Food, Muay Thai and music – a vegan chef on her first book ahead of Balham Literary Festival appearance

A music-loving, vegan chef will be promoting her first book at Balham Literary Festival next Saturday.

Fun-loving Rachel Ama from Harringay says she wants to break down the scary line between vegans and non-vegans.

Once a lover of KFC, the YouTuber now uses her platform to prove to people vegan food can be delicious in its own right.

She said: “It’s not a case of: ‘you’re vegan or you’re not’.

“If your cauliflowered something doesn’t taste like chicken, say it doesn’t taste like chicken.

“Lets get over that line, call it what it is and have fun with it.”

Growing up in a house full of music, former dancer Rachel matches each recipe to a hand-picked song.

Music has become one of Rachel’s signature trademarks. Her Instagram @rachelama_ even has a story highlight devoted to videos of her dancing around her kitchen.

Not only can this vegan chef dance, she can also box.

“I absolutely fell in love with the discipline behind Muay Thai and the therapy it provides.

“As a woman, I find it very empowering to be this strong person you might see in an action movie.

“Maybe it will cancel out the ‘vegans are weak’ thing.”

Growing up in London exposed Rachel to all sorts of different foods and flavours, encouraging her to share these cuisines and make British cooking more representative of the world.

Her book takes you through her Afro-Caribbean roots, but it includes British and Welsh recipes too.

She calls it a ‘mix and blend’, offering both show-stoppers you can whip out for a dinner party and bulk meals you can make on Monday for the rest of the week.

A personal favourite of hers is the jerk sauce tacos with roasted mushrooms, plantain and mango salsa.

She said: “There’s some really delicious, flavoursome food that’s going to shock you and make you go: ‘oh my goodness, plant-based eating can be so tasty’.”

Looking to the future, Rachel is excited to expand her YouTube channel and she even hinted we might be seeing some grime artists popping up on her channel.

Chosen as The Observer’s Rising Star of Food for 2019, Rachel will be talking on June 15 at Balham Bowls Club at 12.30pm.

Hardcopies of her book can be bought for £14, or as part of a ticket to the festival.

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