Sometimes the scary-as-hell stuff is really the best stuff you can do.
As much as I love the little slice of internet Guac occupies- across this site, Instagram and Twitter- I've been thinking for a while that I want to start living a bit of my vegan life IRL as well as online. It's easy to forget that some nights, when I've posted a photo of my dinner to Instagram, it's only me that's eating it. It's wonderful to have such a great community of vegans and people genuinely interested in vegan food, but I also got the feeling of late that I want to talk more, cook more and make Guac more of a real-life entity. I suppose that's a natural progression for any blog after a few years.
So I've decided to set up the Guac & Roll Kitchen! As I always seem to make enough for eight people to eat at any given meal, and I love trying out new recipes, it already feels like such an obvious progression I don't know why I didn't start doing it sooner. Homemade vegan food is hard to get hold of- I hope to make it easier! Right now it's very much a part-time affair as Guac Kitchen is also fitting in alongside all of my other freelance work, but I hope to make some more time for this once I've got the basics down. I'm going to be cooking for friends and businesses I think are the real deal right now, and I'd like to keep it that way- possibly adding in some music video catering and supplying riders in the future. I know there's a lot of bands out there that want to eat vegan food when they come to London and there aren't nearly enough options- so if you do have an event in mind, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you're thinking.
Here's what I did for my first ever client- Terrible Movement, an awesome fair trade and sweatshop free fashion brand that's also run by some great people looking to change the world through making ethical clothing people really want to wear. I've worked with TM before on freelance projects so it's always fun to have some super nice friends around, especially when you're trying out new scary ideas like catering for a full day on a busy fashion shoot! Thanks for having me Terrible Movement!
Breakfast and lunch needed to be something light as we'd be running about all day and focusing for 12+ hours, so any usual plans to cook up a massive coconut milk curry weren't going to work- it needed to be granola, salad and snacks. So I made a gluten free, almond, cinnamon and apple granola, along with croissants and pain au chocolats, (Jus-Roll, not all me!), poached rhubarb compote, poached plum and blood orange compote, coconut yoghurts and avocado ciabatta toast.
For lunch I decided to go with five (it ended up being six, of course) big salads, some homemade sweet potato falafels (oh yeah, as a side note, for some reason when I am under pressure I like to make things harder for myself, so I accidentally catered the majority of the day's food to be gluten free, even though no-one needed it to be...), homemade pesto and beetroot hummus. Snacks included homemade flapjacks, brownies and fruit, along with fresh mint, lemon and ginger tea.
It was a long day. It was a long week- including my first ever Ocado shop, (mega thumbs up for a brilliant selection of vegan products), business cards, site visits, navigating the choppy waters of sustainable cutlery and flatware, and some great late-night Chimay drinking with my boyfriend to keep me motivated into the early hours of baking. However- all the 2am finishes and 5am starts and endless debating over menu choices all become worth it when I got to talk to people enjoying the food I'd made, made some new friends, and spent an entire day cooking for people that were genuinely interested in trying vegan food. I can't wait to do more of these- I want to choose them wisely and take my time getting better at this- but I have been really surprised by how much I loved it. And of course, the leftovers were the freaking bomb. Tsouni came over the next day to help me 'finish off' some of the salads that wouldn't freeze, and added an amazing agua fresca to the mix so we could keep eating for another six hours at least.
So despite the nerves and sleepless nights, Guac & Roll Kitchen's first outing went off (almost) without a hitch. I can hardly still believe it. It made me realise how much more rewarding it is to get what you're creating out there sometimes, and to trust that it's good enough to share. Cheers to making these things real!