Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse of celebrated Melbourne restaurant Smith & Daughters are out to challenge the preconceptions of a vegan diet. And with an innovative vegan cookbook hot off the press and queues out the door at their restaurant and deli, they’re definitely on to something.
You’re all about reversing people’s perceptions of ‘bland, plant-based diets’. Why the drive?
Because it doesn’t have to be! Vegan food doesn’t have to be bland, uncreative or downright bad anymore. The conceptions are justified – there’s been some really bad food for vegans for a very long time and it’s time to change that.
It’s time to make restaurants, shops and cookbooks for people looking to make changes in their life but not sacrifice flavour. The drive is to prove veganism can be big, bold, creative, exciting and best of all, delicious.
“The drive is to prove veganism can be big, bold, creative, exciting and best of all, delicious.”
As restaurateurs and chefs, what have you perceived about the rise of a vegan diet?
We feel really fortunate to be on this amazing upward tilt in perceptions of a vegan diet and lifestyle. We see people on a near daily basis come into the restaurant prepared to leave and head to McDonald’s, but after their meal they can’t even walk properly they’re so full and happy.
The rise is rapid. There are more and more options in your local pubs, supermarkets, and cafes – veganism is everywhere. Even the prevalence of the word vegan in mainstream media is incredible. It isn’t as much of a dirty, heavily psychologically laden word that it once was.
All-time fave recipes from the book people should try this summer?
Summer time book favourites include Chargrilled Corn with Chipotle Crema and Cheese Dust, Brazilian Slaw, Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa, Pickled Veg Salad, Chocolate Pate, Brekkie Burrito… Okay, all the recipes!
Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse is published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $48.00.