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Veggies, why not?

Tony Jardella, Head Chef at The Duck Hook & Hillhouse Brasserie, shares his expert advice on eating healthy.



Published: Fri 29 Jan 2021, 3:42 PM

With the increasing demand for vegan dishes, I knew the challenge was set - as chefs, we have to ensure that our menus reflect what diners are looking for and we live what we serve. I started by writing down the vegan dishes that I would like to eat. I had the meals planned and my mind locked, ready to go.

After the first few days my supporting colleagues and I had more energy, we felt lighter and less bloated after meals. Turns out that going vegan inspired us to think of better plant-based dishes, we looked at different meat alternatives, vegan cheese and vegetarian meals.

Advice to first-timers

Start slowly, try one day a week! Set the challenge and I'm sure you will actually be surprised how easy it is. If you still face challenges, try going vegetarian, as that is a good way to ease in. Also try meal prep; cooking in batches is a convenient way to cook at home and prepare meals in advance.

Cooking must-haves

Cashew nuts and oats for vegan cooking. Cashews are useful in so many recipes from vegan mayonnaise to vegan parmesan cheese. You can prep items like mushroom ragu or Thai curry sauce ahead of time and pop it in your freezer.

Cooking hacks

I think the best way to plan meals are three sides as a main meal, or carbs, such as pasta or rice, as the main base. Some great meat substitutes out there are worth a try. Incorporate your favourite plant-based ingredients to guarantee you will like the meal you prepare.

Favourite snacks

Peanut butter pancakes, or dark chocolate rice crispy treats.


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