Dubai-based chef and owner of Nassau Silvena Rowe shares her thoughts on choosing a plant-based diet and why choosing to partake in “Veganuary” may have more health benefits than you think.
You are a great supporter of veganism – why do you believe this is a healthy lifestyle choice?
I believe in a mostly plant-based diet, I have done a lot of research into bio-hacking your own biology and mitochondria and there is plenty of evidence to point out that a plant-based diet is of huge benefit to health, as well as also reversing some health conditions.
What do you think are some of the health benefits of becoming vegan?
Avoiding regular consumption of animal products is beneficial, not just for our health but also for the environment and planet. I propose and encourage an emphasis on a plant-based diet.
What in your opinion are the benefits of undertaking Veganuary?
It’s a great time to hopefully detox, new year, new beginnings, but also an incredible way of highlighting other options of eating healthy.
What are some of your favourite vegan dishes to cook?
I love vegan desserts; in fact, I love making Vegan versions of all my favourite desserts such as tiramisu and ice cream.
What advice would you give to anyone who is not particularly confident about cooking but wants to try a vegan diet?
Take it easy, start slowly and make sure you make it delicious.
What are some easy substitutes you can suggest for key foods that cannot be eaten on a vegan diet? Eggs for example?
In place of eggs, tofu works very well when scrambled. In baking we use something called flax egg instead of the egg as we know it, which is the vegan way of binding cakes etc. My favourite though is the aquafaba, vegan egg whites or the water from cooked chickpeas, which can be whipped and turned into something that resembles whipped egg whites.
Which vegan dishes would you recommend we try at Nassau?
Most of our salads, the vegan feta Greek salad, the vegan mushroom and truffle risotto, cauliflower foam toppled with baby vegetables and the triple chocolate cake which is also sugar-free.
What can you tell us about the way you source the ingredients used in the restaurant?
I love to use locally sourced UAE ingredients from local farms.
Tell us about your new sushi menu – it looks delicious!
Every year I spend a month cooking in Japan. My new sushi menu is more than delicious, it’s modern, light and colourful as well as having vegan options too.
What is a dish you would love to add to the menu but haven’t had the chance yet?
I would love to add vegan roast to the menu.
2020 was a strange year for all – how did was your year and did you change anything within the business?
This has been the year in which I really appreciated silver linings. I have always been grateful, but now I feel truly blessed to have my health and of course my businesses.
What is the professional motto you live by?
I live in the now and I have learned to have no expectations. I enjoy every single moment.