The catering team at Robinson College recently held a hugely successful Plant Food Festival to raise awareness of the flavour opportunities and dishes available with plant-based food.  And it didn’t stop at just food…there was even a vegan wine stand with red, white and rose options for tasting (that was unsurprisingly pretty popular).  The event was designed to broaden horizons and to surprise a few people, which it did! 

Utilising more plant-based ingredients is nothing new for the inventive Robinson College Chefs – there has been a conscious increase in the plant-based food provision for all of the College's food outlets. Partly as a response to the ever-increasing costs of all animal-derived products, but mainly to embrace the sustainable and numerous health benefits that plant-based foods offer.

Working with Vegetarian Express, one of the suppliers within the Cambridge Catering Managers’ Consortium, who kindly provided the Heura ingredients for the menu, the event was well attended and the food went down a storm.  Probably the biggest hit of the day was the Heura burgers that many could not believe were not meat-based; they have already been featured on the daily lunch menu in response to the feedback!  Dishes at the event included: Heura, chickpea and sweet potato Mongolian curry with basmati rice; Heura burger with avocado, vegan slaw and tomato relish; Pan-fried sesame garlic organic tofu with vermicelli, pak choi, oriental vegetable and a hot and sour sauce; Tofu katsu curry with jasmine rice; Korean rainbow kimchi and glass noodle salad; vegan sushi and vegan desserts.

Comments from the attendees included:

“I just wanted to say what a lovely menu you and your team prepared today.  Everything was so tasty and beautifully presented – I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it considering I’m not a huge fan of anything plant-based”

“Special shout out to the Heura burger, I would happily eat this over a meat option any day”

“If I didn’t know the desserts were plant-based I wouldn’t have had any idea that they were any different”

Over the next few months, the Robinson College chefs are producing a set of plant-based conference menus to add to the already extensive catering options that event organisers are able to choose from. This approach goes hand-in-hand with the College’s wider continuing work to promote a greener approach to all areas of College life, as reflected in the College’s recent Green Impact Platinum Award, which the College won for the third consecutive year as part of the University of Cambridge’s Green Impact Sustainability Awards scheme.