Soulara's plant-based chef

Our head chef’s guide to plant-based living

She’s cool. She’s charismatic. Meet Kylie: our dedicated and down-to-earth Research & Development Chef! We sat down with Kylie to learn about her approach to the plant-based life which she…

She’s cool. She’s charismatic.

Meet Kylie: our dedicated and down-to-earth Research & Development Chef! We sat down with Kylie to learn about her approach to the plant-based life which she truly lives and breathes, and what inspires her downright magical meal creations.

What’s it like doing the research and development for Soulara meals, along with Soulara’s nutritionists?

It’s a really cool job; no day is ever the same and I love the variation. I get to flex my creativity when I’m researching and formulating recipes and I’m lucky enough to be hands on with the styling of the meals when they get photographed, but I also get to use the more analytical part of my brain when it comes to looking at shelf life, food safety, and quality control.

Have you always been plant-based? What are your reasons for choosing to lead a plant-based lifestyle?

I went vego almost 10 years again and [plant-based] three years ago. At the start I made the switch purely for ethical reasons. I felt a lot of empathy towards the animals we consider food and I got to the point where I didn’t want my dollar to be counted as a vote for causing them pain or fear.  

What does a day on your plate look like?

I always feel really good when I’m fasting for a portion of the day, so I’ll start the day with a black coffee and then have my first meal at around noon. I really like the sunbliss granola so I’ll generally have that with a little bit of coconut yoghurt and fresh fruit. At around five I’ll have a snack, usually an apple and then I’ll make a big dinner. Dinner varies a lot but I always make sure it’s got two to three veggies, a protein and a whole grain. I also love to end the day with a cup of tea and something sweet – more often than not that means chocolate!  

Your top three tips for anyone who is keen to transition to a plant-based diet, or who simply wants to eat more plant-based?

I’ve got so many!

Ease yourself in! It sounds a bit random but I actually gave up pork and lamb for two years before I went vego and while I was vego I flip-flopped between being vegan and vegetarian. When I finally went fully plant-based the idea of giving up cheese had been marinating in my mind for years!

Eat the things you love! There are lots of fad diets within the [plant-based] sphere like eating only raw foods or juice fasting. I recommend skipping all of that for a big plate of spaghetti and lentil bolognese. [Plant-based] eating shouldn’t be an exercise in deprivation.

Have a go at making your favourite omni meal plant-based. There are heaps of resources out there, so whether you love lasagne, burritos, or cheesecake, google how to veganize them and start with one signature dish.

What do you think the biggest misconception is about plant-based living?

There’s an assumption that if you’re not eating meat and eggs, you’re not getting enough protein. Protein deficiencies are almost completely unheard of and no one seems to wonder where cows, pigs and sheep get their protein from!

The Soulara dishes really are one of a kind. How do you come up with all your unique meal ideas?

I spend a lot of time thinking about food, haha! I can spend all day in the kitchen working on recipes and then get on the train and spend an hour thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner! I cook a lot at home, I eat out a lot, I wander around the supermarket and health food stores to see what other companies are coming up with and I use a lot of online resources like pinterest or food blogs (even non [plant-based] ones – anything can be [made plant-based]) for inspiration. Basically I’m always on the hunt for new ideas!

Your favourite Soulara dishes?

The granola! The Nadi Noodles is also one of my favourites and I just did a recipe for a Chickpea Tikka Masala that is super tasty, so that’s a little sneak peek into what’s to come. 

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

I usually try and make it to a yoga or pilates class before work so I literally give myself a 10 minute window to get out of bed and out the door which makes my mornings a bit of a blur!

Five plant-based foods you can’t live without?

Falafel, hummus, avocado, bananas and Pico vegan chocolate . . . also coffee!

What are some things you try to do daily to support your overall health and wellbeing?

I drink lots of water; it gets hot in the kitchen so hydration is a priority. Sleep is also super important to me so I always aim for eight hours. I like to dedicate an hour a day to exercise, which is sometimes just a walk or a stretch, and I really love to sit down with my partner at the end of the day for a meal, a chat, and/or a bit of netflix.

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Published: 16/04/19

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