Tell us a little bit about yourself and Redemption?
I’m from New Zealand. I’m a classically trained chef and now I’m Creative Director at Redemption.
Our concept is to offer people a space away from all toxins and temptations – which is still a proper night out.
We are the only bar restaurant in London which is alcohol-free, sugar-free and wheat-free, as well as being vegan.
We like to think the toughest decision you’ll make is to come to Redemption and after that you can’t make a bad decision for yourself or the planet!
We have 2 bar restaurants in Notting Hill and Shoreditch, they are busy and we are getting really good feedback and reviews on Trip Advisor so it’s going well.
We are not preachy or holier than thou – we need Redemption as much as anyone else!
Why did you become a vegan?
I don’t actually label myself as a vegan. I love a plant-based diet because it’s healthy for me and it’s great for the future of the planet.
We have always been told to eat our greens – but there is now so much overwhelming evidence that a plant based diet is so good for you – you really can’t go wrong with fresh whole vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans.
Yes, man is an omnivore – BUT our diet is based on eating what we could hunt and gather and NOW factory farming animals isn’t healthy for us, for them or the planet.
What are the health benefits of a vegan diet?
One of the key benefits is that you’re getting your nutrients first hand from mother earth rather than filtered through another being.
You also get to avoid the anitbiotics and hormones which are being pumped into factory animals.
If you also choose complex carbohydrates like brown rice and avoid sugar then it’s a really healthy diet which lowers bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.
How has veganism changed in the last few decades?
Vegetarianism was once seen as a hippy alternative lifestyle but has now become accepted and mainstream
50s years ago you would probably be a vegan for animal rights reasons, and be a hippy dippy, beardy sandal wearer (nothing wrong with that!)
But it feels like veganism is just at the tipping point of becoming mainstream and more accessible as evidenced by these dishes and products we’re going to have a look at.
Why do you think it has become so popular in recent years?
It’s becoming more popular as people have become more conscious of the effect animal products have on their body, and on the planet, as well as a rising consciousness about the inhumane treatment of animals.
What are your predictions for the future of veganism?
We like to think we are part of the movement to make it cool and exciting to make vegan choices.
If everyone could have one day a week off meat like #meatfreemonday and another day vegan, that would make a huge difference to the world. We would like to contribute to that.
Tell us a little bit about your pulled pork recipe?
It’s based on a traditional pulled pork recipe – I worked with Doctor Smoke a few years back, an American BBQ expert and I’ve learned a lot about pulled pork except we’ve substituted the sugar in the sauce with coconut sugar and maple syrup and we’ve substituted the pork for jackfruit.
Where is jackfruit from?
Jackfruit is from South East Asia and India, it’s an enormous tree fruit (the largest in the world), spikey fruit, grows up to nearly a meter.
The easiest way to get it is tinned from Asian supermarkets, get the young green jackgruit in brine (not syrup) – and it’s a great vegan storecupboard item.
Why is jackfruit a good substitute for pulled pork?
The reason why jackfruit works is because ripe it tastes a bit like an earthy pineapple with a bit of mango, but the young green flesh has the ability to take on any flavour that its cooked in. PLUS – it shreds!
Tell me about your aubergine “bacon” pancakes
These are the buckwheat & chia pancakes, one of our best selling brunch dishes in Redemption. We top it with coconut yoghurt, banana, maple syrup and pecan nuts.
We’ve been working on a vegan bacon substitute for a while now and we thought we’d share our work in progress with you before we put it with the panckakes on the menu.
I’ve sliced the aubergine thinly with a smokey glaze and baked it in the oven until crisp.
Why is aubergine a good substitute / “similar” to bacon?
If you think about having bacon for breakfast, it’s a thing of substance with a bit of sweetness and saltiness to it. So the aubergine works as it is spongy and able to take on sweet and salty flavour and then it has the ability to dry out and get crispy.
Aubergine is tipped to be the next avocado, why do you think this is?
Aubergines are fantastic but it’s a bit faddy to say that a vegetable is trendy or not. There is no such thing as the next avocado – it is mother nature’s perfect fast food!