As Head Chef of Hendersons Vegan, Paul Kayne knows a thing or two about plant-based eating and just how delicious it can be
How did you get into cooking?
I had to give this a few thoughts just to realise that my path to the kitchen is just a simple story. I was trying new things out in my late teenage years as a challenge, and cooking stuck with me. When I got to a position where I could be creative with food, that was the moment I really started to enjoy being a chef. Following trends, especially in the vegan food sector, is very important, however I think I can say that I feel lucky that at Hendersons Vegan I have full control over the menu – I can change it anytime and tailor the dishes monthly. Cooking is a challenge and an adventure at the same time.
What has inspired you most in the kitchen?
My main inspiration is the endless opportunities there are to be creative when creating tasty, healthy and nutritious food. I also pay attention to our customers feedback about my dishes, and they are big influencers on my ideas.
What do you think are people’s biggest misconceptions about vegan food?
About a year ago when veganism reached it’s biggest hype, food substitutes, like vegan ‘meat’, ‘eggs’, etc, became very desirable among the freshly turned vegans. For a while I was suspicious, so I decided to create my own homemade versions of vegan ‘black pudding’, ‘salmon’, ‘chilli beef mince’ and so on. When I see people enjoying my vegan chilli bowl or my vegan black pudding, that’s when I feel that all the development and hard work is paying off, and it gives me motivation to continue experimenting.
What is your favourite dish on the menu at Hendersons?
It’s hard for me to choose a favourite dish as they are all my own. But right now, I’d say I’m very happy with the pasta with lentil, walnut and smoked aubergine ragu, basil cream and almond parmesan. It’s colourful soulful, aromatic and all the team here love to eat it. The cured carrot bruschetta with lemon dill cashew cream is also a personal favorite and is one of our signature dishes.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I can’t say no to any of our lovely vegan cakes, even though not all of them are sugar free. I mean who can say no to a good cake? I also love peanut butter, scooped straight out of the jar.
Paul Kayne is the Head Chef at Hendersons Vegan in Edinburgh. www.hendersonsofedinburgh.co.uk
Paul Kayne’s Celeriac Gnocchi with Whisky Date Sauce
- 1 celeriac, peeled
- and diced
- Flour, to dust
- Olive oil
- Cacao nibs, to serve (optional)
- For the whisky
- date sauce
- ¼ large white onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 50ml whisky
- 175g dates, soaked in hot water for 10-20min until soft
- 1 carton soya cream
- 120ml vegetable stock
- For the celery ash
- 1 head of celery
- Olive oil
Boil the diced celeriac in well seasoned water until very soft. Drain, then leave to cool and dry. Mash the cooled celeriac and mix with enough semolina to make a soft, fluffy-textured dough. Dust your work surface with flour then portion by rolling the dough into balls the size of a marble.
To make the ash, wash, dry and roughly chop the celery. Place on a baking tray with a drizzling of olive oil and some salt then roast on a high heat until burnt and dried out. Cool, then blend to a powdered ash using a spice grinder.
For the sauce, finely dice the onion and grate the garlic. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan and sweat off the onion and garlic. Once softened, add the whisky, soaked dates, and stock, bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced by a third. Add the soya cream, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 2 min.
When ready to serve, boil a small pot full of water with salt and olive oil. Add the gnocchi and cook for 2-3 min. Meanwhile, heat the sauce in a separate pan. Once the gnocchi is cooked, add it to the sauce, stir, and heat through for 1 min. Serve the gnocchi topped with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs with the sauce alongside with a sprinkle of the celery ash on top.