Sunday, February 06, 2011

Guest Post: Danny Vice-Holt

slow roasted tomato and pepper tricolor ciabatta
Today’s guest post comes from Danny Vice-Holt, a trained vegan chef whose creations (and photos here) you can find at thecapertree.com
I live in a beautiful city in the UK called Brighton, situated on the south coast. In addition to its miles of beaches, historic streets called the ‘Laines’ and a giant palace built by The Prince Regent that looks like the Taj Mahal, Brighton caters for almost any dietary requirement you may have - wheat free, gluten free, celiac, and most notably vegan. I can think of at least nine restaurants dedicated solely to vegetarians and vegans, including an amazing top-end raw food vegan restaurant. But, if you drive ten minutes outside of Brighton, the word ‘vegan’ is rarely uttered. Request a meal containing no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy, and don’t be surprised if you’re presented with salad and fries - or possibly, the door! I feel very lucky to live where I do and if I didn’t live here, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now.

crisp roast potatoes and gravy
I became vegetarian ten years ago for animal welfare reasons, and shortly thereafter trained as a vegetarian and vegan chef. I have worked in many cafes and restaurants over the years and acquired some invaluable skills; how to cook tofu properly being one of them! Even though I learned how to cook beautiful vegan food, for a while I still couldn’t make the leap to veganism myself for one reason: cheese. Lovely cheese. Lovely soft, creamy, smelly, melty, eat-it-with-anything, cheese! I couldn’t get enough of it and my waistline knew it. Regardless of my need for elasticated trousers, I devoured the many different types of cheesy goodness on the market; Brie, Stilton, Cheddar, Buffalo Mozzarella, Emmental, Dolcelatte.

What was bothering me though was the ever-spreading eczema on my hands and legs and the increasing severity of my asthma attacks. I finally made the connection that they both became considerably worse after a heavy cheese-based meal. In fact, it became so bad I once couldn’t breathe properly for four days. I eventually said enough was enough two years ago and became a fully-fledged vegan. Almost immediately, my asthma attacks decreased, my eczema cleared up and I lost weight. It’s odd, I thought I would crave cheese every day. But after looking into the animal welfare standards of dairy farming, it strengthened my conviction and I don’t miss it at all. (Well sometimes I do – I’m only human!)

Last year I had a rather nasty accident, breaking my right wrist in five places. I had an operation and now have five metal plates holding my bones together, which means that though I can cook and create at home, I am unable to work in a commercial kitchen. This prompted me to write my own food blog (www.thecapertree.com), sharing recipes I’ve created over the years as well as new ones. My blog is a reflection of how I view vegan food: if a meal is created with thought, care is well balanced and delicious, even the most hardened carnivore won’t miss the meat. I also feel there is a lack of understanding surrounding veganism and vegan food especially within the non-vegan community. Vegan food is food pure and simple. It’s no different to any other food; it feeds us, nourishes us, pleases us and comforts us when we are sad. It does everything good food should do! The difference is that it is much better for you, and no animal has to suffer or die in the process. Once others make that connection, I think a lot more people will be open to switching to a plant based diet.
Thanks Danny for sharing your story and inspiration. Be sure to check out Danny’s site to check out what he’s cooking for Valentine’s Night!

16 comments:

Audrey said...

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Keep on doing what you love!~

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, that Valentine's dinner sounds (and looks) DIVINE :)

Team Troving said...

Fantastic recipes from your guest blogger. Beautifully written with plenty of humour!

Simon
in the UK.

Paul said...

I am still salivating over the root vegetable stew! Very well written article. I am adding you to my daily reading, thank you so much for you story!

Wendy Altschuler said...

Your story is inspiring.....I think it's fantastic that you've found a way to continue with your passions!

LittleSpoon said...

So beautiful!!!

Thanks for sharing :)

xo

sewa mobil said...

Very nice, thanks for the information.

Thea said...

Loving your story Danny, inspiring stuff and lovely recipes-keep up the good work :-) x

kipperklock photos said...

inspired by what you have written.
Danny sounds like a great vegan foody.
keep up the good work ..

Pandemonia said...

Hurrah for Brighton! And a very inspiring story.

urban vegan said...

You blog-hang with the coolest peeps, Dreena.

Crys said...

Just purchased Eat, Drink and Be Vegan yesterday in preparation for my vegan experiment. Sorting through recipes now. They look amazing! Sweet Potato Lentil Chili is my first effort!

Barclay said...

I really enjoyed this blog - so nice to find something so well written on the Web. Great work Danny and I look forward to reading more from you.

Anonymous said...

It's so good to hear such a positive story coming out of a rubbish time. Really inspiring. I'm going to put the oven on and have a go at some of the ideas from your site. I was going to get a take away but I'm feeling adventurous (and very hungry) now!
Thanks
x

NapoleonsLunch said...

Hey! I'm a vegetarian who has recently gone down the vegan path... however I share a similr problem that most new vegans share I think - the love of cheese.
*cries*

My doctor believes I am allergic to dairy products which triggers my asthma and dry skin..

so I will miss cheese ALOT.

Any tips for a new vegan and their addiction to cheese?

*cries again*

Eat Vegan said...

Great story! Yummy looking food!