When All Nations opened Dec 2017 in Hackney were people surprised to see a rich Caribbean menu which is vegan?
Yes. Sometimes people come in and are surprised in the variety of vegan dishes. People think they have less choice in vegan food. I want to show them we have a lot of choice and you can also have the healthy options that are substantial. A lot of vegan foods now are processed, so I wanted to stick to the natural ingredients. I use most of the ingredients I grew up on and keep it simple. People taste the difference between processed and natural ingredients but people are surprised to see you can keep a dish simple but still have a lot of flavours with the right herbs.
As a partner and mother of 7 children how did you manage to satisfy your family on vegan food.
Six of my boys were born into a vegan diet, and they do not crave anything else. The eldest son was different. He knows the taste of meat and I tried to turn this taste into something that compliment the dishes that I do. Many times it is just seasoning the food right that makes it work. Sometimes people think they like the taste of the meat but really they just like how the meat I seasoned. So if you season the vegan food well that works too.
In recent years vegan cooking has become popular. But traditionally our dishes and diets were vegetable based. So why do so many of us struggle to be vegan now.
People need a motivation and a reason to do things. Now people eat so much meat that we need a reason to give the food a chance. For some people once you say ‘vegan’ they turn their mind off it because they are used to eating in one way.
A lot of us grew up around meat. But meat farming 50years ago was completely different to today. How they process and prepare meat now is scary. So now we have all these illnesses and people do not know which way to turn. But people fear cutting out the meat.
But if they can open their mind and see it is a healthier option that can satisfy them then they would not struggle so much.
Personally, I decided to change my diet years ago when I had fibroids. I have felt so much better since, I have had more energy and I can honestly say that living a vegan lifestyle had a positive affect on my life.
What advice would you give people who do not know where to start on a vegan journey.
Being vegan you start to get used to the taste of food being different. For juicing people can add Agave syrup. But also a cleanse is good to help balance their palate then the raw food and juicing becomes the norm. Have a cleanse to then build on a strong foundation.
Try a vegan meal in the week. Try slowly to give it a space in your life.
At All Nations my ackee and mushroom dish is very popular. When people get a the taste of the ackee they are surprised to not to miss the saltfish, and still get the taste they are looking for.
The diet of the black community is struggling due to western influence. The people back home compared to here eat differently.
It is a simple concept we are what we eat. Sometimes we take that statement lightly but it is a simple fact. Whatever you put in you will get the result of that, and sometimes when I look around I honestly see our people are being made sick on out diet, and have fear of not knowing how to try anything different.
Atreka – All Nations Vegan House
8 Sandringham Rd, Dalston, London E8 2LP
020 7254 0023