Veggie Queen on mission
As National Vegetarian Week kicks off, veggie entrepreneur Dee Collins pushes Irish vegetables into the centre of the plate...
Irish vegetables have been pushed into the spotlight with the launch of National Vegetarian Week yesterday.
Headed up veggie queen Dee Collins, founder of Dee’s Wholefoods, the week aims to raise awareness and change the Irish perspective when it comes to vegetables.
“People often say to me that vegetables are so boring and that healthy eating is so expensive so this week is all about educating and making people more aware of how great a vegetarian food can be,” said Dee, whose vegan range has just been launched in Waitrose, UK.
“In places like LA and San Francisco vegetarian food is very forward. Beyonce and Jay Z regularly go to Crossroads, a really inspiring vegan restaurant in LA. In these cities, vegetables are in the spotlight and that’s what I’d like this week to keep on achieving.”
As part of National Vegetarian Week, Dee is encouraging vegetarians and vegans around the country to get out and enjoy veggie street feasts despite the rainy weather.
“Barbecues are often so meat focused but there are so many delicious things you can do on the grill with vegetables.
"We do a delicious vegan sausage so that’s a personal favourite, but Portobello mushrooms drizzled with a good quality olive oil, or roasted peaches make a great barbecue addition. I love to barbecue avocado. It’s delicious,” she said.
The celebration of Irish vegetables is also set to include an exciting pop-up dining club at a secret location in Cork City on Thursday, fronted by Bardin chef Mark Cronin.
“The evening’s menu is an exciting vegan experience and Mark has some really amazing things on the menu including truffled asparagus, wasabi and peanut grilled stuffed aubergines and maple glazed sweet potatoes,” she said.
For those a bit sceptical of the ten course feast, Dee insists that the evening often changes attitudes towards vegan dining.
“There was an old man who came last year to one of our pop-ups with the idea that the dinner wasn’t going to fill him up and that we’d be serving bits of lettuce.
“He was totally flabbergasted by the meal and blown away by how much he enjoyed it. Instead of feeling tired, bloated and stuffed, he said he had a bit more room for a pint or two,” she laughed.
In celebration of the occasion, new Dublin hotspot San Lorenzos has kicked off a vegetarian menu which will run for the duration of the week but Dee says that there are so many restaurants providing great experiences for vegetarians throughout the country.
“In Cork, Greenes on MacCurtain Street offers a great vegan menu if you just let them know in advance and Jacobs on the Mall is great too. In Dublin Cornocopia is delicious and if you’re in the capital this week you should definitely check out San Lorenzo’s vegetarian menu. It looks amazing,” she finished.