in April I was promoted to Restaurant and Events manager which I am very proud of.
The name Offbeet encompasses everything that we believe in – truly thinking outside the box to come up with something a little extra special. It is amazing to be able to help offer a somewhere that vegans, coeliacs and people who generally love interesting, flavoursome and vibrant food can come and eat everything on the menu. It’s not an after thought or an extra dish thrown on the menu. Our whole menu can be enjoyed! I love my job.
Now I am sure by now you are wondering:
“Why did you go Vegan”
So heres the thing. My fiancee´ Shirin turned vegan last summer and as I cook our meals in the evenings, instead of making 2 separate dinners, I began making and eating vegan meals. Then in November when I began working at Offbeet, suddenly I was surrounded by all these amazing fresh ingredients in a primarily vegan environment. I was reducing my meat intake every day until I generally stopped feeling like I missed it or even wanted it. I would still have whey protein and dairy in yoghurts, but generally that was it.
In January I took part in Veganuary which is a campaign challenging people to go Vegan for a month… or longer. I did it and found suddenly I really wasn’t missing meat or dairy and since then I have remained vegan.
Being vegan as a chef began to challenge me in the most amazing way, making me fall even more in love with cooking and the process. It was no longer just a simple 3 part meal of a meat portion, some veg and a carb source that is the structure for a lot of people, myself in the past included. Now it is all about colours, textures, flavours, what will the meal be topped with or served with? All these little things have brought me to where I am today, and I couldn’t be happier.
This blog therefore needs an overhaul – but right now finding time is impossible. I am in the restaurant almost every day, and I love every minute. I shall keep these recipes you see here, but now I am all about healthy, interesting and vibrant cooking – hoping to prove to those core meat eaters that you can eat a vegan meal and not feel it would be better having included meat. You can still train and perform productively on a vegan diet and yeah, you can still eat a lot of naughty treats on a vegan diet too haha!
This weekend see’s me hosting the healthy eating kitchen at Bodypower Expo and whereas the last few years I have been and promoted Muscle Food, this year I will be there directly employed by Bodypower and be able to talk about food and nutrition in a brand new light.
So stay tuned, and for those who have followed the blog and what I do for a long time, I urge you to try more vegan recipes as it has opened my eyes to so many new products and foods that I didn’t even know existed!
For more information on the restaurant in Wickham then check out www.offbeetfood.com and thanks to Kate for a few of the images used here (she is an amazing food photographer, blogger and one of our very talented chef’s – check out her work here: https://lovelife-livewell.com).