The new veganism towards a bigger mission: the earth protection
The new veganism towards a bigger mission: the earth protection.
Today more than ever, we ask ourselves what the future of food will be: what direction it will take, what choices to make for our health and of our planet. Is this future called veganism? When we talk about veganism we often think about ethical, drastic choices. However, these choices can be made and supported without necessarily having to categorize them in just one word. Has the time come when categories are no longer so defined and definable, but we can all go in the same direction? That of protecting our earth?
Here some protagonists of the sector – supporters of vegan cuisine – who answer and ask themselves these questions.
Chantelle Nicolson – Tredwells ( London)
Chantelle Nicholson is the multi-award winning chef-owner of Tredwells, in London’s West End. As one of the leading female voices in the UK’s hospitality industry, Chantelle is a huge advocate for seasonality and sustainability, championing plant-based cooking through both the restaurant and her cookbook, Planted. Originally from New Zeland, and a trained lawyer, Chantelle is committed to creating a more sustainable future across her operation and activities.
When I asked her why she chose vegan cuisine, she answers ” I enjoy the challenge of cooking delicious plant-based food. We eat such a narrow amount of crops in the world so to be able to educate people on how to expand this is what is needed.”
Chantelle doesn’t see the word veganism as the future of food but says “I believe in regenerative agriculture across the board. We all need to eat more vegetables, grains, and pulses but we also need a balanced diet and there are ways to ensure we can eat a varied diet that includes animal products, but in moderation.”
Finally, I ask her whether she believes that the current coronavirus situation will change people’s food choices and in what direction you think the food world is going. She replies: ” I was delighted to see that the suppliers of grains, pulses, and legumes have been selling out! I think people have learned to adapt to what is available and also to hopefully be a little more creative with it. Given people are now cooking at home a lot more I think they will have opened up their ideas about food and hopefully continue in a similar vein once the virus threat has subsided.”
Shirel Berger- OPA (Tel Aviv)
Shirel Berger is a chef at the OPA restaurant in Tel Aviv, where she makes her own cuisine based on vegetables and fruit. Shirel’s passion was born and grew since she was a child and grew over time, taking her to study at the Culinary School in New York and bringing her back to her native land to open her own restaurant.
Shirel believes that in the future we will have to eat many more vegetables, bringing the concept of local back to the first place of our priorities and minimizing the food waste of plastic waste used. She believes that the future lies in the direct contact of the supply chain, the one with the farmers, thus abolishing the steps of processed food. She finds an answer in a much deeper concept of veganism, arguing that yes, we will have to eat more vegetables, but this is not enough, because we will also have to choose more and more according to the food availability we have in your country, region, and city, without doubt, also looking at how the products have been grown. It is better to eat a cheese produced without the addition of chemicals in your own country than to buy an apple that comes from the other side of the world. “We have reached a point where we have to start thinking about our land, how to take care of it and what our mission is: for me the deepest understanding is that we have to change the way we eat and consume everything around us- it says Shirel.
Prateek Sadhu- Masque (Mumbai)
Prateek Sadhu is the head chef/co-owner of the restaurant called Masque in Mumbai. He grew up in Jammu and attended the Culinary Institute of America, before going on to stage at restaurants across North America and Europe. He worked at The Pierre in NYC for a few years and later moved back to India, where he continued to work at hotels before opening Masque with his business partner Aditi in 2016.
Prateek defines his cuisine “modern Indian food”. At Masque they cook with only Indian produce, marrying traditional recipes & techniques with newer ones. They serve a menu that changes with the seasons, defined by ingredients from their farm, foraging trips, and a network of local farmers.
It’s not vegan food- says- we do serve meat, but we overall have more veg than non- vegetarian dishes on the menu. Our intention behind Masque has always been to spotlight the amazing produce that’s available to us in our own country, yet too often ignored, and we want to change people’s perceptions of it. So, a lot of the focus of our food remains on vegetables and fruits, both the common and the more obscure, and we try to let the quality of that produce take centre-stage. As with the fresh produce, the meat we use is also entirely dependent on quality – if it is not up to par, we will not use it. We source directly from small farms and suppliers that we know and trust, so we know it’s not industrial scale, unethically raised meat. And when we do use it, we try to utilize as much of it as we can, so it’s not unusual to find the less common cuts on our menu.
Talking about plant- based cuisine Prateek thinks that meat consumption across the world needs to be drastically reduced and that plant-based foods will have to take the lead in the coming years, but underling that he doesn’t think that the world will cut out meat entirely. “We will need to depend heavily on plant-based foods to rectify the damage done to our ecosystems in the past few decades, and it will require a huge paradigm shift – but I do think we will reach a point of stasis where meat will still be an available option, if and when we can ensure that it is responsibly grown, cared for, and consumed in cautious moderation.”
Finally, I ask him if he thinks this pandemic will change people food choices he says “I do think this pandemic is making people question their food choices, and that habits will change as a result of it. People will be more wary of eating meat – although whether that is a result of misinformation is a whole other conversation- which I hope leads to a sustainable reduction in consumption. In the aftermath of this, I think we’ll see more concentration on hyperlocal menus which will be frequently changed, and a move towards seasonal cooking – both because we still don’t know in what ways or for how long movements across borders will be restricted, and because traceability and supporting your local economy are going to be key moving forward.”
Mario Parmeggiani ( Italy)
Mario Parmeggiani is a cook for passion. This passion cultivates it over the years and in adulthood manages to make it a real profession. He chose the United States to specialize himself, where, in his opinion, modern vegan cuisine is of the highest level. After several experiences in Italy and abroad, he became a plant-based cookery consultant. Mario’s choice of vegan cuisine is an ethical choice that looks towards animal welfare. Later he becomes aware of the benefits that this lifestyle brings to health and the planet.
To my question, if he believes that vegan cuisine is the future he answers: “I’m convinced of it. With the constantly growing world population and the current consumption of resources – such as soil and water – to produce meat and dairy products, for example, we are encouraging unsustainable consumption. For these reasons too, part of the planet’s population has no food. Not to mention the environmental impact… Choosing vegan is not at all a renunciation of the taste and joy of food, it is an investment and a gamble for the future”.
In conclusion, we talked about whether and how much the current situation of Covid-19 will change the future of gastronomy. I really hope it will – says Mario – if it doesn’t change it would be a wasted opportunity. I think that gastronomy and catering are moving towards more reasoned and ethical choices: from choosing menus with seasonal and local products, to reducing and eliminating waste of food and packaging, to using recyclable materials.