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The veggies are coming! How vegetarian food became so cool.

Quinoa, lentils, chia seeds and acai: Once words associated with tie dye wearing, dreadlock toting hippies from hell, now seen as trendy, healthy and very much a part of the modern diet. From #meatfreemondays to full on vegetarian living, choosing to eat cleaner, greener and (dare we say it) crustier is all the rage right now.

If your chef’s ego bristles at the mere mention of the V word, maybe it’s time you tried to embrace this brave new world. Here’s what you need to know about cool veggies; why it happened and what there is to love about it.

The vegetarian rebellion

As children of the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s, we grew up in the era of TV dinners, microwaves, ready-meals and fast food. Our mothers’ convenience took its toll on our taste buds, and left us craving something more wholesome, fresh and satisfying.

Fast forward to today, and despite never being shown how to cook, a combination of smartphone apps, YouTube videos and online tutorials has made our generation some of the most adventurous and capable cooks the UK has seen for years. Combined concern for both the environment and our waistline has led many of us to choose a more plant based diet, with the number of vegans in the UK increasing by 360 per cent in the past 10 years.

So, yes, we do want a vegetarian and / or vegan option on your menu, and yes, we do want you to put your heart and soul into that dish. It’s the way of the future, and some early adopters are reaping the benefits hand over fist…

Veggie love for these restaurants

Say no to limp lettuce and tasteless tofu in your vegetarian dishes. Take some inspiration from some of these amazing vegetarian and vegan restaurants when you’re designing a menu next:

The Gate: It’s London, it’s been around for years, and it’s simply legendary. Here you can snaffle up incredible tikka tofu, relish a mizo glazed aubergine or go all out with their unbelievable Rotolo: dauphinoise potatoes stuffed with heritage roasted beetroot on a bed of Jerusalem artichoke puree, with candied beetroot crisps, a beetroot veloute and goats cheese. Yum.

Vanilla Black: Possibly the only fine dining vegetarian restaurant in the UK, this place sets the bar. Modern, adventurous cooking brings you unusual flavour combinations (quinoa with brie ice cream anyone?) and influences that are both classical and molecular. The menu has to be seen to be believed!

Bistro 1847: Named after the year the Vegetarian Society was founded, Bistro 1847 is one of Manchester’s most sophisticated vegetarian restaurants. Walking the line of the modern British establishment, you’ll find familiar favourites here, but with a twist. The fish and chip alternative (beer battered halloumi with a mushy pea emulsion) has to be tried.

Woodruffs Organic Café: Some say that simply arriving in Stroud is enough to make your hair turn pink and Crocs appear on your feet. But if the vibe alone is not sufficiently wholesome, a visit to the legendary Woodruffs will fit the bill.  Choose a spicy Mexican breakfast or the hearty Goan coconut dahl to give your macrobiotics a kick start.

Feeling inspired yet? If you’re ready to go off and redesign your vegetarian dishes, our products can help you pack in the big flavours for your meat free customers, in an easy and convenient way. Take a look at our delicious butternut squash risotto recipe, using our Vegetable Bouillon to add a deep, rich flavour that your customers will love, or whip up some mind blowing hot peri peri mayo to give your veggie dish a kick.

What vegetarian dishes go down well in your restaurant? Have you seen an uptick in demand? Let us know at  info@chefspass.co.uk

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