HIP HOP VEGANS | INTERVIEW WITH BAD BOY VEGAN KITCHEN (@badboyvkitchen) FOUNDER LOUIS ASHOK

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With the rise of vegan­ism in 2017 and 100,000 people sign­ing up for Veganu­ary 2018 there has nev­er been a bet­ter time to explore vegan­ism or start a vegan busi­ness. We caught up with Louis Ashok, the own­er of Bad Boy Vegan Kit­chen to inter­view him about his trans­ition to vegan­ism and how his busi­ness star­ted out! Louis also goes to explain the bene­fits he has exper­i­enced and his view sur­round­ing vegan­ism and people of col­our. Stay tuned for an inter­est­ing and inform­at­ive inter­view…!

What exactly is Bad Boy Vegan Kit­chen?

Bad boy vegan Kit­chen is a vegan cater­ing ser­vice that focuses purely on using the best ingredi­ents and recipes for our cli­ents and cus­tom­ers. We aim to make vegan cuisine more excit­ing and avoid the ste­reo­types of it being noth­ing but grass or food that lacks pro­tein. I turned vegan about 2 years ago and found that there was a lack of options for this diet — I spoke to fel­low vegans in the com­munity and received the same com­plaints of what was miss­ing in the food industry for vegans. Being a chef with the ambi­tion to start my own busi­ness already, I knew that this would be the route I would take in order to help oth­ers and cook what I enjoy to eat.

Tell us a bit about your vegan jour­ney? What would be your mes­sage to new vegans of col­our espe­cially those who struggle to see vegan rep­res­ent­a­tion of them in the media etc. 

My vegan trans­ition evolved from veget­ari­an­ism, so it was a much smoother and bet­ter trans­ition. I decided to go vegan because at the time I was very much into the gym and thought it would be a good way to tone up and lose weight in a healthy way. The moment I began to adapt to the diet I couldn’t ignore how appre­ci­at­ive I became of life in gen­er­al. It’s as though it decluttered my mind of unne­ces­sary junk also and I could now see life for how it was with equal­ity and love. With such a clear mind I could eas­ily detect loads of wrongs that were being prac­ticed to date. I also saw the lack of col­oured people being rep­res­en­ted in the vegan industry even though there are many devout vegans of col­our, some even adopt­ing an alkaline diet which I believe is one of the health­i­est ways a vegan can live. Being such pion­eers to med­ic­al treat­ment from the likes of people like Dr Sebi, as usu­al black people were shunned for such efforts. I didn’t real­ise that Vegan­ism which exer­cises equal­ity of all life still had its equal­ity issues among­st people with col­our. Your typ­ic­al vegan was a white female, fat with uni­corn col­oured hair, glasses and a fem­in­ist. Because this took centre stage when I was intro­duced to the soci­ety it made me won­der where were the vegans who looked like me, which is when I noticed they had their own groups that high­lighted it, for example “single black vegans” and many more. So to see that a group for black vegans only shows the segreg­a­tion was neces­sary for all vegans alike to be found.

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What are the bene­fits you have seen being vegan? 

Since I’ve been vegan I have a much clear­er mind and stronger spir­itu­al con­nec­tion both con­sciously and sub­con­sciously. My skin’s clear­er and I look at life a bit plain­er than before, I have a stronger influ­ence on myself rather than being sub­jec­ted to the opin­ions and advices of oth­ers; which is com­mon to all. My friends are my friends which have been attrac­ted through like­wise energy I believe. Though they may not all be vegan, they have sim­il­ar ways of think­ing.

As we all know, start­ing a busi­ness is incred­ibly hard and has some chal­lenges. What are the biggest things you have learnt / could you share your exper­i­ence?

The prob­lem with start­ing a busi­ness and the con­cept of it being hard is due to the fact that people are allured by the pro­spect of mak­ing a lot of money. When I star­ted the busi­ness, I wanted recog­ni­tion so the mind­set was to get know­ledge out there to people about being vegan and how to sur­vive as one. I thought money will come any­way even­tu­ally but fin­an­cially I would sup­port my busi­ness with my reg­u­lar Chef job. Because I enjoy what I do, I had/have no con­cept of it being hard which is one key thing to bear in mind; when you enjoy what you do, it’s not hard. Though there are chal­lenges, rather than feel­ing nervous about them, I feel excited because once that pro­cess is fin­ished it means that there’s more elev­a­tion to the busi­ness. I first wanted to give people a fine din­ing exper­i­ence of the vegan side of things and still do but I real­ised that cas­u­al eat­ing was just as import­ant which became known to me when I received feed­back that food was expens­ive and long to pre­pare this was some­thing I looked to change. Finally, I broke it down to cas­u­al eat­ing but fine ingredi­ents a com­bin­a­tion that would keep the cus­tom­ers com­ing which they did.

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Many people com­plain about the pro­cess of cook­ing, what made you fall in love with cook­ing? And for those that want to spend less time in the kit­chen, what are your favour­ite easy meals?

I fell in love with cook­ing because I love food and everything about it. It was only right that I did some­thing I enjoyed so I became a chef; sim­ple. As men­tioned before it’s hard to com­plain when you’re hav­ing fun, gen­er­ally an approach to cook­ing should be seen as an activ­ity rather than a chore. There are many quick and easy recipes you can make for your­self such as cous cous with olives. Bell pep­pers, fresh basil and truffle oil. Cous cous is a mat­ter of pour­ing boil­ing water over it and let­ting it sit by itself on the side to cook, the oth­er ingredi­ents can be tossed in. This is a meal that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

What advice would you give to young people want­ing to start their own busi­ness?

To young people that want to start busi­ness I advise that they start a busi­ness they truly love. So, for example if you like music try to think about what it is about music you love. Then choose some­thing with­in that field you could see that needs improve­ment wheth­er someone is try­ing to do it or not, do not get put off by people who are already doing what you intend to do; it doesn’t mat­ter!

Any last words? (of insight, reflec­tion, thoughts, feel­ings, favour­ite quotes)

Your food affects your mood so make sure you put into your body what you wish to put out. In that, I mean your energy is pos­it­ive when you eat pos­it­ive.

I have heard Veg­fest Lon­don was a great suc­cess for you! For those that missed out, where will we be able to find you next? (loc­a­tion wise + social links)

Veg­fest Lon­don was really good des­pite a few chal­lenges which is why we will be at the Brighton one in March 2018. Look out for us on Ins­tagram: @badboyvegankitchen our web­site bbvkldn.com our pages on Face­book bad boy vegan kit­chen and Twit­ter @badboyvkitchen on these plat­forms you can be updated on our where­abouts and next pop up; look for­ward to see­ing you all.

 

 

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Omolade Ojo
Omol­ade Ojo is a Nigeri­an vegan pas­sion­ate about bring­ing con­scious eat­ing and nutri­tion to the minds and hearts of all young people. Hav­ing made the trans­ition a year ago, she became the founder of Our Vegan Cook­book, a page ded­ic­ated to show­cas­ing that vegan­ism is much sim­pler and access­ible than the media por­trays. Her blog ‘Omo Eats’ show­cases vegan pro­duct reviews, begin­ner tips and thought pro­vok­ing art­icles.

About Omolade Ojo

Omolade Ojo
Omolade Ojo is a Nigerian vegan passionate about bringing conscious eating and nutrition to the minds and hearts of all young people. Having made the transition a year ago, she became the founder of Our Vegan Cookbook, a page dedicated to showcasing that veganism is much simpler and accessible than the media portrays. Her blog ‘Omo Eats’ showcases vegan product reviews, beginner tips and thought provoking articles.