My name is Brad, and I’m the creator and self-publisher of the Foodie Book cookbook series, thanks for visiting!
The books came about soon after I moved to Vancouver from Australia in 2014 to be closer to my wife's family. I love food, I love restaurants, I love the hospitality industry and I wanted to learn about my new home. So it made sense to combine these loves with my career as a photographer and document what I learnt.
Thing is, while I was making these books, at home my wife and I were slowly, almost unconsciously, cutting meat from our diet and gradually replacing our staples with vegetarian and then vegan dishes.
There wasn’t one catalyst for this but many, here are the main ones.
1. I’ve just stepped the other 40 so, healthwise, I’m not as bullet proof as I once was.
2. It’s become increasingly obvious that examining our diets should be the first step we take towards combating climate change. I’ve always been conscious about my impact on this earth and despite the additional cost, all my books have been printed on sustainable paper in Canada, which is rare for cookbooks.
3. I have no trust in the food industry or regulatory institutions to create and enforce policy that treats animals properly.
I actually struggled with this last point in my early thinking about eating plant-based. I grew up on a farm and everyone I knew as a kid did too. I think our “livestock”, cows and sheep, were treated incredibly well right up until their quick and, I hope, painless end. I know for a fact that my Dad cared deeply for our stock and looked after them above and beyond what you would hope for when eating a steak or chop. But that type of farm essentially doesn’t exist any more, the economics don’t allow it. Factory farming is sickening, and is only politically possible because of how detached we have all come from the gruesome production processes.
So, this year I made it formal with new years resolution to eat no meat. More recently we’ve cut out almost all other animal products too. I’m not perfect at all but, honestly, I see it as one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m excited about food and recipes more than ever, more full of energy and have lost weight without noticing. The thought popped into my mind a couple of weeks ago that this is the first year in my 40 odd years where no animal has died for me. This probably doesn't sound like a big deal but, for a farm boy at least, it was a profound thought that stopped me in my tracks.
The main reason I’m writing this now is to point out that while I have taken this plant-based path I’m still incredibly proud of my previous 3 omnivore Foodie Books. Every restaurant presented in them has good vegetarian and often vegan options, indeed you can’t be a good restaurant in Vancouver without them these days. Even within an industry that is always changing, the rate of change in restaurateurs attitudes towards veggie food of late has been impressive. Not that long ago mainstream chefs would ridicule veggie diners and only offer (v) menu options as an afterthought. Today, many of the same chefs are eating more vegetarian dishes themselves and their menus will only get even better in this regard.
When I was an omnivore, intellectually I knew all the pros of a plant-based diet but a combination of cynicism about how much change one person can affect on the world and the lingering idea that I’m depriving myself of experiences overcame all the cons of eating meat. Now that I’ve made changes to my diet, these fears have not been realised in the slightest. You certainly don’t need to make a book to find out how damn good plant-based food can be and how good it makes you feel and it didn’t take long to realise that the idea there is any deprivation involved is ridiculous. As to changing the world, well, in the bigger picture I’m doing what I can, zoom in a bit though and I’ve made a world of change to the animals I haven’t eaten, I’ve voted with what I spend my money on which is a strong signal to restaurants, supermarkets and producers, and my personal values are now aligned with what I eat which has made my world better.
Looking to the future, at this stage I’m not sure where the Foodie Book series will go but it’s going to be fun working it out.