There was a time I visited my friend Mien’s place, after she had returned from a few years of working in Mexico. She served me some pasta she cooked with local veggies. She explained that she was mostly eating plant-based while living abroad, and her food experiences endowed upon her an appreciation for local produce wherever she was.
I remember looking at the kailan.
A part of me was impressed.
Another part of me couldn’t compute it.
Fast forward several years later, and I’m standing in a war zone of a kitchen, getting lost in ecstasy over a experiment gone completely right involving kailan and dessert.
As a purist as I used to be with how food should be made, it no longer applies to my life as I’m breaking all rule imaginable as a vegan recipe developer. I’m already replacing a beef patties in burgers with mutant-sized mushrooms. Some people would straight up decide that that just does not work. I get it, as much as I once felt about kailan on pasta.
That’s the beauty that I didn’t see coming about what I do. Cooking not only vegan, but vegan AND local, breaks down perceptions and builds new ones. And I get to share these new perceptions with my community and the world to ignite and inspire. “I would have never, ever thought about making satay out of jackfruit!” I’ve been told as someone ate my creation. To see people’s faces widen with wonder, it is to literally see minds opening up.
When my friend Claire Sancelot from The Hive invited me to take on her Farmer’s Basket Workshop, I said yes… Albeit with some apprehension on what I could make out of it. I normally give a local Farmer’s selection the simple stir-fry treatment – certainly not anything worth teaching.
The previous workshop facilitator was a food maestro who managed to achieve the impossible in my books: make a fantastic-tasting cake out of bittergourd. I doubt I could top such sorcery. But whilst I was developing the workshop, I had a lot more fun with local produce than I thought I would. And the results surprised even myself.
If you’re up for experiencing local produce in ways you may not have thought of, then join me at the workshop! We’ll get rolling, blending, baking and rolling a bit more. My ultimate hope is for you to expand your own world as a kitchen scientist – or artist, if you prefer! – with homecooked food that not only nourishes, but awakens something from within.