Capsicum Culinary Studio and Humane Society International/Africa collaborate to train lecturers and students in plant-based cooking
In honour of World Vegan Month this November, Capsicum Culinary Studio has announced a collaboration with Humane Society International/Africa.
With growing numbers of South Africans reducing their consumption of meat, eggs and dairy and embracing a more plant-centric diet, HSI/Africa will help equip the school’s lecturers and students with the knowledge and skills in plant-based cooking to meet this growing demand. The new training initiative launched with a plant-based recipe development competition amongst the lecturers.
In the upcoming months, through its Green Monday South Africa programme, HSI/Africa will host a series of plant-based culinary sessions for Capsicum lecturers from all six campuses across the country. These will include the fundamentals of creating interesting, flavoursome plant-based meals tailored to different audiences, from everyday restaurant dishes to fine dining and events catering. The techniques learned will be passed on to third-year students as part of their curriculum starting in 2023.
The modules will not only include practical learnings but also offer coursework to support innovative recipe development, teachings on why eating more plant-based is important for the animal welfare, the environment and human health, and tips on how to successfully market plant-based options to increase uptake amongst consumers.
Some of the tasty dishes that will be introduced to the lecturers during the sessions include a Savoury Tofu Scramble, Vegan Butter Chicken, Chickpea Omelettes with Cashew Cream and a Thyme and Orange Sponge Cake. All of the dishes rely heavily on local ingredients and are less expensive and more sustainable than similar dishes using animal products.
Leozette Roode, meat reduction specialist for Humane Society International/Africa, said: “Chefs are at the forefront of a crucial food revolution and HSI/Africa wants to encourage South African chefs to embrace this change and feel confident in whipping up delicious and nutritious plant-based dishes. Putting plants on our plates can be ever as tasty, and also have a phenomenal impact on the climate, our health, and farmed animal welfare.
“Most chefs have not yet explored the full potential of vegetables, indigenous grains, legumes and pulses, fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs that provide interesting ingredients for veggie meals without sacrificing taste, texture or pleasure. We are very proud to work with Capsicum Culinary Studio to teach their lecturers and students the know-how of plant-based cooking, and we are excited to see how they make use of this knowledge in the South African food industry once they graduate.”
Candice Adams, manager operations academic at Capsicum Culinary Studio, explained: “We realise that a plant-based culinary education is becoming more than a point under special diets in a curriculum. We are all responsible for equipping learners with relevant and applicable skills to become employable and capable of successful entrepreneurship. We are also responsible for empowering learners to think and investigate and to better prepare them to lead in this incredibly dynamic time in the world. It’s important that at culinary schools there are discussions about sustainability and the role we play in the culinary field; how we impact supply and the environment through our practices and the understanding of customer demands and culinary trends and the importance of lifelong learning and an endlessly inquisitive mind.
“I believe that the plant-based diet phenomenon will continue to grow and evolve. We’ve seen a massive increase in this movement over the past decade, with rapid growth and adoption in the last five years. More people are implementing a flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan diet for various reasons, ranging from health reasons to ecological and sustainability reasons, religious and cultural reasons and ethical reasons. With so much happening in the research and development of plant-based alternatives and plant-centred nutrition, more people are open to experiencing plant-based food and starting to understand the reasons behind plant-based choices and its growing popularity.”
Many benefits come from a greener diet. Numerous studies indicate that a diet rich in plant-based foods can help improve our health, and that people who eat fewer animal products have lower rates of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and cancer. Our carbon footprint and water use are also greatly reduced on a plant-based diet, as farming animals requires significantly more water and produces a lot more greenhouse gases than farming vegetables and grains. Finally, replacing meat, milk and eggs also benefits farm animals, millions of whom spend their entire lives in cages or crates where they are unable to exercise, engage in their natural behaviours and often even turn around because of lack of space.
For more information on the Green Monday South Africa movement and programmes implemented in South Africa, visit greenmondayza.org. For plant-based recipes, visit greenmonday.co.za. For more information on the Capsicum Culinary Studio courses, visit capsicumcooking.com.