Meet the chef // Bonita De Silva from Cafe Van Gogh

If you follow us on Instagram, you've likely seen us shout about the wonderful Cafe Van Gogh. They're a non-profit community interest cafe who provide training for people with learning disabilities... ultimately providing them with skills they need to seek paid employment. It's a wonderful place with an incredible vegan menu - as they focus on creating plant-based dishes that change with the seasons... and you guessed it, Honestly Tasty is on the menu too!

We had a quick chat with co-owner and head chef Bonita De Silva about what it's likely working there (and why you should go and check it out!).
<div dir="ltr"> <div> <ul> <li><em>Hey Bonita! If you had to share one thing about working at Cafe Van Gogh, and why you love it, what would you pick?</em></li> </ul> </div> <div><em></em></div> <br /> <div><strong></strong></div> <div><strong><i></i></strong></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;">I love the team! And the customers - and the overall energy of the cafe. Myself and my business partner work hard to make it a positive and welcoming space and I do believe this feeling is reflected when customers walk through our doors. </div> <br /> <div style="padding-left: 30px;"></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;"><em><strong></strong></em></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;"></div> <ul> <li><em> That we can vouch for! There's a warm, fuzzy feeling - and the space is just beautiful. You sort of don't expect it, even if you've seen pics, and feel instantly at home?! Bonita - what's your favourite thing on the menu at the moment? Apart from the Honestly Tasty cheeseboard! </em></li> </ul> </div> <div dir="ltr"><em><strong></strong></em></div> <div dir="ltr"></div> <div dir="ltr"> <div></div> <br /> <div style="padding-left: 30px;">The cheeseboard is fantastic! We currently have a delicious Saturday Brunch Toastie which is new to out menu packed with pulled shiitake 'meat', melted cheese, spinach and 'bacon' jam and a pot of spicy chipotle sauce for dunking!</div> <div></div> <div> <ul> <li><em>Vegan bacon jam!! That sounds incredible - must give that a try. And we love a toastie too... especially a cheesy one (shocker!). What's your favourite Honestly Tasty cheese? </em></li> </ul> </div> <br /> <div><em></em></div> <div><strong></strong></div> <div></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;">I love love love the Blue. It's absolutely delicious and we've had die hard dairy blue cheese fans say they can't tell the difference!!</div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;"></div> <div></div> <br /> <div><strong></strong></div> <div> <ul> <li><em>We LOVE to hear that! It really is a game changer isn't it? I've seen a few vegan blue cheeses pop up since Mike created a novel method for creating Honestly Tasty Blue... and call me biased, but nothing hits the spot quite like it does! </em><em> </em><em>It's definitely got something to do with drawing the right bits from the dairy cheese making process and combining them with novel new techniques. Such an interesting space to work in! What do you most enjoy about cooking meat free meals?</em></li> </ul> </div> <div></div> <br /> <div style="padding-left: 30px;"></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;"></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;">I trained as a chef working with meat, fish and dairy before I went completely vegan so as a chef I understand what you're saying about those techniques... I love to transfer the skills I learnt working with these products to plant-based cooking and seeing the end results. I particularly enjoy making a vegetable the star of the show!</div> <div><em> </em></div> <br /> <div> <ul> <li><em>One last thing... for those looking to create meals with our cheese, is there anything you'd recommend?</em></li> </ul> </div> <div><em></em></div> <br /> <div></div> <div><em><b></b></em></div> <div><em><b></b></em></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;">I would personally keep things simple as The Honestly Tasty cheese is such a great product it doesn't require any frills. Baking the 'shamembert' with garlic and rosemary and serving with crusty bread is a great starter. Equally any of the cheeses in a sandwich with some decent chutney is always going to be a winner. We previously had a Smoked Tofu, Leek and Blue Cheese Pie on which was delicious.</div> <br /> <div style="padding-left: 30px;"><em><strong></strong></em></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;"><em><strong></strong></em></div> <div><em><strong></strong></em></div> <div> <ul> <li><em>Amazing, thanks so much Bonita! Anything else you'd love to share?</em></li> </ul> </div> <br /> <div></div> <div><strong></strong></div> <div></div> <div style="padding-left: 30px;">Come and book with us!! See what we're all about and enjoy the space we've created... because we can't run our social mission without people coming through our doors. It's incredibly important that people support us in what is a tough time for hospitality and we really, really appreciate everyone that does.</div> </div>

Cafe Van Gogh have been trading for 7 years, they've survived lockdowns imposed on the hospitality sector and are fighting against the effects of the cost of living crisis as they roll into 2023. So they've launched a booking drive! 

And if you can support them, pleasebook a table here
📍 Cafe Van Gogh
88 Brixton Rd, London SW9 6BE
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