Get To Know: Mimi
by Laura Barns
We caught up with our lovely Mimi, who is part of our Food Development Team, to find out a bit about how she became a vegan chef in London, the ins and outs of a day in the life at allplants, her favourite allplants dish and more.
What’s your role at allplants?
I’m a Development Kitchen Assistant, so I’m responsible for working on new dishes, as well as ensuring our existing dishes are perfect, as part of the wider development kitchen team. Day to day, I also oversee that any surplus food we create in the manufacturing process, is responsibly handled and redistributed wherever possible – whether that's to team lunches, donated to charity or used to create green energy with our waste provider. You can read more about that here.
Tell us about your cooking background
I’ve always been really interested in cooking; when I was younger my mum had a small catering business which I used to help out with. I grew up, tested out a few other careers (the last being in prop-making, pretty fun!) and then got a job in cake decorating. I worked for a German cake company called Konditor and after 3 years I was promoted to Kitchen Supervisor of their production kitchen. I learnt so much working in production, and loved working with cakes but knew my heart was in savoury.
What brought you to allplants?
I actually heard Joey and Alex talking on a podcast about allplants and I remember thinking something like “, this sounds like my ideal company!”. I applied, and the rest is history!
What does a typical day at allplants look like for you?
Iona (my work wife) and I work together in the development kitchen every day so when we get in we take it in terms to make the lunches for the first production shift lunch at 10.30am. Once that is done we’ll probably have a tasting of whatever we cooked the day before; we test our dishes around 7-10 times before we actually scale them up, tweaking and perfecting the recipe each time. Then I'll ‘map out’ the next iteration of the dish I'm currently making and start cooking that; today I was making charred aubergine bibimbap! My time is split between recipe development and managing food waste so on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I also have to make sure that the leftover food we donate to The Felix Project all goes out at the right time.
What do you most love working on?
I do really love the fine-tuning process of cooking dishes, tasting each time and figuring out if it needs to be a touch sweeter, spicier, zestier etc. I also get a lot out of being able to donate the food waste to charity, actually handing it over to The Felix Project is so gratifying.
What’s your favourite thing to cook?
Anything with chilli! I love all Asian food, could eat it any time of day; curry for breakfast, I’m in!
Least favourite food?
I’ve got such an irrational hate for peppers, which is ironic because i designed the Roasted Pepper Goulash ha!
Favourite restaurant in the UK?
This is tough, and definitely changes regularly... but at the moment it’s either Mao Chow (vegan Chinese, INSANE!!) in Hackney or Bravi Ragazzi (traditional Neapolitan pizza place in Streatham), they’ve been my favourite pizza place for the past 8 years I think.
What’s your favourite allplants dish and why?
Oooh well I absolutely love spice so I think it would have to be Spicy Szechuan Noodles, though, having said that, I’m working on a dish at the moment that might take the top spot once it’s released!
By Laura Barns
Laura is our Copywriter, who is obsessed with the Hearty Roots Stew (and has been known to eat a double serve for lunch on more than one occasion). On her day off you’ll find her walking her puppy Ralph, stopping off at bookshops and cocktail bars along the way.