Hoxton chef is the first vegan to reach Great British Menu’s regional finals – Totally Vegan Buzz

Hoxton chef is the first vegan to reach Great British Menu’s regional finals

Hoxton chef is the first vegan to reach Great British Menu’s regional finals
Image: kirk_haworth/Instagram

The North West contestant of the BBC2 show, who went vegan after he was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, says ‘my challenges with health have allowed me to open up a whole new genre of cooking’.

A Hoxton chef has reached the regional finals of the Great British Menu (GBM) making him the first vegan chef ever to enter the GBM kitchens.

Kirk Haworth, who is also the co-founder of plant-based restaurant, Plates, in London, is hoping to get through the regional heats this week, for a chance to cook a four-course banquet in the final.

Kirk’s passion for cooking was influenced by his father, Nigel Haworth, who was chef-patron of Northcote Manor in Lancashire.

After winning the North West Young Chef of the Year at 17, Haworth kickstarted his career working as an apprentice with his dad at Northcote and then went on to work with several leading Michelin-starred restaurants.

 ‘Personal journey’

According to Haworth, however, the turning point in his career came in 2016 when a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis forced the young chef to reevaluate his food choices.

“I had to really rethink what I put into my body,” Haworth said in an interview.

He learnt that eliminating meat, gluten, refined sugar and dairy from his diet reduced his symptoms dramatically and this led him to not only go plant-based but also make it the ethos of his restaurant.

“It’s been a personal journey for me, my challenges with health have allowed me to open up a whole new genre of cooking.

“Solely cooking plant-based and showcasing plants in an exciting way.”

First vegan chef on the BBC2 show

Kirk’s culinary style is modern, plant-based food, delivered with high-end execution and a focus on sustainability and wellbeing and he is ‘thrilled’ to be the first plant-based chef competing on the Great British Menu.

“I’ve visualised being on this show since I was 15. It’s been a huge dream of mine,” he told the Gazette.

“I didn’t ever imagine I’d be the first vegan chef to go on there. It’s surreal

“The pressure is very real…you can be really busy and behind, and you get stopped in between cooking and asked questions, so it’s full-on.

“It’s so different to just cooking in a restaurant, and you learn so much from your mistakes.”

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