Beyond Veganuary with Dee Mehta

Beyond Veganuary with Dee Mehta


Dee Mehta is slightly obsessed with proving that veganism isn't an elitist and all or nothing practise. After graduating in Design and Management from Parsons in New York, feeling the cost of fast fashion was too high, Dee realigned her value and followed her passion to study for a Plant Based Culinary at Le Cordon Bleu. We are almost at the end of Veganuary and Dee shares her tips or advice to flexitarians and omnivores on how to continue incorporating a plant-based diet into their daily routine.

girl, chef, dog
Dee and her dog Darcey
Dee Mehta: In her own words:
My greatest piece of advice is always to start with foods that you enjoy and look for plant based alternatives where necessary. Don't put pressure on yourself to eat 'clean' or plan elaborate meals in the beginning. Take it slow, focus on falling in love with plant based dishes and don't beat yourself up if you fail a few times. Food is such a personal thing and I think that when we find what we like it's much easier to fit it into our daily lives.
 
I've just started the Plant Based Culinary Arts course at Le Cordon Bleu London which is a wholly Plant Based Course. I've wanted to learn culinary skills for many years but there haven't been plant focused courses until recently and learning on animal products at general courses didn't feel right so I've been literally waiting years for this magic to begin! Unfortunately due to the current pandemic our in person classes have been postponed by a month but I've been taking optional seminars given twice a week and it's been amazing to hear seasoned chefs talk about plant based alternatives in demonstrations and lectures, it's definitely the future of food. I did the online Food Future Institute Course by Chef Matthew Kenney last year and it was so much fun to learn specified vegan cooking from a plant pioneer.
 
I went fully vegan diet-wise in 2014 after watching a documentary called Hungry for Change. I was a complete non vegetarian before but the logic of eating plant based whole foods for health made so much sense to me. I set myself a goal of going plant based for a week and then two weeks and then a month, fast forward almost 7 years and I've never looked back. As soon as I made the connection to the ethical implications of veganism a year later I put the changes into my lifestyle with beauty and skincare products, clothing and accessories. It didn't all happen overnight though, it took some research and a lot of label reading to naturally lead a fully vegan lifestyle.
vegan, carrots, greens, beans
 
I can always depend on Pasta to make me happy. In any form; stir fried noodles, soupy ramen and Italian spaghetti are my go to meals. It's also one of the most accessible ways to cook a plant based meal for non vegans because everyone loves a bowl of Penne Pomodoro.
 
I can't just choose one! I get a little obsessed with ingredients and flavours and end up cooking and ordering food with those until it's like coming out of my ears. I've recently been trying to do all sorts of wizardry on Tofu, I love making tofu scramble and I've been experimenting with fish style tofu this week and it's been like watching my favourite movie after a few years, just as perfect as ever. (I'm posting this recipe over the weekend and I'm so excited to share this magical White Fish Tofu with everyone!)
 
I went to Parsons the New School for Design in New York and studied Design and Management for my BBA. I started out interning at Fashion Magazines between Harper's Bazaar and V Magazine in New York, I wanted to be the real life mix of Carrie Bradshaw and Anna Wintour.
Girl, hat, dog
Dee and Darcey
Once I graduated I worked in every corner of the fashion industry; from stylists, to ecommerce, to clothing brands and eventually I was the brand manager of an amazing female led Jewellery Company called Ananya Fine Jewellery. I recently left it all to focus on food. I have a dream of creating small batch, intentionally vegan clothing but I'm aware that we have a fast fashion problem right now especially during the pandemic so I'm currently wholly focused on food.
 
I'm currently obsessed with Noize, it's so cold at the moment and their jackets are absolutely gorgeous, I want them all! I've tried to shop as locally and mindfully as possible this year so I've been buying from small brands I love like Self Care Company, Newt London and Sassy Spud Shop to stay comfortable at home. My go to for timeless accessories is Stella McCartney and I've got my eye on some pieces at Three Six Five London for my next treat.

Instagram @Vegan.Dee and Website www.theyandus.com