Features, Food

The new healthy foods, by Melissa Hemsley

Kombucha with your steak and chips? Vegan puddings for non-vegans? Why not, asks our Food 2017 committee member

Healthy eating has been talked about a lot in the past few years, but the journey is just beginning. People have got really into salads and green juices, which is great, and now it’s time to think about how to get more wholefoods into our diet in a non-traditional way. That’s what I’ll be working on with Soho House as part of the Food 2017 committee.

To be clear, this is not about “clean eating” or deprivation. You’ve got people ordering kombucha with their steak and chips, or enjoying a coconut froyo even if (like me) they love dairy. It’s the same with sauerkraut and kimchi: they’re really good for your digestion but they’ve been eaten in Germany and Korea for years because they’re delicious. So it’s great to see it on the menu at places like The Ned, which has the best kimchi ever.

People are always surprised when they hear that I eat meat, but I love meat and two veg: I just make sure it comes from a great source, and that everything is made with love and care. You can taste the difference between a chef who cares about the food and one who doesn’t.

Hopefully all Soho House chefs care about the food, and that makes it easy to empower people to choose healthy options. If things aren’t presented in the right way perhaps people’s natural instinct is to think, that’s not for me. Whereas if a dish just so happens to be full of vegetables, well sourced, prepared with care, it’ll be appealing and delicious and they’ll leave feeling happy. I’m someone who’s really interested in healthy eating but it’s got to be that fusion of healthy and delicious, visually appealing and satisfying.

And demand is rising. When my sister and I brought out our first book it was hard to find ingredients like coconut oil or quinoa flakes. Then people started going into the supermarkets asking for it and very quickly they started adapting. Now every supermarket is doing pre-packaged courgetti.

The face of healthy eating has changed and that’s something I think Soho House can help to build on, educating your members and guests. It’s incredible that Amy Chaplin came over last year and did a training session with the chefs at Soho Farmhouse. And your chefs are so international – you’ve got a lot of Italians but also other cultures. A lot of ideas are coming out of the Tuesday night project where chefs cook for each other and develop recipes.

When people work hard and don’t sleep enough, there’s a tendency to eat to excess. But what is the point in going out and spending a fortune and your stomach hurts? You want people to leave feeling good. I think we all know inherently which foods make us feel better and happier, and it’s just about making that more available.


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