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Vegan Cooking – Easy or Hard?

An Interview With Tallie Samuels From The Cruelty Free Kitchen

With A to Z Yoga’s upcoming retreat we thought it would be a great idea to interview our chef; Tallie Samuels and learn a little more about her background, view on vegan cooking and what AMAZING dishes she has in store for the retreat! So without further adieu here is the interview.

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?

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.

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 a top vegan restaurant; Wild Food Café and began working as a chef for them shortly after.

Amy: Wow, you have an amazing background and have obviously come a long way so what inspired you to start the Cruelty Free Kitchen?

Tallie: 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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

Amy: MMM! Yes this 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 and how easy the vegan diet can be but what do you think is the most important thing for people to understand about Cruelty Free cooking?

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.

Tallie: 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?

I want to make food to perfectly complement your powerful yoga practice. The day is focused on YOU 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!

Amy: Oh my, I literally can’t wait! it sounds so incredibly delicious and I’m sure everyone else will think so too! Well I certainly can’t wait to  have you on our retreat and thank you so much for answering my questions! We’ll see you on the 15th June at Loudwater Farm

You can find out more about Tallie and book her for your own event from her website talliesamuels.com and Instagram @talliescrueltyfreekitchen

If the idea of this amazing vegan food, partnered with some luxurious Yoga classes entices you, then book now for our retreat. Spaces are limited and you only have until 31st March to get the early bird price!

We look forward to seeing everyone there!


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