Meet Vegan Chef Day
Vegan Chef Day is a vegan food designer and personal chef in London. She shares her knowledge of healthy animal-free food with a cook-along Periscope session every Sunday, her recipe website veganchefday.com, cooking demonstrations at VegFest, writing for various magazines, and YouTube videos. She works with brands to develop food concepts, from design to implementation and beyond. You can connect with Day on Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s meet Day in her own words!
I always dreamed of having a job I truly adored. I’ve worked in many different jobs and whilst each of them ticked a few of the boxes, none ticked all of them. I desperately wanted a career that helped animals and people, where I enjoyed the day-to-day tasks, where I could be creative and autonomous and where I could use my hands, where I could move about and be active. Oh, how many times I was told by yet another careers counsellor or online test that I should be an Arts Administrator!
My list was long and some would say unrealistic. But I was cognisant from a young age that we spend the majority of our waking lives at work, and of the negative impact of doing a job that you don’t love. My father worked in factories for over 40 years, doing back-breaking work with crazy shift patterns. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices he made for us. The hatred he had for that work was always visible on his face and I knew I couldn’t do what he did. I did try, however. Working in jobs that were well paid and easy, with lovely co-workers – but those jobs were vampiric soul suckers. Every day I felt the light inside me dull just a little bit more.
In 2009 after leaving the fashion industry and finishing a master’s degree in Art History (which left me more unemployable than I had been before) I stumbled into the food biz. During the Brighton photo biennial I exhibited my photography in a cafe. The owner was interested in me being vegan and asked if I could make vegan and gluten free products for him. I adored this idea. Since becoming vegan in 1995 I had taught myself how to cook out of sheer necessity. I cooked for friends often and presented them with elaborate meals so that I could show them how amazing vegan food could be. To be able to make money whilst doing this was a dream come true. Some would say that this was a complete fluke, an accident. Others would say it was an opportunity from an unlikely source which I recognised and grabbed with both hands. I think it’s a little of both.
Since that time I have worked in pro kitchens, become a head chef, worked across 3 continents, set up 2 new restaurants, worked in 2 monkey sanctuaries, started 3 blogs (and deleted 2), been on stage demonstrating Swiss vegan food to an international audience in Kuala Lumpur, worked for a rogue prince and a become a personal chef. Whilst the experience hasn’t always been plain sailing it has definitely not been boring!
I am now moving into the next stage of my career as a vegan food designer. This is where I get to use all of the skills I developed in art college, together with my knowledge of food. I love working with brands that want to bring great vegan food to people. They are so inspiring to work with and a lot of fun too. But boy, spending your days testing out vegan brownies in a tough gig! Food writing is also a big feature of my life now and I am so stoked to be a regular contributor to both Vegan Health and Fitness magazine and Vegan Food and Living magazine.
I have found my way to a career that helps me to help animals, albeit in a small way. If I can do this – anyone can. If you need advice on following your dreams please do get in touch. I’m always happy to help – firstname.lastname@example.org.