Meet Novel Being, Lauren Lovatt of Plant Hub & Academy

Lauren is a plant-based Chef and Entrepreneur. She is one of the founders of the Plant Hub & Academy in London and the woman behind Feed Your Mind Candy, a project dedicated to delicious food specifically designed to feed your mind.

Feed your Mind Candy is an experiential enterprise expressing and inspiring better mental health through food supported by the Princes Trust. Lauren created the concept as a way of connecting people with the power of not only ingredients but making and enjoying food together as a way to improve knowledge about power of food for our Mental health. Feed 

She has openly shared her journey with mental health issues over the years which led her to discover this burning passion for inspiring others through food. Early on in her career, Lauren set up an aspirational vegan restaurant, Aasparagasm, which led her to host plant-based pop-up nights.  She has a wealth of experience developing recipes, writing menus and creating events.

Subsequently, Lauren went on to lead the PlantLab Barcelona academy where she fell in love with teaching, sharing and inspiring a knowledge for plant-based food. With a keen eye for plating and a passion for the most vibrant, seasonal ingredients. Her style is all about using natural ingredients – elevated.

Most recently, Lauren has set up her own ‘Plant Academy’ in East London – with the aim of inspiring a passion through plants. Her vision is to create a space accessible to all, with a food lab, test kitchen and learning space. The Plant Academy collaborates with entrepreneurs and visionaries to share forward-thinking classes and experiences. Continually moving towards an even more sustainable, creative and delicious future of food.

We love how you use your passion for plants to make vegan food accessible to all and showcasing how easy (and delicious!) plant-based food is. What made you want to take this Novel Approach?

When I decided to embark upon a career in food, one of my first opportunities was to be involved in opening ‘Asparagasm’ a vegan and gluten-free restaurant in the Cotswolds. I had followed Asapragasm’s event s for a long time admiring the theatre and glitter around this aspirational dining experiences they put on in London.

The beauty of this concept was sharing food that was vegan, gluten-free and accessible to all, with added sparkle. This was the very start of my career and ever since I’ve been passionate about creating dishes that inspire others to think differently about plants.

Feed Your Mind Candy is all about inspiring better mental health through food experiences. How did you first discover the connection between what we eat and our mental wellbeing?

When I was at art school, I fell madly in love with a gorgeous guy who early on in our relationship was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Together we struggled with this diagnosis, learning about medicine, symptoms and the detrimental effects it could have. We were living a very rock and roll lifestyle and never considered the impact lifestyle was having on us both.

Later down the line, he was pursuing his dreams of photography and London. While shining on the outside, the darkness was consuming him and very suddenly one day he took his life. My world was turned upside down, and from that moment, I went on my own journey with mental illness. For many years I did not want to exist. Long story short, one day, with very good support around me, something clicked, and I wanted to get better. I decided to learn for myself how to renourish my mind…and that nourishment led me to rediscover my passion for food.

I learnt first hand the impact of good food and have seen and felt the effects of malnourishment on so many levels. This rediscovery of my passion not only literally fed my body but the act of cooking nourished my soul on a deeper level. This moment a new idea was sparked for something that could rebrand mental health with a trend toward wellbeing.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Abraham Lincoln
You joined forces with David Bez and Antonio Alderuccio to launch groundbreaking Plant Hub + Academy. What role do you think collaboration plays in working towards a more sustainable future?

Collaboration is everything. At Plant Hub, our ethos is to ‘inspire passion through plants’ whether that is supporting up and coming chefs to host their own events, share innovative ideas through the academy and champion brands doing great things. I’m a firm believer that we are stronger together and love to make connections between people in the industry doing fantastic things. Accepting we can’t do everything and creating a strong team is magic.

With Plant Hub you’re offering people a social place to eat, share, learn and inspire. What are your hopes for Plant Hub?

With this first year being focussed on getting set up, we’ve learnt to do much. The Plant Hub restaurant has realised we thrive in the evening and for weekend brunch and from the Academy we are leaning more toward focussing on our 5 & 10 day Plant 123 classes. This is especially exciting as we are the Only plant-based school in the world, offering these programs teaching students not just to cook but express their essence through food and understand deeply the impact they can have.

We learnt so much this summer taking Plant Academy to festivals including Fearn cotton’s happy place, PX+ and Shambala. This is something we will be pursuing in a big way next year. Festivals are such an exciting place to make connections. I hope with the Academy we can curate plant-based experiences that inspire passion through plants in mesmerising and unique ways.

We have many more plans to collaborate and travel and we will be exploring merging our nomadic festival concept with the life-enhancing classes to bring about holistic food retreats with a twist. Watch this space!

We live in uncertain, confusing and bizarre times. What have you experienced or witnessed that gives you hope for a brighter, more sustainable future?

Each day I am so hopefully when I see the passion shine through our students and teachers. There are so many out there doing great things, realising the impact we all have and taking action to make a change. The XR protests demonstrate this real drive to stand for what is right is, and it’s a huge deal, and the way the world is getting behind it shows a glimmer of hope.

There’s a growing sentiment towards being more sustainable in all aspects of life, not least in food. How do you see us enjoying food while being mindful of the planet in the future?

At the Plant Academy, we champion resilience foods, local produce and innovative growers. We constantly ask questions about the choices we make and the impact of what we put on a plate.
To make a long-lasting change, we need to be radical, refusing plastics, trying to buy what is in season from local growers and eliminating the waste we produce. It’s not easy, but if we act now, we can make a difference.

There’s a growing sentiment towards being more sustainable in all aspects of life, not least in food. How do you see us enjoying food while being mindful of the planet in the future?

At the Plant Academy, we champion resilience foods, local produce and innovative growers. We constantly ask questions about the choices we make and the impact of what we put on a plate.
To make a long-lasting change, we need to be radical, refusing plastics, trying to buy what is in season from local growers and eliminating the waste we produce. It’s not easy, but if we act now, we can make a difference.

Are you working on any other projects or initiatives that you would like to share with our community of Novel Beings? Or do you know of any events or actions that are worth spreading the word about?

Currently, I’m really excited to be working on a new yoga and wellness hotel opening in Paris. HOY will be opening this winter and it’s been incredible to dream up a new concept in the realms of wellness travel that can hopefully bring a new air of sustainability to the space.

Through the coming months we’ll be bringing new mind focussed classes to the plant academy such as chocolate meditation, mind food and breath and breakfast workshops to the space.

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