In the kitchen with vegan chef and YouTube star Rachel Ama

In the kitchen with vegan chef and YouTube star Rachel Ama

Read Time:   |  5th February 2020

Meet YouTuber Rachel Ama, who is on a mission to bring easy vegan meals to the masses.

Londoner Rachel Ama has always had a passion for vibrant, colourful dishes. After going vegan, she started up her YouTube channel (which now has over 405k subscribers), to show us how simple it can be to turn favourite dishes into exciting plant-based meals. Here, she shares her thoughts on activism, living sustainably and favourite beauty brands…

At what age did you go vegan and why?

It was in my early 20s. When I saw how meat, fish and dairy actually ended up on my plate it broke my heart and I went vegan the next day. I’d always been such an animal lover, but I’d never made the association between the food I ate and the animals I called pets until I saw the full journey these animals went through to end up in my fridge.

Did you always enjoy cooking?

I didn’t mind cooking but didn’t really get into it until I travelled around South America and road tripped the states. As soon as I came back home I started trying to recreate all the delicious meals I’d experienced — that’s when my love for cooking began.

Then, when I went vegan for ethical reasons, I was really excited to play around with flavours and textures of food I already loved but in a plant-based way. I wanted this to be a sustainable lifestyle choice for myself and I still wanted to love the food I ate.

Caribbean food is probably my favourite and is really easy to enjoy with plant-based foods.

What kind of style is your cooking?

Big flavours, lots of textures, colours and hearty food. I get a lot of inspiration from my African and Caribbean roots. Caribbean food is probably my favourite and it’s really easy to enjoy with plant-based foods.

Which other influencers do you follow?

Jamie Oliver’s career has inspired me since I was in school. His work with teens, young adults, changing school dinners and helping the nation eat more fruits and veggies was incredibly inspirational.

Food is exciting — to sit down at the end of a day with a delicious plate of food in front of you is something to celebrate!

Favourite quick and easy vegan dish?

Really depends on the occasion! For breakfast, I love toasted sourdough bread with natural peanut butter and sliced bananas on top with a cup of tea, which takes two minutes. For dinner, the ratatouille from my book Vegan Eats, which is essentially roasted vegetables and chickpeas in a really simple, delicious sauce, topped with fresh herbs all in a pot and thrown in the oven — super simple.

Where do you like to eat out?

I don’t eat out often and there aren’t that many vegan spots my side of London but if I venture out I like Eat of Eden, Ethiopian restaurants, Eat Chay and places like that.

Do you get involved with activism?

To me, my activism is offering a solution to people who want to try veganism, whether for the planet, health or animal welfare reasons, but have no idea what to make, how to make delicious food, and what food to cook that actually keeps you full.

Do you try and live sustainably?

Yes, as much as possible. I eat a plant-based diet, reduce waste, reuse and recycle as much as possible and generally limit the amount of things I buy based on whether I really need it or not.

What are your favourite beauty brands?

Right now I love BYBI. They have vegan and cruelty-free skincare products that my skin really loves.

What are your plans for the future?

Continue to make veganism more accessible to people, with big flavours, delicious food and have some fun with it too. Food is exciting — to sit down at the end of a day with a delicious plate of food in front of you is something to celebrate, and vegan food is no exception.

Rachel’s book, Vegan Eats, is out now (RRP £20) at Amazon, Waterstones and TheVeganKind. See more of her recipes and videos at rachelama.com

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