At this moment, where are you writing from?
My dining table, which also doubles as the Big Vegan Market ‘office’.
The Lords are super excited to be a part of this year’s Big Vegan Market, how long has it been running and what can we expect to see there?
We’re so excited to have Lord of the Fries on board! This will be the third annual Big Vegan Market. You can expect to sample lots of delicious food and drinks (including LOTF of course), as well as everyday lifestyle products from clothing and accessories to eco conscious beauty and home products.
Where did the idea to start the Big Vegan Market start from?
Tim and I ran our first event together in November 2016 called the Melbourne Vegan Eats Brew and Food Fest (which LOTF were a part of). We had so many businesses contact us to come on board, however, they were more suited to a market setting. In May 2017 we found ourselves running the first Big Vegan Market at the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building.
You’re also behind one of our favourite vegan blogs, @melbourneveganeats. How do you find new places to dine out?
Finding new places to eat in Melbourne is so easy. There has been an absolute explosion of vegan options in the past few years. Plus, anywhere new in Melbourne spreads very fast on the vegan grapevine.
How did you decide to make the switch to a plant-based lifestyle and where did you start?
I made the switch 20 years ago. After growing up on a dairy farm and seeing first-hand how it works, it certainly wasn’t a difficult decision to make. The main challenge back then, while still living in a rural setting was that the lack of vegan replacement food. I couldn’t even get tofu in my local supermarket!
Now, we find an abundance of vegan alternatives available. Luckily for me, I’ve always loved cooking and the challenge of ‘veganising’ recipes, so I’d just experiment with various cuisines.
What are some of your go-to plant-based swaps?
It changes all the time because there is so much available, but my favourite dish at the moment is Green Vie Parmesan. I make a mean basil pesto scrambled tofu and Green Vie Parmesan absolutely makes the dish! The one constant in my pantry is Australia’s Own Organic Vegan Chicken Style Stock. It lifts any dish that calls for stock.
So, your friend wants to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle but doesn’t know where to start, what advice do you give?
Something is better than nothing. Even if it’s just trying one vegan dinner a week, then progressing to a whole day vegan and so on. Then I’d tell them to come to Big Vegan Market so they can see how easy being vegan can be!
What is your key goal that you are always working towards?
Working towards making Big Vegan Market bigger and better each year and to show people how simple it is to be vegan. Tim and I both have full time jobs and work on the market as well for six months of the year. It gets super busy at times, but it’s totally worth it!
A thriving blog and a highly anticipated market, what does the rest of 2019 look like?
After the market I’ll look at planning some time off. Hopefully I can make it overseas for a while. Then, it’s back to planning Big Vegan Market for 2020!
You’ve been working all day and the only thing on your mind is LOTF, what’s your order?
Pfft… as if I’d last all day! I’d probably only make it to lunch and order a Spicy Burger and Classic Fries with French Canadian Sauce. Once the Lords are on my mind, I can’t go on until I’ve had my fix!