What was the moment that changed you forever?
In 1992 I watched a horrific documentary called Pennsylvania Primates about primates being experimented on in a laboratory. It whirred round in my head for two days and I pledged to always make time to do some animal rights/vegan campaigning.
Who is your real-life villain?
Don’t know if it’s a villain as such, but the way that capitalism and the system encourages people to do jobs they don’t really want to do and jobs that aren’t aligned with their values. If everyone did a job they truly wanted to do, the world would be a better place.
Which is your favourite recipe book?
Haha I am a bit of a cookbook addict so I don’t think I could pin it down to one book.
A good all-rounder is Another Dinner is Possible by Isy and Mike. They have a lot of experience of catering, and for large numbers. The recipes always work. It was printed in 2010 so doesn’t include some of the latest ideas going around.
For cake, cupcake and cookie inspiration I often turn to Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town by Mellissa Morgan, the recipes work and taste really good.
A recipe book I got recently is Street Vegan by Adam Sobel. Think completely over the top dishes with lots of different flavours going on. He runs a vegan truck in the US and that’s where most of the recipes originate from.
What motivated you to start Fairfoods?
Love of cooking and wanting to promote cruelty-free vegan food.
Do you use palm oil in your food?
Yes we do, mainly in pastry and icing. I wrote a post about this recently. This article makes the most sense to me. That said if we can use a more local oil than palm oil, we do. For example we are finding good results with olive oil pastry. More testing is needed, and then we will use olive oil in our pastry.
Name one of your favourite meals.
Pizza with homemade bread base eaten fresh out of the oven.
Sushi and salads.
I know that’s two, they represent my junk food side and my healthy food side.
Tips for anyone thinking of going vegan?
I didn’t think I could go vegan, so I did a vegan pledge to see what it was like and it was fine once I got started, one of the best things I’ve done. I’ve been vegan ever since. So that’s what worked for me, there are quite a few vegan pledges to check out if you’re interested, for example The Vegan Society runs one here.
What interests do you have outside of Fairfoods?
Cooking, photography, recipe testing.. oh hold on that’s related to Fairfoods isn’t it. I also enjoy dog walking and I’m doing a creative writing course at the moment which I love. I know everyone puts it but I love reading when I get the chance.
What is the best invention ever?
Veganism .. is that an invention? I like the spiraliser and cameras too.
Tell us one of the quotes that most inspires you
I love inspiring quotes, this is one of many.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Nelson Mandella
If you could give two top tips for running a vegan catering service what would they be?
Seriously, don’t ask me and if you do, don’t blame me if it goes wrong.
1. Always go the extra mile. We work really really hard to make our food and service as good as it can be. We still make mistakes, no one is perfect, but we go out of our way to try and avoid them.
2. Test each new dish at least twice and don’t try and wing it. You might be tempted when you’re short of time, it often goes wrong.
Anything else you would like to add?
If you still want to try our food after reading all this, check out our events page to see what we’re up to and where we are next.