And so it happened! Vegan Greek pop-up night in Birmingham was a blast and an absolutely great experience – which to be honest Ι felt a bit anxious as I had almost zero experience cooking vegan food for a big crowd.
First things first: this summer found me in London, getting all prepped up with new ideas, projects and plans for this fall. Upon my arrival in the city, Heather Maners, a good friend, vegan aficionado and owner of the Frais in Solihull, Birmingham, suggested a Greek vegan pop-up night at Frais with me as a guest chef. Vegan and Greek food is practically a foolproof combo. Greek cuisine consists of vegetables, grains, and legumes for the most part. Greek vegan food makes total sense, so I figured let’s do this.
Our menu included traditional Greek dishes. Think fava, vegan tzatziki (YES, we made it with soy yogurt and it was fantastically brilliant!), gemista – stuffed bell peppers, dolmadakia – rice stuffing wrapped in vine leaves, spanakopitakia and Greek salad (obviously), but without feta – to my dismay. Heather had just come back from summer vacation in Greece and brought with her all necessary goodies. Organic olive oil, Kalamata olives, dried oregano and fava beans made their way to our menu. We mutually agreed that fava and oregano from anywhere else taste like sh*t, so we had to serve the real stuff.
We starting the food a few hours before the event. Frais has a lovely open kitchen, which we shared with Heather for our beautiful vegan creations. Everything was ready by 7 pm when the first guests arrived. The pop-up night was fully booked and everyone showed up on time, despite the typical British summer rain. We welcomed the guests and explained all dishes to our guests. Everyone was more than happy with our menu. Personally, I absolutely loved the vegan tzatziki, which was nothing short of its original Greek yogurt-based counterpart. Of course, the night was filmed and will be featured on my upcoming vlogs on my YouTube channel!
Before I wrap this post up, I confess that I feel a little bit closer to vegan food. Heather really inspired me to discover a more healthy, plant-based diet and I already converted my morning dairy milk to almond milk. Hopefully, I’m going to adapt more to this Greek vegan (-ish) lifestyle – just after summer is over, so I can enjoy some more BBQ’s while the sun’s still out!