Warning: this post is about as self-indulgent as eating an entire box of chocolates alone in a bubble bath. That’s because, under the bizarre illusion that I don’t speak about myself enough, I have decided to treat you all to an interview I gave recently, to the lovely Amy Zara of AtoZ yoga.
Read on to get all up in my business – literally… I speak all about my business ethos. Find out why I’m vegan, my favourite meal, and what I’m cooking for Amy’s upcoming ‘Feel Fantastic’ yoga retreat.
Amy: Hey Tallie, I am so excited to have you join me for our first ever retreat and to see what amazing food you’re going to bring for everyone to enjoy! Now I would love to know more about you, so please tell us a little bit about your background in cooking?
Tallie: I’ve been cooking ever since I was old enough to be recruited into my Grandma’s kitchen ranks, and I’ve always loved it. When I became vegan as a teenager I quickly fell in love with the versatility of plant based food, and decided to pursue cooking professionally. I took a Vegan Diploma at Demuths Cookery School, then started an internship at top vegan restaurant Wild Food Café and began working as a chef for them shortly after.
A: Wow, you have any amazing background and have obviously come a long way. So, what inspired you to start the Cruelty Free Kitchen?
T: While working as a chef, I found myself yearning to create my own recipes and to mix it up more often. I really wanted a more personal experience with the people I was feeding, so I decided to start building up a catering business, where I could create a unique menu for each individual client. Something that’s been particularly important to me whilst creating the Cruelty Free Kitchen is relying on ingredients that are accessible to everyone – I don’t want to send people away with a Whole Foods shopping list the length of their arm! That food is great, but I really want the cooking I do to be for everyone, and I hope that’s the space I am carving out with Cruelty Free Kitchen.
A: Amazing! These are such important values and things I often hear my friends and clients asking for when it comes to meal plans and recommendations and it’s certainly something I look for when cooking my vegan meals. How long have you been vegan yourself?
T: I’ve been vegan for about 2 and a half years.
A: You have a year and a half on me then! As a vegan myself, I love to know why others made the change. So, what inspired you to take on a vegan lifestyle?
T: I’ve always loved animals, and as a long-time vegetarian, I resonated a lot with the ethical and environmental reasons for going vegan and kept telling myself one day, one day. One day came when I thought back on what I had eaten and realised I’d consumed no animal products all day. I figured if it was so easy I could do it accidentally I could make the change instantly, so I did, and I haven’t looked back since.
A: That’s brilliant. I love that it came to you almost accidentally. It really demonstrates how easy it actually is! So, now you’ve been vegan for a while, what’s your favourite meal?
T: My all-time favourite has to be ravioli. I made it as part of the first vegan dinner party I cooked for my grandparents, using the pasta machine they bought me – butternut squash and spinach pasta parcels with a sage ‘butter’ sauce and green vegetables. It’s one that I’ll come back to time and time again, and always feels special, yet comforting.
A: Mmm! Yep, that sounds right up my ally! I love anything with pasta and my husband and I often indulge in some yummy vegan ravioli! You’ve mentioned a bit about your ethos, but what do you think is the most important thing for people to understand about Cruelty Free cooking?
T: How easy it can be! You can spend lots of time making it special, as with any type of cooking, but it can also be really simple and satisfying. I think people can be very overwhelmed by the prospect of vegan food, but you can choose a few ingredients at a supermarket and create something fresh and delicious in a really short time.
A: I completely agree! So, this is the big question: tell us about some of the delicious food you’re thinking of making for our retreat?
T: I want to make food to perfectly complement your powerful yoga practice. The day is focused on YOU, the yogi, so I’m creating a large buffet which will hopefully have something for everyone! Think salads in the colours of the rainbow, flatbreads with flavour-packed dips, and crispy tofu in a way to turn any meat-eaters head. And, of course, there’s going to be something chocolate-y, balanced with fresh berries, for dessert – we’re here to feel fantastic after all!
Aw. Aren’t we a pair of (vegan) sweeties?
Why not come and let us nourish you on a fantastic one-day retreat on June 15th?!
Experience Amy’s gentle yet powerful yoga teaching style, and enjoy a delicious plant-powered lunch by me, all at the beautiful Loudwater Farm.
You can find tickets here. Hurry up and book before 31st March to nab a place at the early bird price!
That’s all for now. I promise promise promise I won’t speak about myself again. For a whole five minutes. Maybe.