People Behind The Food: Nena Foster

We are very excited to announce a new member of the Veggie Option team, Nena Foster. Nena trained as a Natural Chef and has her fingers, as the saying goes, in ‘many (plant-based) pies’. She will be working with us to develop content and is working away at bringing you exciting Veggie Option events--stay tuned. So, to say ‘welcome’ and to launch our new ‘People Behind the Food’ feature on Veggie Option, where we’ll chat with people doing amazing things in plant-based food (chefs, producers, suppliers and other businesses), we thought we’d put her on the spot and make her answer a few questions.



Can you tell us a bit about your work and why plant-based ingredients are important to you/your work/food/way of cooking/products?

I work as a cookery & fermentation teacher, recipe tester, recipe developer, and consultant. I also work as an assistant food stylist, but am getting in more work as a lead stylist. I love sharing my passion for eating better--essentially putting plants and the heart of the plate! And now, I’ve joined Veggie Option as like most other veggies have suffered through one to many dissatisfying veggie menu options and desperately want to see the industry make dining out an enjoyable and inclusive experience for us plant-eaters.


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

From a nutritional standpoint, plants have an array of nutrients that our bodies need, and there is no other way to get them. But it’s not just important for your health, but the health of our planet. We all know, and research supports this, that we’d do mother nature a considerable amount of good if we ate more plants.


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

Tahini, olive oil and oats.


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 love Middle Eastern spices. So anything with those sorts of flavours. I will make both at home, but when dining out, I avoid both avocado and toast and risotto. I’ve had enough, thank you very much.


What is your go-to cafe/restaurant (other than your own) for an inspired veg-focused meal?

I have 2 small children, so eating out is usually quite local, but I have had some really amazing and inspiring meals at Raw Duck, Nopi and I love the food at the cafe in the Garden Museum, it may not be an obvious choice, but it’s definitely worth a visit.