Hackney chef serves up big vegan flavours
PUBLISHED: 14:41 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:41 19 February 2020
All Nations Vegan House
Hackney chef Atreka runs a Caribbean vegan restaurant and says she’s all about eating naturally and promoting ‘livity’ – or life energy. Holly Chant reports
A Hackney chef says Caribbean food doesn't need meat to taste good and hopes her plant-based Jamaican meals will get more people picking healthier alternatives and giving vegan dishes a go.
Atreka Cameron says veganism has drastically improved her health and she wants more people to get involved in a plant-based diet - even if it's only every now and again.
"Sometimes you say to people it's vegan - especially Caribbean people - and because they like the taste of their natural spices and herbs they shy away 'cause they think [the food] will be bland.
"My Caribbean vegan food gives them the same big flavours," said the chef.
Her Dalston restaurant, All Nations Vegan House, is the first to serve up vegan 'Ital' meals in Hackney and it's reviving the Rastafarian plant-based food philosophy which has, for almost a century, rejected processed meats and foods.
It's all about eating naturally and promoting livity or life energy.
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Atreka began eating and cooking vegan over ten years ago and started her business from home, sending out menus on watsapp.
"I used to jump on the train come down and deliver the food. A lot of Hackney workers used to watsapp me," Atreka said.
But Atreka's passion for cooking began when she was a little girl growing up in Jamaica. She learnt to cook by watching her mother and would cook her family dinners.
"In Jamaica, you're as mature as you act. If you act like you can do something, they don't hold you back," she said.
The mother-of-seven says she comes alive whilst cooking and thinks people are becoming more conscious about the food they eat.
"I think that's what's turning people to a plant-based, Ital or vegan diets," she said.
Before, All Nations Vegan House was there, the building on Sandringham Road was home to All Nations Cafe and All Nations Barbers. Atreka is proud to be a part of the history of the place and so kept the name it has held for decades.
She told the Gazette: "Muhammed Ali and Marvin Gaye used to come here and trim here. It had a chain of celebrities used to come into the shop and right now the history has returned because I have a lot of celebrities coming in also - so the energy has come around full circle."