The Women Behind Food For Thought
2019 has been the year of food here at Gung Ho, and even though we’ve been tackling some pretty serious issues within the industry, we’ve met some inspiring ladies who’ve made it a super yummy journey. They’ve shown us how they’re making waves, doing things differently and showing us all how we can do the same without having to compromise on taste. It’s like working with gung ho in foodie form, which has made for a super exciting year hence why we’re here to tell you more about them and the work they’re doing, because these fab chefs deserve to be celebrated!
Abi Glencross is a scientist, farmer, cook and botanical explorer who changed up her career in 2017 from a chemical engineer and synthetic meat scientist to train as a farmer. After returning from her work at a farm-to-table restaurant, she and Sadhbh, a chef and cookery teacher, founded The Sustainable Food Story, a roving supper club that travels around the world connecting citizens to the origins of our food through interactive dinners. Abi also co-founded the collective Future Farm Lab, which experiments and explores our future food systems by creating learning experiences and connecting farmers with citizens.
One of the important things to Abi is how farming can help you to not only know what is in season, but also understand how that plant looks, how it can balance a dish, its ripeness, its need for water, all the parts of the plant that you can eat and whether its east to grow. For her, it is all about helping farmers convert to a more sustainable food system.
Bettina Campolucci Bordi, Founder of Bettina’s Kitchen, is a plant based, gluten free and free from chef. She is someone who fully encompasses the sustainable revolution believing in living no waste, easting seasonally and locally, supporting small businesses and the need for food to be free from labels, judgement and guilt. Her second book, 7-day vegan challenge, has just been released and is an inclusive pro-plant book for people from the already vegans to those trying to eat more veg, giving people the tools and freedom to find what works for them.
Her love for food began with her family, from her multi-cultural background to the time she spent travelling, filling her memories with markets, food experiences and watching her parents take time and care in creating the perfect dishes. Bettina’s kitchen began when she encountered some health problems and began to make the connection between what she was eating and both her physical and mental health. Going on wellness treats she appointed herself cook and her passion for cooking turned from hobby to profession. Now her free-from cooking is the centre of her recipes and workshops, and continues to break that stereotype that plant based eating is boring, expensive and time consuming.
Charlie May is a sustainably minded plant based chef who focuses on creating dishes made from organic and ethically sourced ingredients. (As well as this she was also our model for the latest collection, not something she normally does but we loved working with her and showcasing our clothes on real people making real change.) Previously the sous chef at Wild Food Café in Islington, she is now apart of the wonderful team over at The Happy Pear in Ireland. In both her own life and professional chef life, working with local producers and creating a network of relatively little to zero waste, she truly takes the whole food process into account when creating her goodness! Her dream is to create a low waste social enterprise, creating a community that focuses on growing organic food and cooking with plants accessible to everybody.
Charlotte Kjaer is a wholly plant based chef, develops her own recipes, cooks at supper clubs and yoga retreats as well as being a private chef. Using ingredients that are organic and in season is what she describes as working in harmony with nature. The honest, balanced and vibrant food she creates are not just nutritious for your body but also the planet, which is the kind of balance we love!
Her passion for the environment, sustainability and wellbeing is something that is clear from her cooking, so it’s not a surprise that this follows her into other aspects of her life. Follow her plastic free journey through her Instagram, along with snaps from the yoga retreats she works at to get you feeling mindful.
Freya, the founder of kombucha brand fix8, is passionate about the fermentation process and the health benefits that kombucha offers after discovering it during her year studying abroad in Shanghai. But what is kombucha? It is raw fermented tea made from just tea, sugar, water and live kombucha cultures which her company offers in 3 flavours. Brewed locally in London and fermented traditionally for 14 days, it’s naturally rich in amino acids, active enzymes and beneficial bacteria , which is good for our gut. Freya had her first taste of kombucha in shanghai and that was the start of a positive obsession. Now, her brand Fix8 focuses on this kind of health fix for everyone, so check out their website and try some handcrafted, natural and distinctively tasty buch for yourself!
Gaja Klapucka is the brain behind ‘Clean Plate Dirty Mouth’, an initiative based around translating emotions into food and the alchemy of cooking. Her plant-based pop-up food experience exists with the aim of bringing people together over food. She treats the plate as her canvas, drawing inspiration from memories, nature, art and people, unravelling a story with each dish. The vegan sample menu’s she creates showcase the best of her colourful, self-expressive dishes and makes it clear that plant-based eating is not always the everyday easy meals you might expect.
Gemma Ogston is a brighton based chef and founder of ‘Gem’s Wholsesome Kitchen’ a venture she began when friends kept asking her to cook for them! Her business is centred around cooking nourishing and tasty plant-based comfort food. After dealing with an eating disorder in her teenage years and gaining a degree in addiction counselling, she believes in mood food and the power that plant based foods have on healing not only our physical but also mental health.
Not only is her online presence part of her job, showcasing the amazing and colourful food she creates, but has also recently wrote down her recipes in the form of ‘the self-care cookbook’, which is out now! Her recipes are food that’s not just good for you and the plant, but ones that make you feel good and are truly nourishing for your body, which we think everyone could do with a little more of!
Lauren is a total wonder woman and has put her time into different plant based ventures, we don’t even know how she does it! Specialising in raw desserts, couture catering and food for your mental health, skills which she has then combined with her entrepreneurial mind to create her two foodie babies @plantacademy and @feedyoutmindcandy. Founder of the Plant Academy, retraining chefs and teaching beginners everything she know about creating the best plant based cuisine. She brings in a host of classically trained chefs, nutritionists and plant based leaders, building a super community of people who think differently about food, with a focus on health and creativity. @feedyourmindcandy , another of her ventures, is where Lauren hosts a series of supper clubs that are all laid back and provide food that is deigned to boost our moods. With creative dishes and comforting tastes, Lauren aims to inspire everyone who attends to focus more on their mental health and consider how the food we eat can positively affect it.
Niki Webster is a qualified holistic health coach, a freelance food consultant and founder of her brand Rebel Recipes. Across her website and social platform, she shares the indulgent recipes she creates and describes as ‘vegan recipes for real life’. Inspiration for the meals she creates come largely from her travels around Asia and being able to taste test all the local vegetarian dishes. She bought back from her travels a desire to recreate this type of soul food that is to be shared and enjoyed together. She also wore our pesticide wrap dress at the event, wearing her values of not just creating delicious plant-based food, but also using good organic ingredients that have minimal impact on our planet.
Check out her book ‘Rebel Recipes – Vegan food for the soul’ which is available to pre-order. Her website also offers a ton of recipes you can experiment with at home, as well as the services she offers so you can work with her on a host of things.
Pre-order her book here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebel-Recipes-Vegan-Food-Soul/dp/1472966848
Another one of our fabulous chefs we worked with on our Food For Thought supper club is Sara Kiyo Popowa, a London-based photographer, author and social media influencer. Her plant based recipes have multi-cultural influences with her Japanese and Bulgarian roots and her Swedish upbringing. Beginning as a beautiful visual diary of her lunch creations, Sara realised she was passionate about the food she was creating, particularly how it made her feel both mentally and physically, realising the impact of the food we eat. She also creates graphic visualisations of her food and recipe creations, which is delicious for the eyes too! Check out her website to buy her Bento Power cookbook or ‘An Opinionated Guide to Vegan London’ to get inspired by her foodie journey and make steps yourself towards a healthier, plant-based life!
Zoe, the founder of the Wunder Workshop, learnt about health and nutrition from her late mother who had been in the health food industry for over 40 years. This knowledge led her to starting her own business, for which she travelled to Sri Lanka learning all about turmeric and its benefits, and then returned the following year developing relationships with suppliers of the beneficial plant. At our supper club she sported our Pesticide Wrap Dress not only looking beautifully elegant, but also repping an issue important to her. Pesticides are toxic chemicals that can affect people’s health long term, as well as damaging the environment and harming local. Zoe’s brand is passionate about consciously sourced turmeric, CBD and adaptogens, being able to provide ethical health food products, that do not carry these risks.
2019 was a year of foodie goodness and we’ve loved every single babe we’ve worked with. We can’t wait to see what 2020 brings, keep updated and make sure you’re following us on our social media because we have some delicious plans to kick the year off with and you’ll definitely want to be involved!