What Do Chefs Really Think About Vegans..?

Here at Strathmore House Apartments we are lucky to be part of a family portfolio of businesses. As well as our apartments, we also have restaurants and a city centre hotel.

This connection opens the door to so much knowledge, as we can tap in to the expertise across all settings.  So, we asked the groups Executive Chef for some insider knowledge, and he was only too happy to help.

We have seen an increase of guests staying with us making good use of our fully equipped kitchens. Looking for a place that they can cater for all their family and friends differing diets and requirements. One guest told us that when staying away for a week:

As a family they only eat out twice; and the other times they enjoy cooking and eating together. Hence why the apartments are the perfect choice.

In the past decade or so, Vegansim has been transformed from a niche diet, to a lifestyle choice. Endorsed not only by many celebrities but also health and well-being practitioners too.

But our question is:

Have Chefs made peace with Veganism and how do they really feel about putting to one side their fine cuts of meat and decadent dishes fussed and flavoured with eggs, butter and cheese?  

We find out!

In a world where freedom and choice is abundant; and with January almost upon us; we talk Veganism and Veganuary with Paul Doidge.

Why do you think there is so much talk of Veganism this time of year – isn’t meat normally the main talking point at Christmas?

“I think it’s because January is fast approaching; for many it is the month of new beginnings,  blank diaries and New Year resolutions. But also, for many…diets!

Last year as a group, we saw a substantial increase in Veganuary, not just on plates but in their wine glasses too. It’s a time to reevaluate our choices and in some cases, make better ones.”

Did you notice an increase in Vegan orders last January?

“Yes, we did but I think the overall numbers speak for themselves. The BBC reported that between 2006 and 2016 the number of Vegans jumped from 150,000 to 542,000. This is a substantial increase and one that no doubt Veganuary has factored in.

In 2018, 78,000 people in Britain took part in Veganuary; with a high proportion making that a continued lifestyle choice thereafter.”

How do Chefs REALLY feel about this shift?

“I think that if you were to ask chefs this question even five years ago, you would get a very different response. Today, I would say that most chefs are more than open to Veganism. In fact, I would go as far as to predict that the majority are not only open, but thrive on creating meals that people can enjoy. Meals that hit all of their guests requirement as well as leave them fully sated. What’s more; we also understand that it can sometimes be healthier than other lifestyle choices AND at times better for the environment.”

Is it harder for  Chefs to have various individual requirements?

“Like anything you have to adapt to, and adopt new ways of working. Through time and experimental development, it’s not about being willing, it’s about enjoying the process of writing new menus, menus that cut out animal products. As Chefs,  it’s always about the guests’ experiences. Making sure everyone is happy is why we do what we do.  Many of us are now working closely with our food and beverage managers too, ensuring that vegan wines are right for pairing with our menu options.”

Is it just Vegans that choose the (V) option?

No. Not in the least. We see more and more people choosing vegan. Our Vegan and Vegetarian menu options are interestingly now choices made by people who do eat meat and who are simply tempted by the menu.

The full flavours and delights that our menus has to offer as a whole gives everyone great options.”

Would you be tempted to become a Vegan?

“Personally, I have a huge amount of love for all food groups, so it wouldn’t be my choice to cut any one thing out of my diet completely. Fish, meat and diary do play a big role in my diet, although there are days when I will choose Vegan or Vegetarian options because that’s what stands out to me on the menu. I love sampling what other chefs do and that includes all menu options.”

Do you think being Vegan is easy?

“I think like anything, when choices are fuelled by passion you will make it work. Looking back, I don’t think it’s ever been easier to be Vegan than it is today, but that is not to say it’s easy. What has changed is towns and cities becoming more accommodating, I think now almost all restaurants no matter how big or small, chain or independent offer options – not all of them stuffed peppers either!

Although like anything, certain places could do better it’s true. But I truly believe it is no longer seen as a ‘fussy’ choice or a ‘hippy’ urge; it is respected and in many cases admired.”

Is it having an impact on ‘bums on seats’?

“That’s a tough one because you can never truly know. Although when it’s busy, there are times we can put it down to some great PR, strong social media activity or a good marketing campaign; but when it’s quiet, other than the obvious, it’s really hard to say exactly why.

What I do understand is that our choices go beyond just one simple decision, they can impact a whole heap of things. Like holidaying being a prime example.  Where they stay, what they do, where they eat will all be factors in that one choice.  I can totally understand why people choose Strathmore House Apartments, not only for their location and quality but also amazing facilities too.”

Last questions! Inside the Kitchen, how tolerant are Chefs really when it comes to Veganism?

“I think ‘tolerant’ is the wrong word. It isn’t our place to judge or have opinions, it is simply our job to delight!”

 

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