Cherie Tu @thrivingonplants is one of our all-time fave foodies and we’re proudly featuring this nacho queen on our yoghurt lids as part of our current e-book campaign. In this chat we found out her ultimate plant-based dinner guest, what a wine and Twisties day looks like for her and learnt about the baking fails that got her to where she is today. Like most successful people, she has learned to embrace those failures as a reason for her success. So, if you are busy failing today, don’t worry your pretty little heads. It’s actually all part of succeeding so have fun. Bonus points for sharing your baking fails with us at #cocobellarecipe
Do you ever have a day where all you eat is Twisties and wine or something? Or if you do eat food that is not healthy what would it be?
For sure! I think often people assume I eat healthy foods all the time, but that is totally not the case. I’m a big believer in eating a balanced diet and never restricting myself, especially when it comes to enjoying all of the comfort foods that I love. I’m actually a huge sucker for any type of instant noodles, but especially Asian ones. To be fair, I always add in an extra handful of greens or other veggies into the pot to balance it out anyway. I actually don’t snack very much so often when I have any “unhealthier” foods it’s in the form of a quick convenient style meal that I make at home or takeout that I get from a restaurant.
Can you share a major recipe or food fail you have had with us?
The first thing that comes to mind are some of my past baking experiences. I wasn’t always good at baking, in fact, when I first started, I had some terrible fails with batches of muffins, cakes and other sweets that literally tasted inedible! Just imagine a bunch of tasteless, gummy and strange-tasting baked goods. It was even more challenging for me because I wanted to try and perfect recipes that were gluten-free, refined sugar-free and oil-free to make healthier versions of desserts, hence the multiple fails. Despite this, I can honestly say that without these food fails I wouldn’t have been able to improve my skills in the kitchen. I’m a lot more confident and experienced now and can always whip up baked goods from scratch without a recipe.
Who is inspiring you lately in the plant-based foodie world?
Speaking of sweets, I’ve been in awe of Mei Yee’s (@nm_meiyee) dessert creations on Instagram. They are literally perfect in every way and I love keeping up with all of her posts as she makes a huge range of both baked and no-bake desserts that are simply stunning. Would highly recommend you check out her page!
Feel free to tell us about your latest cookbook
My first ever published cookbook ‘Thriving on Plants’ launched last year in September and I can honestly say that till this day it has probably been my proudest achievement! The cookbook includes over 75 of my favourite vegan recipes including a chapter with basics (granola, jams, sauces), breakfasts, mains and of course epic desserts. Now that it has been out for almost a year, I can say that the top 5 most popular recipes in the cookbook seem to be the Shepherdless Pie, Garlic Sesame Eggplant, Chinese Green Beans with Tofu Mince, Fluffy Vegan Pancakes and the Lasagne! Because the first one did so well I’ve teamed up with my publishers to create Thriving on Plants Volume 2 which is actually set to launch at the end of this year so stay tuned for that!
We know you love to travel but with that being uncertain at the moment, how are you finding other ways to stay inspired?
I have come to appreciate and enjoy a whole range of activities that can be done at home. Something that I’ve recently picked up in the past 6 months is gardening and I am absolutely obsessed with it! I’ve grown several types of herbs such as rosemary, mint, thyme and basil and most recently I harvested 5 heads of broccoli from my garden! Along with my outdoor gardening I have also continued to grow my collection of indoor plants, with my monstera adansonii and devils ivy being my two favourites. Aside from gardening, since my job involves working with food, the learning process is never ending so I’m still doing a tonne of food experimenting. I’m constantly trying to improve my cooking skills along with the other aspects of my job which involve photography, food styling and editing which has been really fun and rewarding. At the end of the day it’s up to you to find something that you can enjoy doing in your home. I’d actually love to learn how to sew and hopefully purchase a sewing machine some time down the track too.
If you could cook a plant-based feast for anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you make?
I’d absolutely love to cook up a feast for @lewishamilton (British Formula One driver/social activist). We actually got in touch a couple of years ago when he first made the switch to a plant-based diet and I was so shocked yet flattered to have him compliment all of my creations. Of course, I’ve been keeping up with his content and life ever since and he truly has been a great advocate for a plant-based diet. In general, I also admire and respect his on-going positivity and passion in everything he does. No doubt I would definitely love to cook up a storm for him some day!