The Ultimate Caterers Guide to: Veganuary
We know that catering for vegans can be a challenge for chefs. Many chefs grumble at the idea of vegan food, but it doesn’t need to be that way! There is no getting around the fact that veganism is on the increase and we will see that rise even further when Veganuary rolls around at the start of the year. Truly the best thing to do is embrace it.
Here are some of the best tips to help caterers survive Veganuary.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
The best way to survive Veganuary is to plan for it! Coming up with a menu on January 1st without testing it out is generally going to result in a lacklustre and incoherent menu. You want to be offering the best options possible and this comes with consideration.
2. Chefs Challenge
Get all the chefs in your kitchen to create a vegan menu, with the winning dish being added to the menu. Give them a brief so it fits in with the rest of the menu and then give them free rein to come up with a dish. Involving them in menu creation and making a bit of a competition out of it will help them feel more involved in the dish and on board with the vegan options. A way to ensure this rolls out for all staff is to involve all of the front of house staff members in the judging. This way everyone is involved, onboard, and knowledgeable about your new vegan menu.
Enthusiastic front of house staff makes all the difference in sales to customers. If staff are knowledgeable and passionate it shows and results in those dishes being chosen more often. Making vegan options you and your team enjoy results in everyone being even more on board with selling the items.
3. Veganise favourites
There are a lot of people who still want their favourite dishes that they’ve known they just want a vegan version – not all vegans hate everything about meat dishes, they just don’t want to consume animal products.
A good thing to do would be to veganise classic recipes or even your establishment’s most popular recipe. Create a vegan version- a great recipe development challenge.
Some amazing products are emerging in the meat imitation category. Products such as the Moving Mountains Burger are so similar to beef burgers and there are many other products like shredded duck and minces. These are particularly easy to incorporate into those favourite dishes to create vegan versions.
5. Publicise your vegan menus
People won’t eat it if they don’t know about it! So, make sure you publicise your vegan menu. Publish it online and showcase it across your socials. It is a good idea to incorporate it into your standard menu, with a clear vegan sign, so that people can see you have vegan options available – this makes it visible to non-vegans too so they can either enjoy the items or let their vegan friends know about the options at your establishment. Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get.
6. Nutritional Yeast
Use it; that is all
7. As always – don’t cross-contaminate
This goes without saying but avoiding cross-contamination is vital. It is always a good idea to go over your processes and making sure they’re up to standard. Something especially important to do in the new year to start the year as you mean to continue.
Offering vegan options means providing something that is 100% Vegan and using the same utensils for meat and vegan items is cross-contamination even across cooked products. People may choose vegan options due to food allergies and you cannot be too careful. If you offer a vegan menu, you offer a vegan service so you must uphold this.
Creating new options for your menu is always a challenge but it is fun trying out new things and working out what works well together. The same goes for new vegan items – the main thing is to try them out first and get your staff’s opinions, if they like them, they’ll sell! Have fun with it, that’s what creating a new menu is all about!