People Behind The Food: Loui Blake

This week we’re featuring Loui Blake, Managing Director of the UK's largest plant-based restaurant, Erpingham House and the new central London eatery, Kalifornia Kitchen. Loui also works as consultant for plant-based businesses and public speaker/writer on the topic of plant-based business and he is passionate about promoting veganism as a viable solution for many of the world's biggest problems as well as helping people understand the roles of consumers and entrepreneurs in creating a more sustainable plant-based future. We had a chat with Loui about his ethos, his restaurants and some of his favourite foods. Read on for more…



Can you tell us a bit about your work and why plant-based ingredients are important to you and your work?

I own & manage the brands of 2 plant-based restaurants; Erpingham house in Norwich, and Kalifornia kitchen in London. both restaurants are 100% plant-based, so such ingredients are integral to what we do. Our ethos is based on demonstrating the huge plethora of opportunities that cooking with plants presents, whilst making plant-based food desirable, accessible & delicious! We are committed to pushing the envelope as to what is possible, to show that cooking with just plants is not restrictive at all, but instead is the future of food & the most sustainable way to feed the planet.


Why do you think it is important that we, as a society, change our eating habits to include more plants?

In 2050 it's suggested we’ll have almost 10 billion people to feed, which will require a new way of thinking about food & certainly a change in diet. If we continue on the path of the modern western diet, which requires such a strain on the planet’s resources, it’s likely we will cause irreversible damage. Not to mention, the impact on the health of our society, which in turn puts a huge strain on medical resources & the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. I think it’s incredibly important that we champion the positive impact a plant-based diet can have & encourage more people to consume plant-based foods in place of animal-based, heavily processed foods.


What 3 plant-based ingredients can you not live without?

I love spinach! The first ingredient in my smoothie in the mornings. I also snack on blueberries a lot. My go to vegetable for meals has to be mushrooms though. I eat mushrooms with pretty much anything, although i don’t pretend to be the best cook in the world. King oysters are the best!


What is your all-time favourite plant-based dish to cook or eat (in or out)? And what types of dishes do you avoid, if any?

In Kalifornia Kitchen, I love our blackened tempeh caesar salad. It’s light, but heavily nutrient dense. At Erpingham House, our homemade burger is local legend. The garlic mayo in that is unrivalled, in my very non-biased opinion.


What is your go-to cafe/restaurant for an inspired veg-focused meal?

My favourite restaurant in the world is Crossroads in LA. The very best food that i have had is cooked there, and it’s one of the spots that inspired my own Kalifornia Kitchen. I'm also a big fan of Flax & Kale in Barcelona.