Chef Richard Buckley’s Bath restaurant, Acorn, has become a place of pilgrimage for those seeking exceptional plant-based cooking. We asked him to bust the myths surrounding gourmet vegan dining
VEGAN FOOD DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HEALTHY
There’s a common misconception that vegan diets are super healthy. Some of the healthiest people I know are vegan but so are some of the fattest. Just remember, chips are vegan.
IT’S NOT ABOUT COOKING FOOD WITHOUT ANIMALS
A lot of bad food gets made this way. We start with the vegetable and see what the possibilities are rather than taking away the meat and seeing what’s left.
VEGANS DON’T HAVE A PROTEIN PROBLEM
There’s a lot of protein in plants (and iron and calcium, too, for that matter). The stereotype of skinny pasty vegans probably comes from skinny pasty people going vegan, not the other way around. The main concern is getting enough calories: unless you cook with a lot of nuts, oils and sugars you may need to eat a lot more than you’re used to.
A LOT OF GOURMET INGREDIENTS ARE ALREADY VEGAN
Olives, coffee, chocolate, truffles, gin and tonic, champagne – we’re hardly missing out on life.
COOKING VEGETABLES ISN’T CHEAP
Yes, you can buy vegetables very cheaply in the supermarket; no, they wouldn’t cut it in the restaurant. Good veg isn’t cheap and it costs an awful lot more to prepare (in staff time) than meat does, as you have to do more to make it the centrepiece of a meal.
YOU WILL BE FULL
Eating gourmet vegan food can look pretty and dainty but I can assure you that each meal packs a calorific punch. Don’t let your eye fool you; if you ate like this every day you’d be enormous.
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Giving Veganuary a go? Mike Francis, head chef at The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth, shares his top five ingredients to make the meat-free transition easier