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Q&A with Katy Bestow

Want to learn more about veganism? Look no further than our Q&A with Katy Beskow

Vegan is the word on everyone’s lips. More and more people are boycotting animal products, with others vying to find out what being a vegan truly means and whether they could incorporate it into their day-to-day lives. We chatted with Katy Beskow, otherwise known as Little Miss Meat Free, about the misconceptions surrounding veganism, plus her passion for cooking and her exciting new book, 15 Minute Vegan.

When and why did you decide to become a vegan?

I became a vegan back in 2006 after moving to London and stumbling across a fruit and vegetable market, which inspired me to try new ingredients and cook from scratch. As a life-long vegetarian, I simply no longer had the money to buy cheese, eggs and milk and opted for vegan alternatives that I found at the market. I’ve never looked back, and now enjoy a full vegan lifestyle.

What are the biggest misconceptions about veganism?

People often think that veganism isn’t for them because it may be time-consuming, expensive and lots of effort. My book 15 Minute Vegan breaks down these barriers by showcasing fast, effortless meals, from breakfast through to dinner, with a focus on simple, delicious dishes.

Do you ever find it difficult maintaining a vegan diet, such as when you go out to eat?

Times really are changing, and it’s so much easier to eat out as a vegan in 2017, from high-street chain restaurants with vegan menus to call-ahead independents.

Have you noticed an increase in people deciding to become vegan? Why do you think that is?

There has been a huge increase in people deciding to go vegan for a number of reasons, including an interest in what goes into food and its production, sustainability and the availability of vegan-friendly ingredients and goods.

When did you first start cooking? Has it always been a passion of yours?

My primary love is food. I love cooking, eating and feeding others. I’d often be asked by friends and family for a recipe, so I decided to post them online in a blog, which really took off. I then started getting regular magazine commissions, catering private events and teaching classes at cookery schools. My earliest memories are cooking with my mum as a child, but I’ve been cooking professionally for nearly four years now.

What’s your go-to snack when you’re feeling a bit peckish?

I love cooking up some quick tortilla chips and scooping up some salsa and guacamole. They’re always on the go in my kitchen!

What’s your absolute favourite recipe from your new cookbook?

I love Kerala Cauliflower Curry served with clouds of basmati rice. It packs a great flavour punch and is ready from pan to plate in 15 minutes.

What’s your ultimate guilty pleasure?

Violet vegan ice cream from Yorica! in Soho. Whenever I’m in town, I go and get a tub.

What’s it like for you sharing your passion for veganism with your followers on social media as @LittleMissMeatFree?

Great fun. It’s wonderful to interact with so many passionate, interesting people from all types of backgrounds. I love sharing tips and ‘real life’ kitchen updates with them too.

How has being a vegan affected your overall health and wellbeing?

For me, any health benefit is a happy side-effect of a vegan diet. I’m not a vegan for health reasons, but to enjoy sustainable, ethical food. I detest the phrase ‘clean-eating’, as no food is clean or dirty, it’s all about balance and choice. There’s so much more to food than health – memories, soul, happiness and comfort.

What advice would you give to anyone considering becoming a vegan?

Going vegan can seem daunting, so start by cooking one vegan meal. Then have a vegan day every week. Replace your cow’s milk with a non-dairy milk such as soya, oat, coconut or almond. You should never feel restricted by a vegan lifestyle, as so many products are accidentally vegan – such as biscuits and treats!

15 Minute Vegan by Katy Beskow (£15, Quadrille)

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