The demand for plant-based dishes on menus has increased significantly in recent years – and this is one trend that isn’t going anywhere. Even if your menu is traditionally meat-orientated, there is no underestimating the importance of plant-based as part of your offering. And you don’t need to sacrifice anything to serve up great tasting dishes that tick all the texture and flavour boxes for vegans and meat-eaters alike. The Vegetarian Butcher range cooks like meat, tastes like meat and has the texture of meat. But don’t just take our word for it…
Dan Place, Owner and Chef at Northern Soul
Dan Place is the founder of Manchester’s Northern Soul Grilled Cheese. His mouth-watering grilled cheese sandwiches have been drawing queues around the block since launching in 2015.
In Dan’s words: “At the start, we were proper meat, meat, meat - the bigger, the badder, the better. Then we quickly realised that the vegetarian market for us was huge. […] The corner has turned in terms of imitating real meat.”
Watch Dan in action at Northern Soul using The Vegetarian Butcher
Paul Faulkner, Head Chef at Mr Thomas’s Chop House
Paul has worked at a number of prestigious restaurants over the years. His training included 7 years at the Chester Grosvenor, a year at Level 41 in Sydney Australia, several years with Bruno Loubet at L’odeon on Regent Street and at the OXO Tower. He opened The Albert Square Chop House and bought his own restaurant, Brassica Grill, in 2014. Brassica Grill went on to gain Bib Gourmand from Michelin in 2015. Paul eventually sold Brassica Grill in 2019, before returning to the Chop House.
Whilst the Chop House may be renowned for their corned beef hash and steak dishes, they have always known the importance of including vegetarian and vegan items on their menu - and not just for the sake of it! “Plant-based dishes need to fit in with the other dishes on the menu, they need to be seasonal and not an afterthought.”
Aaron Lee Tran, Founder and Chef at South Manny Flavaz
At just 24-years old, South Manchester-born Aaron Lee Tran is the Founder and chef at South Manny Flavaz. His food journey began packing prawn crackers for his auntie and he’s worked his way up in the catering industry across France, Italy and the UK.
Back in 2017, Aaron would spend his weekends running to the markets for fresh local products. He’d then test out his recipes on the BBQ in his back garden for his local community to try. Those same recipes are now enjoyed at South Manny Flavaz.
Aaron is passionate about street food and recognises that street food and veganism go hand in hand. Aaron raves about The Vegetarian Butchers NoChicken Chunks and shows how he’s used the product in his ‘Who You Callin’ Chicken & Chips’ recipe. He also highly recommends the NoChicken product when coated in buffalo sauce as an appetiser.
“When I first let the staff try the product, 7 out of 7 staff could not tell [it wasn’t chicken], they thought I was just playing around with a chicken based product.”
Find out more about Aaron and his ‘Who You Callin’ Chicken & Chips’ recipe using The Vegetarian Butcher’s NoChicken.
Nelson Lam, Co-Founder and Creative Chef at Viet Shack and Dunkin’ Burgers
Before Nelson began his culinary journey he was a personal stylist, but decided to turn his summer hobby and passion for cooking modern Vietnamese food into a business. He quit his job to create Viet Shack, a hugely successful Vietnamese street food restaurant in Manchester. Nelson also launched Dunkin’ Burgers during the pandemic and has seen his sales and social media following soar in just a few months.
Nelson has always understood the importance of plant-based options on the menu – vegan orders accounted for over a third (38%) of Viet Shack’s business in 2020. When we asked Nelson about The Vegetarian Butcher’s NoBeef Burgers, he said: “I was a bit sceptical of it at first, […] we made three and we bit into it and the staff and I just looked at each other and we just couldn’t believe how delicious it was – you couldn’t tell the difference between the vegan option or the beef one to be honest."