The Statement Life by Janette Wojtaszak | A Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle

The Monster Mash Up With Global Pioneer of Plant-based Cuisine, Matthew Kenney

Me with With Global Pioneer of Plant-based Cuisine, Matthew Kenney

What a privilege to have been asked to private dinner at Monster Kitchen Bar, Ovolo Nishi Hotel Canberra. A Monster Mash up with US celebrity chef Matthew Kenney. He is a global pioneer of plant-based food, changing the way people eat, one meal at a time. I wanted to share my experience of the dinner and shed some light on plant-base eating. A big thank you to Matthew Kenney for answering my questions and inspiring us!

Monster's head chef Daniel Flatt and creative culinary partner, Ian Curley welcomed Matthew to showcase an eight-course plant based menu (with matching wines), reflecting Ovolo's Alibi restaurant offering in Woolloomooloo. The head chef Michael Nicolaou, is so cool and quirky, it was really nice to have met him too. I hear they put on a high tea (plant-base) at Alibi.

What We Ate - The Monster Mash Menu Featured
Mushroom dumplings with Szechuan vinaigrette
Kelp noodle Cacio E Pepe (My fave dish of the night)
Pumpkin-cardamom mousse
Coconut-pandan sorbet, lime gel.
*All of these dishes were paired with the most delightful, light and complementary (perfect for Spring/Summer) wines by Lark Hill! I need this rosè in my life every afternoon.

In my mind it was hard to believe that all the dishes were plant-based! In my mouth I was delighted my the textures and flavours. Each dish was presented in the most beautiful way (no surprise, have you seen Matthew Kennedy's Instagram?! beautiful food #inspo here) As I finished off the last dish... I felt full, a light full - I looked at Paul and was nodding with satisfaction. What a brilliant meal!!
Matthew Kenney, tell us more...
Where to begin your on your plant base journey (for beginners)?
My childhood including hanging and fishing and I'm a classically trained chef, so being plant-based was very surprising for someone like me.  I think everyone has their own path but the best one is just trying one day at a time - do a fully plant-based day or even a meal, then see how you feel.  When we listen to our body, the rest takes care of itself.

What is your fave dish to cook?
Even after preparing plant-based food for years, I still love making my classic Heirloom Tomato Lasagna. The fresh garden aromas and familiar flavors (tomato marinara, basil pesto and fresh herbs.... As a chef, I get the most pleasure out of other's experiences and this is a dish that never disappoints.  

Most surprising thing you have learnt about being plant based?
It's not something everyone is comfortable talking about, but the most immediate change with a plant-based diet is great digestion, which leads to a sense of well being and mental clarity.
Since sharing this meal with Matthew, it prompted me to have conversations with my body balance teacher and nutritionist, Ashleigh Feltham. I asked her a couple questions and found out what the three best plant foods to eat (for nutrition value etc.)

Take note and eat these... by Ashleigh Feltham
All plants provide different nutrients to your body and is why variety not just a single food is key to your health. Three of my favourite plant based foods to eat rich in vitamins are:

1. Popcorn is a complete whole grain with a serve being 30g. Whole grain gives your body B vitamins needed to convert energy from food as well as fibre which keeps you feeling fuller for longer and prevents overeating as well as prebiotic fibre which feeds your good bacteria in your gut. This helps with improving mental health, metabolism as well as immunity.

2. Strawberries are a great low sugar fruit and 1/2 a cup gives your body a serve of fruit. These fruit contain prebiotic fibre which feeds your good bacteria as well as vitamin C to support your immunity and helps with youthful looking skin as a component of collagen.

Strawberries also contain antioxidants which help keep your body healthy and magnesium which has many roles including helping keep your bones strong and muscles contracting well.

3. Tomatoes a delicious fruit but is counted as a vegetable. A medium tomato is a serve. Processed tomatoes are the best form to eat as they give your body the best available antioxidant known as lycopene. This is especially important for men as may help prevent against developing prostate cancer. Lycopene also may help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Tomato’s also contain vitamin C, potassium for healthy blood pressure, folate and vitamin k.

What we ate at the Monster Mash up, made a positive impact on Paul and I. It has essentially changed the way we eat, even if we only eat X3 plant-base meals a week. A special thank you to Stephen Howard for inviting us along! 

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