A group of LJMU students recently took part in a vegan cooking class at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. We caught up with Food and Development BSc student, Chloé Higham-Smith to talk about what she learned on the workshop, her love of plant-based food and her career goals.
Over the course of their two-day cooking class, Chloé and her classmates learned skills to help diversify their recipes without relying on animal-derived ingredients. Along with practical skills, students also learned how to best utilise ingredients in recipes and the art of blending different flavours.
“As I only cook and eat plant-based food, I was very excited to attend a workshop at the Vegetarian Society. It was a brilliant opportunity to learn new cooking skills and see how the organisation operates, especially one I would be interested working with in the future. You never know who you’re going to meet and going to workshops/study days/conferences will never be a waste of time. It's a chance to network with like-minded people and maybe even potential employers in the future.”
“It was a very creative course and we were introduced to lots of unusual and wonderful plant-based foods that could be used to create delicious and impressive dishes.”
Being brought up to appreciate home-cooked, wholefood meals along with a passion for health and wellbeing led Chloé to want to study nutrition. Originally from Wirral, choosing to study in Liverpool was a sensible option and LJMU has proven to be a great choice: “The Food Academy and facilities at LJMU are fantastic. There was nowhere else I wanted to study!”
Broccoli and Spiralised Courgette Salad made by students on the workshop © Vegetarian Society Cookery School
In terms of employability too, Chloé seems to have made the right choice. The breadth of learning gained on her degree has enabled her to keep her options open career-wise:
“I am learning there are so many potential jobs I could do specific to my degree. I have a particular interest in public health and community nutrition and a passion to put basic food and cooking principles back into education. I would like to be working directly with people, helping them make positive health changes in their life and witnessing the results. I would find that very rewarding. I would also enjoy working with a food company I am passionate about, perhaps developing their products, recipes or menus.”
Chloé talks food...
What’s your favourite food?
A mild-spiced vegan curry with coconut and sweet potato! I also love stir fries with a peanut soy sauce at the moment.
If you were cooking for friends what would be your go-to meal to make them?
I adore Indian food, so my go-to meal would probably be a vegan Indian medley. A mix of lentil dahl, vegetable dansak, chana masala, dosa pancake and a refreshing mango salsa with coriander. I love combining lots of different flavours and aromas in my meals – fruits, spices and herbs – and cannot stand bland food!
Is it difficult to find inspiration for vegetarian/vegan dishes?
Plant-based cooking is endlessly exciting, there are new foods discovered all the time that we can use as a ‘substitute’ for an animal-derived food product and I believe the market for plant-based foods is only going to continue to expand. I left this workshop inspired to experiment in the kitchen with new ingredients and flavours. I would class myself as a very competent cook, but I now have a deeper knowledge of different meal ideas I can make for myself and my family.
What is your favourite Liverpool restaurant?
I couldn’t pick one – my top three would be Mowgli’s, Pho and Zizzi.
“It was a pleasure to have students from Liverpool John Moores University at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. They were open to trying new ingredients and worked really hard during the workshops. We introduced them to exciting vegetarian and vegan foods as part of our funded course programme. I hope the sessions have inspired them to include more plant based foods in their life.”
– Sam Platt, the Vegetarian Society Cookery School Manager
If you'd like to find out what opportunities a food or nutrition related degree can open up, take a look at the courses on offer at LJMU.