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Eat Your Greens This Earth Day

To mark Earth Day TOAST take a look at the best vegan, vegetarian and raw food caterers around

Meat is out and plants are in. No longer restricted to a diet of lentils and tofu alone – the numbers of veggies and vegans in the UK is dramatically on the rise, and with Earth Day on the 22nd April, there has never been a better time to eat your greens. TOAST takes a look at this meat free movement and the very best and most delicious vegetarian, vegan and raw food caterers as well as recipe books for you to try at home.



Let’s be honest, vegetarians haven’t always had an easy time over the years. Their once niche diet made eating out almost impossible - for years, the veggie options on most mainstream menus have consisted of a stodgy pasta bake or perhaps a mushroom risotto if you were lucky, whilst veggie cafés stereotypically dished out a steady stream of tofu, chickpeas and vegetable curry. Oh, how times have changed. 

The long-standing veggie institution that is Mildreds in Soho opened more then 20 years ago and was one of the very first plant-based cafés to offer something imaginative, but today London is throbbing with hip vegan and veggie hangouts. The world’s first vegan fried chicken shop (yes, you read that correctly) The Temple of Hackney recently opened its doors and the queues have been colossal. Other plant-based hotspots include Camilla Al Fayed’s fashionable new Farmacy and the Michelin-recommended Vanilla Black, whose beautiful dishes could convert the hardiest of carnivores.

And it’s not just London that’s feeling the effects of this meat-free craze currently sweeping the nation; there’s the well-heeled and well designed Food for Friends in Brighton, fine-dining veggie food at The Art School in Liverpool, Acorn Kitchen in Bath with it’s panoramic views of the Abbey, David Bann’s chic veggie hangout in Edinburgh - the list goes on. Even nationwide high street bar chain All Bar One has been getting in on the act, having announced that it will be extending the residency of its pop-up vegan menu due to unprecedented demand.

Recently, there has been much publicity about the detrimental effects that eating too much meat can have on our health, and another factor that has undoubtedly fueled this plant-based movement is a growing awareness, thanks to documentaries such as Cowspriacy, of the damage that the meat industry is having on the environment and the ways in which animals are being treated in order to produce high volumes of cheap meat and other animal derived products. Consequently, over the past year alone, vegan food sales have shot up by a whopping 1,500% and more than half a million people in the UK now describe themselves as vegan. Much like vegetarians, vegans don’t eat meat, fish or poultry but they also avoid all other animal products too, such as eggs, dairy and honey.

If taking the full vegetarian or vegan plunge isn’t for you then fear not - a third of the UK population now describes themselves as ‘flexitarian’, meaning that they are proactively cutting down on their meat consumption. Meat Free Mondays is a campaign founded by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney that encourages people to have just one meat-free day each week, in order to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their health. 

When it comes to entertaining at home, one of the key trends for 2017 is serving something vegetarian - not just as a starter or side, but as the main event, and cooking with locally and ethically sourced produce and ingredients is also very a la mode. Today, Saturday 22 April the world is celebrating Earth Day, with various events taking place internationally to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

So whether you’re vegan-curious, want to eat less meat or simply fancy trying something new, there has never been a tastier time to eat your greens and here TOAST shares the very best vegetarian and vegan caterers with you as well as our pick of the best cookery books so you can try some new, green dishes at home.

TOAST's Pick of The Best Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Food Caterers

 

Titbits Catering

Run by Paula Young, a passionate vegan of over 20 years, Titbits Catering creates gourmet vegan plant based catering and natural food for private clients as well as creating her own sell-out supper clubs featuring different cuisines from around the globe. A certified Naturopathic Nutritionist Paula also runs cookery workshops so you can eat delicious and nutritious homemade food whilst learning the art of vegan cooking.

Titbits Catering Julia Claxton

Titbits Catering 

Cashew Catering

John Bayley, founder of vegan caterers Cashew has worked as a vegan, vegetarian and raw foods chef for over 12 years. Cashew specialise in vegan and vegetarian private events. From simple picnic salads to fiddly finger foods, relaxed lunches to formal dinners (or ‘plated posh stuff’ as they call it) Cashew have got it covered, and pride themselves on being able to combine their unique level of professional experience with a knowledge of plant based foods to produce imaginative, fresh and delicious dishes.

Cashew Catering

Cashew Catering

The Parsnipship

Inspired by years of disappointing experiences with the UK’s vegan and vegetarian food offerings, the unique and original Parsniship provide classically inspired, innovative, vegetarian and vegan food for farmers markets, food fairs and a host of private events. Founded by Ben Moss who has been catering for weddings and special occasions for over 20 years, Parsnipship work hard to provide exciting menus with a variety of punchy flavours for those who like to eat vegetarian, vegan and gluten free diets.

Parsnipship

The Parsnipship 

Vegan Peasant Catering

Diana Pinkett is a great believer that food brings people together, and after travelling the world sampling food from every corner of the globe, Diana created Vegan Peasant Catering to offer a %100plant-based dining experience. With head chef and creative director Adrian Smith, the pair design inspired menus to excite and inspire. Specialising in creating the most elegant canapes and delicious bowl food, that are pure vegetarian, sustainable, and ethical, full of fresh, vibrant flavours.

Vegan Peasant Catering can cater for any occasion and work with their clients to provide bespoke menus to suit your tastes.

Vegan Peasant Catering Images By Annalisa Banello

Vegan Peasant Catering 

Omni

Formerly Peskys, Omni is a London based pop-up that explore and create unique recipes from raw, sustainable ingredients that nourish and fuel your mind and body, and designed to be shared and enjoyed. From Cauliflour Tacos, Mango and Black Bean Tacos to their signature Bhal Burger, Omni’s dishes are original, varied and full of flavour. The team are based at The Yard, Hackney Wick but can also cater for private events, from weddings, parties, retreats or work events.

Omni

Omni 

The Best Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Cookery Books 

If you fancy cooking up some more veggie dishes at home then here are a few of TOAST’s favourite cook books - perfect for planning a plant-based feast for friends.

Mildred's The Cookbook

Soho institution Mildred’s was one of the first restaurants to offer imaginative veggie food; over 20 years later and this stylish eaterie can now also be found in Camden and King Cross, and has a cookbook that features over 100 vegetarian recipes that appeal to meat eaters alike, with vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options too. The aim of the book? ‘To reach as many people as possible and give them the ideas and confidence to enjoy vegetarian food at home’.

Milldreds£20, Mildreds The Cook Book

The Part Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

In this cool cook book Nicola Graimes presents a collection of fresh new vegetarian recipes, but many also come with a part-time option, showing you how to add meat or fish to the recipe if you so wish. The Lebanese Labneh Balls and/or Spiced Lamb Meatballs are great for when entertaining both vegetarian and non-vegetarian guests alike.

Part Time Vegitarian 

£20 Part Time Vegetarian

Vanilla Black

From the start, Andrew and Donna's rule was ‘no pasta bake and no vegetable curry’. They set up Vanilla Black (now Michelin guide recommended) as a restaurant with a mission - to reinvent expectations about what it means to eat vegetarian food. It's all about the flavour, the first bite that intrigues, the surprising, the unusual, and the recipes that your friends will want to steal! The dishes in this stylish book are inventive, beautiful and guaranteed to impress even the hardiest of your meat-eating guests.

Vanilla Black

£25, Vanilla Black 

 

Don’t forget to tag @ToastLifeUK in your plant-based creations  – we would love to see your photos!


For more inspired plant-based recipes, expert advice and great interviews with some of the top caterers, head over to TheEdit. Read our interview with Cashew Catering, the Mindful Chefs and Zafferano all featured this week to mark Earth Day

 

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