Reader's Corner - Vegan Love

Vegan Love. Credit: David Bez

Published: 15 Jun 2022

Hannah Crump chats with David Bez about putting veggies at the centre of the plate and the inspiration for his new book ‘Vegan Love’.

Can you sum up your latest book, ‘Vegan Love’ in one sentence? 

Treat BIG veggies like you would treat meat or fish.

What inspired you to write this book? How is it connected to the other books you’ve written?

Britain’s supermarkets and customers are flooded with cheap, highly refined, very unnatural vegan replacements for meat and cheese, and a lot of vegans are realising that those replacements are processed and not very healthy. This trend has also been turning off a lot of non-vegans that want to be more mindful with their choices, but still enjoy good food.

When I had my last restaurant, Plant Hub in Hackney, I realised that it was easy to feed people with a lot of pasta, pizza and carbs, but what I really wanted to cook were nourishing, less refined and more natural meals, without compromising taste and comfort.

Through plant-based food I aim to satisfy both vegans and non-vegans. I make tasty veggies using modern culinary techniques, but in a simple way.

It’s not about old classic recipes 'veganized', it’s about bringing big veggies to the next level and, together with pulses, showing people how simple and tasty they can be.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt whilst writing this book?

My journey since writing my first book – Salad Love - has been about rediscovering veggies and I'm amazed at how much I still have to learn and how much I love them! It should be VeggiesLove, not VeganLove. 

What do you hope readers will take from the book?

I would like to bring curiosity into people’s lives, show them what’s possible and inspire them to be more creative with their veggies, as they can be so much more than we think.

Big Veg. Credit: David Bez
Big Veg: Credit, David Bez

What’s your favourite thing to cook with?

I tend to change constantly, but probably my faves at the moment are aubergines and chickpeas.

Can you tell us a little more about your journey to a plant-based diet? 

While making SupperLove (my 3rd book), I felt pretty sick of cooking meat and realised that my body was really refusing it. I then decided to turn SaladPride, my Covent Garden cafe, vegan. It's been very trendy lately to go vegan, but for me it’s been a real calling and my body has been creating the path.

At the same time, I’ve watched a lot of documentaries about animal farming that made me think, I don’t want to be part of this. I do feel for the animal, and I do feel for the consequences of animal farming on the planet.

What’s your top tip for incorporating more veggies into dishes at home?

Swap your perspective. Don’t think of veggies as sides, but start from the veggies and build your plate by thinking of the meat, fish or carbs as sides.

What do you do when you’re not writing books?

I develop new products for a British organic small brand called Sun & Seed and I home educate my child.

Find out more about the fantastic Made in Hackney, a plant-based community cooking school that will give you all the skills you need to create sustainable food at home. 

Find Made in Hackney on Instagram at @madeinhackney and David Bez at @saladpride, and don't forget Jellied Eel's own insta @jelliedeelmag