Chef takes on vegan challenge
Taking vegetarianism a step furtherHAMISH CARDWELL
Blenheim chef Ben Jamesis belt-less and butter-free after pledging to go vegan for a month. He started on Monday.
The Raupo Riverside Cafe sous chef was talking with the cafe's maitre d' Diana Kovacs and Hotel d'Urville chef de parte Thomas Cresswell over beers after work about the increasing number of vegans dining at the cafe.
They dared each other to adopt a vegan diet for a month.
"We just thought it would be nice to empathise with them and know where they are coming from. It will [also] help my thinking as a chef," said Mr James.
A vegan diet takes vegetarianism a step further, excluding all animal products, including dairy and honey. Some practitioners extend the practice beyond food, and do not wear any animals products.
Mr James had his first major setback yesterday when his wife pointed out his merino clothes were off limits, as were his leather belt and wallet. He now carries a coin purse.
"We're doing the full thing," he said.
However, they have allowed one exception - the chefs can taste all the food they are cooking to check the flavour.
Mr Jones hopes the experiment will give him a better understanding of what vegans want.
Diana Kovacs said she will miss not being able to wear her comfortable leather shoes.
"Working in hospitality I am walking miles everyday . . . this will be the hardest part for me."
She is also giving up alcohol and coffee and Mr Cresswell is cutting his pack-a-day cigarette habit.
Mr James is writing a blog at: whatisavegan.blogspot.co.nz.
- The Marlborough Express