Glorious Food by Gill Potterton

Glorious Food by Gill Potterton

"Although Catering is my main business, I love to do Cookery Demonstrations and Tastings, as well as food writing for local publications, as this enables me to share my passion for good food with a wider audience."

In the Kitchen with Gill Potterton. All About National Vegetarian Week

Sunday, 15th March 2009

RH1 April/May

When browsing through a calendar of British Foodie Events, I discovered that 18th 24th May is National Vegetarian Week, the annual awareness-raising campaign, promoting inspirational vegetarian food, and decided that this would be the perfect theme for my Cookery Demonstrations on 19th and 20th May. I also took the opportunity to look closely at the vegetarian options on my catering menus, to ensure they were not just acceptable to vegetarians, but exciting and inspirational too!

National Vegetarian Week has been celebrated by the Vegetarian Society since 1992 and is now an established event encouraging everyone from small businesses to large corporations, schools, community groups and individuals to get involved. The UK Vegetarian Society, the oldest vegetarian organisation in the world, is an educational charity promoting understanding and respect for vegetarian lifestyles; providing free information and advice, setting standards for what is truly vegetarian, then challenging perceptions through the National Vegetarian Week. Visit for up to date details of the local group network. This website is very user-friendly and has lots of information, links to other resources, recipes, and a brilliant section for young veggies.

I am not vegetarian myself, but find the challenge of inspirational vegetarian cooking fascinating, and always look with interest at vegetarian menu options, to see how imaginative or sympathetic the chef is to vegetarian customers. Sometimes it makes a refreshing change to enjoy a well-conceived, well-cooked and well-presented vegetarian dish instead of a meat dish. Hopefully the days of vegetarian guests or diners being offered a cheese salad, cheese omelette, or a selection of vegetables with the protein-giving meat or fish removed are long gone. But perhaps they are still too often faced with a Nut Roast, Stuffed Peppers or a Goats Cheese Salad?

In 1945 there were 100,000 vegetarians in the UK, but todays figure stands between 3 4 million. Vegetarians aside, almost half the population are reportedly reducing their meat consumption, and apparently 20% of diners regularly choose vegetarian options when eating out. With our greater awareness in Britain today of healthy eating issues, the provenance or sourcing of ingredients, the availability of organic produce, and the overall economy and good sense of eating seasonally, caterers and restaurants should be determined to provide a wide choice of fresh vegetarian food, which could be appealing to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

If I were a vegetarian, I would want to see a good choice of colourful, freshly-prepared, nutritious dishes on a menu - no-one wants food that sounds, looks and tastes brown, bland and boring! Dishes on a menu should be described so as to sound really appetising, as well as looking and tasting delicious. When planning a vegetarian menu, I try not to be over-reliant on cheese. There are many vegetarian cheeses, often inexpensive, so cheese is a very versatile source of protein in vegetarian cooking, essential in more hearty comfort food dishes, such as vegetarian lasagne or moussaka. But looking forward to the summer, I want to be cooking lighter, fresher dishes, making the most of bountiful seasonal produce, so this will be my challenge for the Cookery Demonstrations to mark National Vegetarian Week in May.

Please call Gill on 07590 621015 to discuss your requirements or email


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