- February 15, 2020
January is over but for my final foray I went along to Moshimo, a firm favourite of mine, for their Vegan Challenge. I went along to the very first one ten years ago and have been many times in between. It’s a brilliant idea and a brilliant evening from the people who created the internationally acclaimed Love Fish Campaign which promotes sustainable practices in the fishing and food industries.
January was a vegan obsessed month, some of which I actually enjoyed and some, well less so, but I love the Moshimo gang and I was thrilled when they mailed me to see if I would like to be involved in a bigger way this year. Well I get that sort of mail all the time, usually from people who want me to stand up and talk. Not this time, far from it, this time they wanted me to put my head on the block and take part in the actual challenge.
Maybe vegans are not ready for food to be fun or ironic
Now let me be clear, I am and long have been a confident and well practiced home cook, not a chef, far from it, but my friends tell me that I can deliver in the kitchen department. So off I went to meet Nicky, Carland Darrek their chef.
It soon became clear that what they were proposing was far braver than just asking me to prepare a dish, no, I was to create a dish with their chef and in their name, a joint effort. Daunting for me and beyond trusting for them.
All the dishes are meant to plant their roots in Japanese culinary tradition which I can understand, and of course they need to be small as the attending customers are expected to eat six of them plus some generous extras between.
I’m not known for being serious, some may call me flippant and I certainly enjoy a joke, so my suggestion was that we create a pie and sauce. Their response was positive and a few weeks later Darrek had put together a rather creditable pie that looked like a pie. It needed a bit of tweaking and the sauces were still required but I was pleased. At the next stage, sauces in place we tweaked the presentation, Darrek had made it rather cheffy but I wanted it to be boldly plain, pie and sauce!
On the night the dishes were pretty amazing and in particular one which was a vegan take on the scotch egg, technically brilliant and super tasty. There were a few I didn’t like, one with a vegan food product with all the charm of an ice hockey puck and a few were key, and expensive,ingredients were lost. And there were a lot of dishes that involved deep frying which in eco terms is probably not quite right. But those I liked I really loved and the evening is one of the best nights out you can have with food, highly recommended.
And you vote too, the winners moving on to the final later in the year. So how did our pie do I hear you ask. Well we didn’t win, nor should we, there were a couple of far more deserving dishes that night. That said people close by cleared their plates of pie and mopped up the sauces. Perhaps the audience of mainly committed vegans are not ready for their food to be fun or ironic – ah well I had a great time!
Bartholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JS