Q&A with vegan guru Camilla Al-Fayed

20 April 2017 by
First published: 22 August 2016

Check out this Q&A with vegan guru Camilla Al-Fayed, owner of new plant-based restaurant Farmacy, which has made eating vegetarian and vegan a real treat.

What do you think are the top health benefits of a vegan diet?
Increased energy levels, good digestion, radiant skin, weight loss and a healthy diet. Since I’ve become vegan I feel a lot better – much more energised.

What do you think is a common misconception about eating vegan?

Firstly, the protein myth: the illusion of meat being your only protein source is a common reason why people avoid a vegan diet – it is easy to get your recommended amount of protein from a plant-based diet. Secondly, that the food is boring. Since Farmacy has opened the response has been overwhelming. I think it has proved to people that vegan food is not only healthy, but also tasty and indulgent! Many of the dishes on our menu have surprised customers, showing how delicious plant-based food can be by using lesser-known ingredients such as macadamia to create a ‘cheese’ and using chickpea water to make meringues.

How’s best to get your protein fix on a vegan diet?

Hemp seeds are a great source of protein along with spirulina, brown rice, nuts, beans and lentils. These can all provide a greater source of protein than meat and have some amazing health benefits. Spirulina for example is very high in nutrients, is full of antioxidants and is a superfood.

What inspired Farmacy?

We wanted to create a destination where people can dine knowing that all ingredients have been carefully and ethically sourced and to join a global health revolution, as we become more aware of what we feed our bodies. When I was in California, I saw how popular a healthy lifestyle is and was inspired to create Farmacy; a place where I could share my philosophy on nutrition. My ambition in the months ahead is to expand and grow the Farmacy brand.

Why do you think vegan restaurants are doing so well now?

People are finally becoming more environmentally conscious and recognising the vast health benefits of vegan food. Also it has become increasingly popular to look after your body by keeping fit and eating healthily. Young people, especially, are turning to yoga, fitness and healthy eating experts as their idols and role models.

How is Farmacy different to other vegan restaurants? 

We wanted to make healthy eating fun in a beautiful setting. A lot of people expect vegan food to be boring, but Farmacy is an opportunity to show people that vegan food can be chic, tasty and fun. At Farmacy we make sure to consider every detail to guarantee our diners have the best possible experience, we even take the time and effort to sprout (soak overnight) all our grains and pulses to make each dish more easily digestible.

Do you have a background in food? How did you get into it? 

This is my first food venture apart from being a massive superfood geek. Years of research for my own health and personal growth has enabled me to bring a collective knowledge from around the globe to Farmacy. It is amazing to be able to share my food passion with people who may not have tried something like it before.

For those who view plant-based eating as daunting, what would be your advice?

Come and try Farmacy’s food and prepare to be surprised as to how delicious vegan food can be! So many of my meat-eating friends have been surprised at how much they love it and how guilt-free they feel after an evening out.