Talking Plant-Based Food with ‘Artefact’ Head Chef Evan Mende

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You might know Chef Evan Mende as the head chef on-board Nobiskrug’s 80 m’ Artefact’ or through his Instagram account Passionateflavors. Chef Evan recently attended the Monaco Yacht Show and hosted a plant-based bbq with our friends at Maison Del Gusto. We managed to catch up with him at the event to explore his views on food and a plant-based lifestyle.

Have you noticed an increase in plant-based diets over the past couple of years?

Yes, definitely. The mindset has changed in the industry. Plant-based food is on the rise, and people are gradually becoming more aware of what they’re placing in their bodies. I believe this is a result of the pandemic. Not only guests and crew on-board, but a whole mass of individuals are now realising that food is fuel, and to be healthy on the outside, you need to make sure you’re healthy on the inside. Growing up in a vegetarian household and being a pescatarian for 17 years, it’s fantastic to see how much the industry has developed and is continuing to do so. I tend to cook multiple dishes to the preference of my guests, but I’ll always push for them to include vegetables and healthier options with their choice of food.

As head chef, do you cook a lot of plant-based food on-board?

At the beginning of the season, I started doing “plant-based Monday” food for the crew on-board Artefact. As expected, not everyone was as keen as me on the idea. However, I explained the benefits, and so far, it’s been successful. Often, when I eat crew food, I will opt out of adding meat to my dish, not because I don’t enjoy it but for health reasons. I cook dishes they request for guests on-board, but I’ll always give them vegetable options to go with their plate to entice them to try more. Often guests perceive bread as a “treat” and will request gluten-free. I make a 72-hour pizza dough, which is something they look forward to over the three days.

I think it’s imperative to make it clear that following a plant-based diet or opting for gluten-free options doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. Many people will cut out meat and other substances but continue to consume a diet full of processed foods that lack vital nutrients. I’m not a nutritionist or a dietitian. However, I read a lot and educate myself on nutrition. Staying up-to-date with the latest information on nutrition and food is a fundamental part of my role and something I pride myself in.

Do you find that cooking plant-based is versatile?

Definitely! Vegetables are so versatile! They have so many flavours, textures, and tastes. I incorporate vegetables based on the season and locally sourced ones (unless my guests request otherwise). There’s a common misconception that I would love to change: meat is the centrepiece of the dish. I believe meat should be 30% of the plate and the vegetables, sauces, and other elements the remaining 70%. Let’s take Maison Del Gusto’s plant-based BBQ, for example; Included in one of the dishes were grilled avocado and grilled sweet potato. These are two foods people don’t often consider cooking that way. The more plant-based foods you experiment with, the more you will come to realise that you’re not missing meat at all.

We also did a mushroom, cauliflower, and beetroot burger with a slow-roasted aubergine miso sauce on the bottom and topped with truffled parmesan cream. The visitors’ response to the burger was that it’s the best burger they’ve ever had. So these are just a couple of examples of how versatile vegetables can be.

What are some of your favourite cuisines and foods?

I enjoy a lot of plant-based dishes. I never look at a vegetable dish and feel like I’m missing out because it’s lacking a piece of meat. It all depends on my location at the time. There are so many cuisines I love, Japanese being one of them. I’ve worked in japan twice now. Italian and Mexican are also two cultures that I enjoy eating. I could eat tacos every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I were to have to choose a favourite fruit, I’d have to go with a fresh jackfruit and vegetable-wise, anything from my Mum’s garden. Everything that she grows in the garden tastes so much better than store-bought foods.

What are your thoughts on the misconception that Plant-based diets don’t provide you with enough protein?

It’s funny because there are several vegetables out there, such as beans and legumes, which contain an equal amount of protein, if not more than a piece of meat. As long as you’re consuming the right food and including whole foods in your diet, you’ll more than certainly be getting enough protein. I will add that one of the most underestimated nutrients in a diet is fiber. People don’t realise it’s a key component to a healthy gut and helping the body function properly.

Check out our list of plant-based chefs you should follow right now

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Plant Based Chefs You Need To Be Following In 2021

With the rise of veganism and growing awareness of meat production’s effect on our planet, the demand for plant-based food is rising. Superyacht chefs face the challenge of creating more meals and snacks for yacht crew and guests using only plant-based products. But why is this an issue? After all, plants are incredibly versatile, more eco-friendly, and, let’s not forget, proven to have remarkable health benefits. 

To embrace the rise of plant-based meals, we’ve put together a list of 5 of the most recognised chefs in the industry that are renowned for cooking plant-based. Are you a chef that is often faced with the challenge of cooking for vegans or vegetarians? Or are you just trying to adopt a more healthy and sustainable way of life onboard? If so, make sure you follow the chefs below for some fantastic inspiration.

Plant-Based Chef – Kirk Haworth

Kirk Haworth is a Michelin Star chef. Through social media, Kirk showcases that plant-based foods can be turned into some of the most aesthetically pleasing dishes. Kirk is the founder of Plates London, where they explore creativity through nature, food, and drinks. They adopt a sustainable approach and combine old-world training with new-world techniques to develop a unique way of elevated, plant-based cooking. If you are not already following Kirk on Instagram, he is undoubtedly one you need you to get onto for inspiration for your guests.

The Minimalist Baker – Dona Shultz

Dana Shultz has revolutionised the world of veganism by creating hundreds of recipes using ten ingredients or less. She has produced a cookbook to help support individuals from the get-go on their plant-based journey. Her blogs and books provide all the information you need to create delicious options for hearty entrées, easy sides, nourishing breakfasts, and decadent desserts. Dona is perfect for a Superyacht chef trying to optimise ingredients onboard and focus on meat-free meals for their crew.

Don’t forget to head over to her website for tons of delicious online recipes:

Vegan Chef – Eddie Garza

Celebrity plant-based chef, author, and host of “global bites with Eddie Garza”. Eddie reforms food systems in marginalised communities and has featured on a wide variety of media outlets. Because of this, he has cooked for stars in the television, film, and music industries. Mexican cuisine is his speciality which has had him recognised for taking people on a plant-based culinary adventure to destinations around the world. Eddie’s book ¡Salud! Vegan Mexican Cookbook features 150 plant-powered recipes that represent the 150 pounds he lost on his vegan journey. Don’t forget to check out his website for some of his delicious meals:

Eddie is the perfect chef to follow if you are looking for you’re looking for hearty homemade comfort meals.

Avant-Garde Vegan – Gaz Oakley

A 26-year-old plant-based chef, author, and YouTuber modernising and recreating everyone’s favourite meat dishes. Gaz makes even makes the most devoted meat-eaters consider switching to a plant-based diet. From YouTube to the Hospitality industry, Gaz Oakly recently collaborated with Wagamamas, producing his own dishes called the Avante Gard’n and sticky vegan ribs. His creativity is endless and perfect for chefs looking for inspiration. It is safe to say that this young plant-based foodie is on the road to becoming one of the youngest and most recognised chefs in the industry.

There are plenty of Gaz’s delicious recipes up for grabs on his website:

Plant-Based Chef – Deliciously Ella – Ella Woodward

Ella started Deliciously Ella back in 2012 whilst she was at university. Deliciously Ella was initially intended to be a personal project for Ella. She taught herself to cook, photograph and document her meals on an online platform.  After seeing what she had created Ella’s family persuaded her to share it with their friends. After taking things online within a couple of years, the Ella community grew. Now with her own range of cookbooks, app, a range of items stocked in grocery stores as well as her own cafe in London the Deliciously Ella brand has become a tremendous success. Ella’s recipes are quick, easy and delicious, vegan, gluten-free, plant-based meals we guarantee will be a hit with your crew onboard or with those tricky to feed guests.

For tons of her delicious recipes, follow head over to her website,

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