3 Feb 2021 | Simran Kular
Katy Beskow, a popular author and cookery teacher, started a recipe blog in 2013 and has since written six books and taught classes to thousands of people in the UK. As an advocate for cheap, quick and hassle-free vegan recipes, she has gained a large following and consistently finds creative ways to enjoy a meat and dairy free lifestyle. We caught up with her following the release of her sixth book, Easy Vegan Bible…
1) You’ve been teaching classes for a while, what was it like being forced to stop because of COVID-19?
Sadly, it’s the first time in 6 years that we have been forced to cancel classes. After the first lockdown restrictions were lifted, the housekeeping team at Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School worked really hard to create a COVID secure classroom, including temperature checks, Perspex screens, individual equipment and a one-way walk system to the ovens, which worked so well for the return class in August. We are hoping the restrictions will be lifted to allow classes to resume soon.
2) Why do you think veganism is rising in terms of popularity?
I believe that people are thinking more broadly about sustainability, animal ethics, and a more modern way to eat- which is vegan. Vegan ingredients are so much more accessible now, with supermarkets stocking a wide range to cater for the increased demand. Just cutting back on meat, fish and other animal products for one meal, or one day a week makes a huge difference. If you cook vegan food from scratch (which is so simple!), it’s a much cheaper way to eat too.
3) How do you balance writing and cooking? How, if at all, did lockdown change this routine?
I spend a lot of my time recipe testing and writing from my kitchen at home, which was not changed with the lockdown. I also had a book release (Vegan Fakeaway, Quadrille, £15) during this time, which was quite different as I was unable to travel to food festivals, book shop events and other face-to-face publicity events. We were also shooting my new release Easy Vegan Bible (Quadrille, £22) during lockdown, which was carried out in a socially distanced way with a minimal team of a photographer and food stylist. I was able to Zoom call in each day with the editor and designer- and I even got to see the cover shot being taken, but it was a very different experience to being present in the studio with the lovely team.
4) If you weren’t doing food, what would you be doing?
I worked as a chartered physiotherapist in the NHS for 10 years before I became a full-time food writer, so I guess I’d still be doing that. I was lucky that my hobby of food writing for magazines and online became a job, as I gradually reduced my hours working in the NHS to take on more food writing work.
5) If you could have an infinite supply of only five ingredients on a deserted island, what would they be?
Chopped tomatoes - to make anything from cassoulet to curry.
Canned coconut milk – it makes the creamiest soups.
Marmite - for adding a savoury base flavour to any dish.
A big loaf of tiger bread - for toast, epic sandwiches, croutons, and ribollita with the leftovers.
Yorkshire Tea - because an infinite supply would make this Yorkshire lass very happy on a deserted island!
6) Do you have any advice for aspiring food writers?
Keep it simple. Help to build people’s confidence in the kitchen with straightforward recipes and accessible ingredients- and make those recipes become a staple in a reader’s kitchen. Write about the food you enjoy eating; it will shine through!
7) What’s next?
My sixth book Easy Vegan Bible (Quadrille, £22) was released 12th November, which is my biggest book yet at 200 recipes! I’m also excited to announce that my seventh book will be released in 2021.