Hi, I’m David and I’m development chef here at Blue Apple. I absolutely love making and tasting new flavours for our customers and now I’ve been asked to share my favourite recipes and give you a little insight into my role and what I get up to day-to-day.
In my capacity as our Executive Chef I write recipes, train our chefs, prepare and present food for our sales team and generally have the best time doing it!
Last year I was asked ‘what do you think of incorporating WFPB (whole food plant-based) eating into my weekly diet?’ My reply? ‘Well I can see the benefits of it, but I love my meat and I just think the idea is bonkers—it’s just a fly by night fad that will last about 6 months!’
Both of my Nan’s were home cooks. One was great, the other gave it a good go. Now here’s the thing, both were cut from the same cloth; products of the Second World War, Nanny Belsey made parachutes for our soldiers, Nanny Westoby worked in a clothing factory and both assisted in some way to support this country during a hard time in our history. After the war food was expensive, scarce, low on variety and of average quality due to rationing and trade, and the housewives in those days would have to be resourceful with every ounce of food they had in their larder. For example, toad-in-the-hole was a way to use a limited amount of sausages (which were rationed) with a basic batter to create a classic dish.
After the war the Sunday roast became a pivotal meal. It was something to look forward to and was considered a luxury. After the meal every part of the leftovers was used to save money and getting the most out of the ingredients was key. Bubble and squeak was made from the cooked vegetables and crushed roast potatoes and then re-baked. Any leftover meat was used across the week in some way, shape or form. My mum would tell me that the meat joint on a Sunday was eaten up until Wednesday or Thursday with fish on a Friday, and then the cycle would begin again!
It really highlights how food is now abundant and everywhere you turn it seems there’s a restaurant serving a new trend or a far-flung style of cookery.
We have lost sight of how we got here, as a society we have become greedy and slightly nonchalant towards our needs and actually we need more than ever to look at not only what we eat, but how we eat it. We throw away so much food from our fridges because we thrive on variety, when we should be inventive with our food to reduce our weekly food bill. Look at how the supermarkets sell meat on our shelves; you would be hard pushed to find a substantial joint of meat as they are now very small and very pricey. Not very economical at all!
Meat on our shelves has become a very obtainable commodity and not the luxury it once was and The Earth cannot sustain this with livestock farming around the world contributing to a large percentage of greenhouse gases. The plant based and whole food diet seems more plausible if the sustainability angle is used more in the argument. As caterers we can look back in history and take a leaf out of our ancestors’ book and be more creative and innovative with our dishes, for example, I ate a vegetarian meal today and what I had was great and I never felt for a minute that the dish needed meat.
We are now watching our food waste, something that they also did years ago and we are now encouraged to eat no more than 4oz of meat a day and to increase the fruit and vegetables in our diet ― something that was the norm 70 years ago. Maybe we should use the examples of the past to help us understand how we manage world food problems facing us today and the future, for example, the cooks of yesteryear made broths out of the meat bones (meat bone broths are now very popular again) and this is a something my mum still practices today!
Coming back to today, when I ask myself ‘what do I think of incorporating WFPB (whole food plant-based) eating into my weekly diet?’ I think it’s a great opportunity to be creative, inventive and mindful about our food, but if you had asked me that last year I’d have laughed at you. I made a roasted cauliflower steak topped with macaroni cheese, wilted spinach, broccoli florets and a toasted ciabatta crumb drizzled with rapeseed oil, it tasted great and it would challenge any meat protein main course which is ultimately where we should be getting to.