One of my classes this term has been a vegetarian class, where some ingredients were ordered and we were told we had four-and-a-half hours to create three vegetarian dishes. It’s a fundamental part of where the food industry is going, with the growing awareness of allergens and religious and moral food-based decisions.
Personally for me, I think making vegetarian food is more challenging, creative and there is a greater need for attention to detail. If you have a dish with a protein element, that’s the star of the show. But with vegetarian, a lot more effort needs to come in to to make a vegetable the star of the show. Cooking protein does take skill and finesse, but cooking vegetarian food means a lot more concentration on flavouring, pairings and intricate details.
For one of the vegetarian dishes, I made a spinach and Parmesan tart with a hollandaise sauce. I really wanted to make something with clean and complimentary flavours, that was seasoned well and simple. I was really happy with this and the swede risotto (featured above) as sometimes vegetarian foods can not have much thought put in. However, this is evolving a lot throughout industry as restaurants are becoming more and more focused on how they cater to all dietary requirements. Vegans and vegetarians are such a large target group at the moment and I think this has been a brilliant way to not only make restaurants but also home cooks move away from meat and two veg as an option for every meal.
It was really nice to see how everyone used the different ingredients. We were given three example recipes and some people stuck to them like glue, some made minor adaptations, some put their own twist on them and some like me and Nicole threw them out the window.
Overall, vegetarian food is becoming ever more popular and as chefs, it’s all about the customer!