We’re celebrating World Meat Free Week with Quorn and Chantelle Nicholson

This week has seen the semi-finals of National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) and the Young National Chef of the Year (YNCOTY) competition. It’s also World Meat Free Week and over the last few year’s NCOTY Chair of judges, Gary Jones has put meat free dishes into his briefs for the semi-finals and final. Many of our sponsors do a fantastic job of promoting meat free options and as part of this awareness campaign we’ve been hearing from Quorn Foods who sponsor Young National Chef of the Year and the Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards.  

Quorn is proud to partner with talented chef, Chantelle Nicholson, who is Chef Patron of Tredwells. As part of this week’s spotlight, the team at Quorn has been chatting to her to find out more about her thoughts on this topic.

Why do you think consumers are showing so much more interest in meat free options at the moment?

Consumers are becoming more aware of the need to change the way we eat in relation to our personal health and the health of our planet. For many, eating meat has become a conscious decision rather than the default and consumers want the option to be able to enjoy delicious food without including meat in the creation of it.

Is it important for the hospitality industry to support meat free alternatives?

The hospitality industry plays a crucial part in being able to support moves to bettering the food system in general. Meat-free alternatives, in both plants and alternative proteins, are key factors to enable this to move forward. Consumers need to be presented with meat-free options that are delicious and just as appealing as meat options to start a shift towards a more flexitarian approach to our diets.

This year the NCOTY brief focused on a vegetarian starter, why is this so important for the competition and wider industry?

NCOTY introducing a vegetarian starter in the competition is an important move to validating what we as chefs need to do; create delicious food with both plant-based and non plant-based options. We all need to be more conscious in our sourcing, our dish creation and utilisation of more biodiverse plant forward ingredients.  

How can meat free impact our health?

Phrases like ‘more veg, better meat’ are becoming commonplace mantras not only in the consumer world but also that of hospitality. Choosing our ingredients more consciously reduces our impact on the planet, and can also have a positive effect on our health when done with informed thinking.

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