People Behind The Food: Paul Newnham

Last weekend, we posted about the Chef's Manifesto and today we’re featuring Paul Newnham, Director of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub a key catalyst in facilitating change in the way both chefs and governments talk and think about food. We asked Paul to tell us a bit about his work and why eating more plants is part of the sustainable food solution. And he shares detail some of his favourite places to eat plant-based.



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

My work as the Director of the Sustainable Development Goals 2 Advocacy Hub transcends the food, nutrition and agriculture spaces to help drive action on the Sustainable Development Goals.  This means I see cutting-edge research on how our production and consumption of food is seriously affecting the health of people and planet. Our current food system is driving poor nutrition and climate change. Plant-based diets are repeatedly recognised as a solution that can improve people’s health and protect our planet.


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

Traditionally, plant-based diets were the norm in numerous cultures around the world and for a good reason—plants and legumes give us good nutrients and balance.  As the global population has increased and food production has tried to match this growth, we have seen a global shift towards meat heavy diets that drive the changes we see in our planet today—from soil degradation to gas emissions.  We need to re-think the way we eat and consume, shifting diets to include and celebrate plants, legumes, nuts and seeds—food that tastes good and does good.


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

Rocket, rosemary and mushrooms.


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?

I am very eclectic, I love many different combinations.  At our Chefs Manifesto London Action Hub in Omved Garden, Chef Tom Hunt cooked two dishes that blew my mind-- his soda bread using whole grain flour cooked on charcoal stove; and a beetroot salad that used the whole beetroot including the leaves. These dishes were phenomenal and really engaged the senses with various textures and flavours combined.  


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

I have 3: Farmacy, Treadwell’s, and Vanilla Black.