Celebrity Chefs – in conversation with Brett Cobley

With less than a week until this year’s Festival of Food and Drink, we caught up with the EpiVegan Brett Cobley.

Brett Cobley, better known as the EpiVegan, will make his Clumber Park debut on Saturday 14th September. He will be hosting live demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre, showcasing how simple and tasty Vegan cooking can be.

Ahead of his appearance, we had a chat with Brett to find out a bit more about how he became a chef, what he likes to cook with, and how being a Vagen has changed his life…

When did you first become interested in food and cooking?
I have always loved cooking ever since I first made peanut butter cookies with my nan. As I grew up it became a way that I would unwind after a stressful day but also a gesture of love to friends and family.

Do you have a signature recipe – that go-to dish? If so, what is it?
My signature dish at home with my family seems to have become my Butternut Squash Madras. My family love it and seem to be recreating it a lot themselves.

What’s your favourite thing to cook?
I would say that my favourite dish to create is my Italian flag Lasagna because it is a real crowd pleaser.

Is there a type of cooking or an ingredient you’d love to learn more about or how to use more? If so, what?
I love all cooking from different parts of the world. I have been experimenting a lot more with Japanese cuisine recently though.

Can you name one ingredient you love cooking with, and one that you hate?
I love cooking with tofu because it is so versatile and there is so much to show people of how best to use it. There aren’t any ingredients that I don’t like cooking with.

Starter or dessert?
I say why not have both! But if you’re going to make me choose my sweet tooth wins every time.

How has your life and cooking changed since becoming Vegan?
My life is unrecognisable but, that is because of the fact that I have changed my focus and energy and directed it towards helping others move towards a lifestyle that will help the animals and the planet.

What’s the biggest myth about Veganism?
The biggest and most common myth is that you can’t get enough protein on a vegan diet. Anyone who says this doesn’t have a good enough grasp of nutrition or what protein actually is to pass comment on the subject.

What’s the question you get asked most about being Vegan and what’s the answer?
It is always “What do vegans even eat?” my answer is “Buy my book! It is literally called What Vegans Eat!”

Favourite restaurant – both locally and beyond?
My favourite place to go and eat in the UK is a pizza restaurant called Picky Wops. Not only because they make amazing pizza but because they are incredible humans. My favourite worldwide would actually be Donna Jeans in San Diego for the same reasons.

Name a simple foodie pleasure?
I am a huge fan of snacks! Creating sweet and salty treats with some texture and you are on to a winner! I am a big fan of sweet and salty popcorn.

If you could cook a three-course meal for four guests of your choosing (past of present) – what are you cooking and who’s coming to dinner?
Wow! What a question! I would cook arancini, carbonara and tiramisu. The guests would be: the leaders of the UK, USA, China and Russia and use the dinner as a time to talk to them about climate change and how we need to act now.

Don’t miss Brett Cobley’s demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre. Book your tickets today to this year’s Festival of Food and Drink – click here