How To Solve Dinner Party Dietary Requirements

The ultimate dinner party tool that helps you find the perfect menu

Whether you’re creating a plant-based menu for ‘Veganuary’ or you're expecting guests with other dietary requirements, Toast.Life chats to CEO and co-founder Markus Stripf and in-house nutritionist Louise Payne to hear how Spoon Guru is taking the fuss out of finding the right food for your guests whatever their dietary needs, as well as their top tips on how to host a delicious vegan dinner party this month.

If you haven’t already heard about the vegan craze currently sweeping the UK and beyond, then it’s time to wake up and smell the tofu. Recent figures estimate that a whopping 3.5 million people in the UK now identify as vegan and with one third of Brits trying to cut down on meat too, there is a clear shift towards plant-based eating. Whilst this is good news for the environment, our health, animal welfare, and for various other reasons, it can make the prospect of entertaining tricky. Quite often it’s not just your vegan guests that you need to consider either, but this is where Spoon Guru comes in handy…

Spoon Guru is a UK-based technology start-up helping consumers with specific dietary preferences (and those hosting) find suitable and safe foods – so whatever the dietary requirements may be, whether it’s being vegan, avoiding sugar, or any ingredient, Spoon Guru takes the fuss out of finding the right food for both you and your guests. They believe that choosing what to eat should be a joy not a chore; simply download the app (which is free to download and use), enter your dietary requirements (or of those that you’re entraining) and Spoon Guru will find tailored recommendations and recipes that will please everyone - you can even scan barcodes to check if a product fits you and/or your guest’s profile.

“In 2015 my wife developed multiple food allergies and I struggled to shop for foods she could eat, due to lack of transparent information about products that catered to people with allergies and specific dietary preferences” explains CEO and co-founder of Spoon Guru, Markus Stripf.

“So that’s when I decided to launch Spoon Guru.”

And now, Spoon Guru’s ambition is to build the world’s leading dietary management solution; based on a pioneering food classification platform, Spoon Guru is capable of supporting endless combinations of dietary preferences and needs, which is incredibly handy if you yourself have an allergy, intolerance or dietary preference, or if you’re catering for a guest(s) who does.

Before co-founding Spoon Guru, Markus’ career was in fact in the music business; as a Managing Director at Warner Music Group he was responsible for setting up and running Warner’s international direct to consumer business. He was at the forefront of the music business’ transition into digital and so now has more than 15 years digital experience under his belt, which of course proved invaluable when it came to setting up Spoon Guru, whilst Markus’ own transition from vegetarian to vegan was also a huge influence.

“I had been a vegetarian for 20 years, mainly because I didn't want to be complicit in supporting battery farming at the time, but then I tried Veganuary last year and I stuck with it” he explains.

Veganuary, in case you were wondering, is a charity that aims to inspire people to try going vegan for January, and for even longer if they want to. When it comes to veganism, a love of animals is often the catalyst, whilst some people want to feel better about themselves and the impact they make on the world, and others would like to set themselves a challenge. There are also many that combine Veganuary with their New Year’s resolutions and see trying a solely vegan diet as the healthiest start to the year.

“The sustainability argument really got to me and I realised the dairy industry is just as cruel as the meat industry, so I stuck with it” explains Markus.

“Another important factor for me was the relative ease at which you can now embrace the meat-free lifestyle. There’s a wealth of products out there and they taste fab!”

Whatever your reason, even if it’s just out of pure curiosity, January seems a perfect time to give it a try but that doesn’t mean the entertaining needs to stop, oh no. With veganism on the rise, there’s now a plethora of vegan and plant-based food products out there that will make your weekday brunch, Saturday night dinner party or long Sunday roast with friends just as delicious, if not more so. 

“Many people think plant-based foods are boring, and that being vegan means missing out on all the tasty stuff, however you might not even realise that the foods you’re eating are actually vegan” says Markus.

“There’s so much more choice out there now with new, exciting products being created and inspiring recipes following. There’s also a massive range of meat free alternatives in the market now that are great to explore” he adds.

“My top vegan food products would have to be Linda McCartney sausages, Alpro yoghurt, Pizza Express’ vegan Giardinera and Violife vegan cheese! Those were my biggest challenges when I went vegan – pizza and cheese!”

Spoon Guru

With Veganuary now bigger than ever before, and with so many of us inspired to try a plant-based diet for the month, January seems to be the perfect opportunity to explore a spot of vegan entertaining and according to Markus, this shouldn’t be as tricky as it may sound.

“Indian and Mexican dishes tend to be super varied for vegans, and always remember that finding foods to cook is super easy. Use a cool recipe app (like Spoon Guru!) and you’ll be spoilt for choice! They can help you find suitable products and recipes if you need some inspiration” he suggests.

“And if you have hardy meat-eating guests you could try a bleeding burger like the No Bull Burger - they won't even know the difference!”

For more plant-based inspiration, Spoon Guru’s  in-house nutritionist Louise Payne has pulled together a brilliant list of a simple, party-friendly vegan recipes that will impress your guests but won’t have you spending all your time in the kitchen. From sensational starters such as tempura and tacos, to magnificent mains like flavoursome curries and even burgers, her choice of recipes is seriously mouth-watering and will have even the hardiest of meat-eaters wanting more! 

“Curries are always my go-to when hosting a dinner party, and there are so many great tasting vegan burgers on the market now, sometimes it’s difficult to even tell the difference!” she enthuses.

And then of course there’s the choice of Eton Mess, cheesecake or chocolate brownies for dessert, and all vegan too! For all of Louise’s delicious recipe ideas and other tips, head over to The Edit now. 

For more information on Spoon Guru and to download the app visit. 



Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 11 January 2019

  menu planning, vegan menu, veganuary

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