Vegan desserts at VegFest

kenneth Pastushyn
By kenneth Pastushyn October 13, 2017 12:36
Russell Colebrook and Emily Meko of Eat What's Good, Inc., stand in back of their "icicle tricycle" selling vegan foods at VegFest, which took place on Sun., Oct. 1, 2017 inside the WFCU Centre in Windsor, ON. Photo by Ken Pastushyn.

Russell Colebrook and Emily Meko of Eat What’s Good, Inc., stand in back of their “icicle tricycle” selling vegan foods at VegFest, which took place on Sunday Oct. 1, 2017 inside the WFCU Centre in Windsor, ON. Photo by Ken Pastushyn.

By Kenneth Pastushyn

 

At VegFest, you can have your vegan cheesecake and eat it, too.

You could also have vegan pecan pie, vegan cinnamon sugar donuts or vegan cupcakes from a few of the vendors who took part in the event at the WFCU Centre on Oct. 1.

“There are no eggs and no dairy…nothing that ever came from an animal,” said Emily Meko from Eat What’s Good Inc., a vegan and gluten-free restaurant in Chatham. Eat What’s Good also distributes their desserts wholesale throughout Ontario.

According to the VegFest website, their mission is “kindness towards animals, stewardship of the planet and a well-being of the people.” Their motto is “food, fun and inspiration.”

“I feel like more and more people are beginning to know what vegan is about,” said Jessica Aziz,

baker at the Wooden Spoon Bakery in Leamington. She said there is a good vegan community on

YouTube, which is how she got started.  She and her two sisters grew up working at the Aziz family fruit stand, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and very little meat.

Meko attended culinary school and has been a vegan for 11 years. She creates her own vegan desserts, such as black bean fudge brownies, which is a staple at Eat What’s Good.

“One of my early inspirations was Angela Liddon, the award-winning Canadian author of the Oh She Glows blog,” said Meko. The blog promotes a plant-based diet and boasts about being friendly to meat-eaters and picky kids.

Other celebrity chefs are starting to discover the benefits of plant-based foods. Roberto Martin, the personal chef of Ellen DeGeneres, has become very successful at vegan cooking.

“Jamie Oliver has been cooking a lot of vegan [food] lately – although he is not vegan,” said Alexandra Connon of the Boombox Bakeshop in London, ON. Connon, who was born and raised in Windsor, specializes in vegan and gluten-free cupcakes. The vegan cookbooks of Chloe Coscarelli, winner of the Food Network’s 2011 Cupcake Wars was one of her inspirations. It’s how the Boombox Bakeshop was started. For others, it was simply a change in lifestyle and lots of experimenting.

“I’m self-taught, no cooking school – just hard work in the kitchen,” said Tatjana Roksandic, the “healthy mama” of the Healthy Mama, a bistro in Tecumseh. Roksandic gave up eating meat and converted many of her family recipes into vegan dishes.

For an egg replacement, Roksandic uses a flax seed mixture. Coconut oil is used instead of butter. Over at Eat What’s Good they use cashew milk as cream substitutes for their vegan cheesecakes. For sweeteners, instead of using honey, the Wooden Spoon uses organic cane sugar or organic agave nectar while the Healthy Mama uses dates and maple syrup.

The Boombox Bakeshop, who omits ingredients instead of using substitutes, serves some of the tastiest treats according to BuzzFeed Canada.

“We were ranked the 16th best bakery in the country, which is a pretty big deal,” said Connon.

Yet many customers are still reluctant to sample vegan desserts for fear of a bland taste.

“After they buy our specialty donuts, they are shocked,” said Aziz, who also serves traditional baked

goods, as well as vegan desserts at the Wooden Spoon. “What we are noticing is that people don’t get

sick or have a stomach ache, like they would with traditional pastries and that makes them gravitate to

vegan pastries.”

kenneth Pastushyn
By kenneth Pastushyn October 13, 2017 12:36

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