Joey O’Hare chef The 29-year-old vegcentric chef, founder of Hare on the Hill supper club and MasterChef contestant talks about vegetarian cooking.
During the week, my alarm goes off at6.45am and I’ll head to a nearby yogaclass in Brixton. Then I’ll head home toshower and, over a cup of herbal tea,write my to-do list, check emails and catch up onsocial media, then eat breakfast around 10am. I lovescrambled egg and avocado drizzled with olive oil andyoghurt, nuts and berries in a bowl with Plenishcoconut milk, and a black coffee.’
‘I’ve always loved food – at 18,I attended a cookery school ona biodynamic farm in Ireland,where I helped with running arestaurant, from field to fork. Itmade me fully appreciate andengage with food and taughtme to care deeply about itsprovenance. Back in London, I spent ayear honing my professional skills beforestudying for my degree in culinary arts,then I went to work as a private chefin 2015. Later that year, a friendpersuaded me to apply to BBC Two’sMasterChef: The Professionals.
The Hill Supper Club And Masterchef Contestant Photo Gallery
I wasamazed to be offered a place and,although the prospect of cooking on TV wasterrifying, the experience was very positive. It helpedme grow as a cook and then launch Hare on the Hill,a vegcentric supper club in south London.‘It was around this time, in March 2016, that I readbooks by American food writer Michael Pollen, whichprompted me to think more about the environmentalimplication of our western diets. I hit on the termvegcentric to sum up that feeling of “I’m not vegetarianbut don’t eat a lot of meat”. I cook with the ethos thatveg should be the main attraction,while quality meat and fish shouldappear on the periphery. It’s a foodiephilosophy that’s gaining popularity,as people start thinking more aboutthe ecological, ethical and healthimplications of eating so much meatand not enough plant-based foods.‘I often spend the morning cooking andphotographing food in my kitchen to use for thewebsites and social media accounts of the brands Icollaborate with, such as Plenish, Tabasco and Great British Chefs. I’ll munch on raw veg and sip a glass of ice-cold kombucha – a fermented green tea drink packed with probiotics that are great for gut health – then break for lunch at 2pm.’
‘I tend to eat whatever I’ve beenrecipe testing or styling as I abhorfood waste. I always add fermentedfoods such ascauliflower or kohlrabikimchi to add flavourand boost gut health.I’ll also have leaves andcooked spelt or pearlbarley – high-fibresmart carbs – drizzled with olive oiland live cider vinegar. I’ll eat ahomemade vegan chocolate, too.‘In the afternoon, I cycle tomeetings with my literary agent (I’mwriting my first cook book), food-industrycontacts and chefs I’m collaborating with.Back home, I type up recipes and startprepping for forthcoming events.‘If I’m not meeting friends for dinner, I’lleat at home around 7.30pm, often with mybrother, whom I live with. But I love checkingout new restaurants once or twice a fortnight.I sometimes work in the evenings, blogging,putting up a new recipe on my website orposting on Instagram. I try to have a screenbreak before sleeping so, at 10pm, I turn offmy devices. I use my bedtime reading toresearch environmentalism and food forDaylesford Discusses, a panel I coordinatefor Daylesford Organic.‘I’m happiest when I’m in my kitchen –planning the next pop-up, collaborating withnew chefs, working on my book, growingHare on the Hill and working on my website,foodwithtime.com. It’s all very exciting!’
JOEY’S VEGCENTRIC TIPS
Always choose fruit and veg that’s in season – it’ll have more flavour.
Keep jars of toasted nuts and spicy seeds in your cupboard to jazz up a simple salad and add texture, plant- based protein and satiating good fats.
Shop at a farmer’s market! Produce can rarely be beaten on flavour, freshness or price and it’s a great choice for the environment too.