The need to live more consciously has become an increasingly hot topic in recent years, particularly in regards to food. So whether you’re thinking about becoming vegan, vegetarian or just looking to cut down your meat consumption, anything goes. One person that knows a thing or two about a plant-based diet is Arti Chudasama, founder of The Pantry in Leicester City Centre.
What influenced your decision to sell only plant-based food?
My own experience with improving my health by eating more nutritious and plant-based foods and moving back home to Leicester and eating my mum’s homemade curries influenced my decision to sell not only vegan food but homemade Indian vegan food.
Where does the inspiration for your menu stem?
My inspiration comes from what I love to eat and how I visually want my food to look. I’m hugely influenced by fashion, travel, colour, texture, flavours, my mum and culture. Preparing food is my art, and it’s a creative extension of myself. My evolving menu allows me to experiment with flavours and keeps me inspired.
What are the most popular items on your menu?
I couldn’t possibly open without our samosas, my mum’s curries, burgers, cakes and Peruvian coffee.
What is your food philosophy?
My food philosophy is fresh homemade vegan food using a balance of ingredients in a health-conscious way. Love what you eat & be what you eat to live a long and healthy life.
What does conscious living mean to you?
To me, it means making deliberate choices to live a better lifestyle to improve your physical and mental well-being through your diet, activities and decisions.
What advice would you give to those looking to go meat-free?
Don’t be afraid to try different foods. Take yourself to an international supermarket and introduce yourself to all the different types of fruit and vegetables from around the world. Yours Supermarket on Belgrave Gate is one of my favourites, and I can spend hours in there. Experiment with your cooking because it has the capacity to engage all senses.
Keep your eyes peeled for Arti’s cookbook, which will be out later this year.
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By Jessica Challoner-Sterland