Q & A with Gemma Smit of Vegeata


Vegeata – the food stand and catering company that has been on everyone’s lips; literally and figuratively. If you ask any group of vegans where you can find the best vegan cakes, doughnuts, nachos or even fried chicken, you will be answered with a resounding “Vegeata”. It’s not hard to see why, once you bite into the soft bao bun with crispy fried tofu, wilted rocket and a glorious kick of chilli or when presented with a doughnut so large, it takes a while to figure out how to devour it (pro tip, you’re going to need serviettes – a lot of them. And hand sanitizer, trust me). We chatted with the founder of this treasure trove, Gemma Smit, to find out all about our new favourite food.

Q & A with Gemma Smit of Vegeata

Contact info

Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Gemma Smit, I am the founder and owner of Vegeata. I have been a passionate vegan for 7 years and a passionate foodie for as long as I can remember. It was the marriage of these two large parts of my life that inspired me to create Vegeata.
How did you come up with Vegeata?
I always had a passion for making delicious food for friends and family, and after being vegan for 7 years and collecting dozens of recipe books and closely following international vegan cuisine pioneers, I felt like I had something special to contribute. I wanted to express my creativity with food and align it with my love for veganism, with the objective of serving and enriching my community. I also wanted to tangibly demonstrate and prove that vegan food could be far more delicious and satisfying than any meat or dairy dish and thus Vegeata was born.
What does Vegeata do, exactly?
We are a cutting edge vegan caterer and street food stall specializing in exciting and decadent vegan cuisine that has pop ups at markets and music festivals.

Food

Why vegan?
Food security, sustainability and environmental effect are some of the key buzzwords that World leaders are increasingly becoming aware of. Add to this the benefit of justice for the most vulnerable beings among us, the animals bred and slaughtered for consumption and at the same time the impoverished people abused by the animal agriculture industry. There are a plethora of reasons to become vegan, personally it was the most liberating and fulfilling experience and I just wanted to dedicate all that I had to assisting the movement and global community.
How do you develop your recipes?
I am constantly inspired by pioneers all over the world and our recipes are an assimilation of this melting pot of inspiration. Over the past 7 years I have put in thousands of hours of research to combine and breathe new life into the very best ideas to date.
What are some of your favourite things to cook?
Well, I absolutely love everything we create. From our gourmet filled doughnuts to our decadent cakes (with our cutting edge vegan buttercream) to our Peking basted expertly crafted seitan to our original recipe crispy organic tofu bao to our super-realistic Kentucky Fried Chickun to our BBQ Jackfruit burgers and mega-loaded nachos, not forgetting our home-style decadent lasagna. I am in love with all of it!
What are some of your favourite foods to eat?
Definitely cayenne pineapples or avocado rich salad with olive ciabatta.

Nachos

What are some of your favourite vegan food brands?
There are so many amazing vegan products in SA, I absolutely love the Linda McCartney quarter pound burger patty and Nature & Moi vegan cheese. The best vegan ice cream is from Tofutti, vegan marshmallows, Afrikoa semi-bitter chocolate, soya yoghurt from Woolworths and Herbi Vohr vegan biltong. And pizza, definitely pizza! What would life be without pizza? The best places to get them are from Conscious 108, Col’Cacchio, Andiccio 24 and Panarottis in Cresta.
What is Vegeata’s most popular dish?
This is a difficult one – going on our experience, I would have to say it’s our Mega Loaded Nachos, customers are always coming back for more!
Why do you think your clients love this so much?
Everything is made from scratch with so much love. We choose the best ingredients for our very special salsa, we make our own tortilla chips and it’s smothered in our special vegan sour cream, smokey chipotle aioli, creamy guacamole and topped with our BBQ Jackfruit and you can add smoked chipotle sauce and coriander.
Is there any reason why I haven’t been able to get that fried “chicken” I’ve heard so much about at the markets? And what replaces the chicken?
Oh dear, haha, I think you have not visited us on the right days, since we have such a large menu we like to switch it up and offer new exciting dishes. Recently it’s been our Crispy Organic Tofu Charcoal Bao – people are claiming it to be our best dish ever. Our very special Kentucky Fried Chickun is wheat protein based and we promise to have it at our next market for you!

Fried Chickun Pieces

You offer items like Christmas roasts and Chickun pieces on order, do you have any plans to make more of your food into pre-packaged meals?
As part of our growth strategy we have been in development to release an exciting frozen meal and vegan product range.
Are you currently working on any new recipes?
In order to continually delight our existing customers and attract new customers we are always working on new recipes. That is the beauty of this work, creativity and inspiration flow endlessly.
Tell us about the ingredients you use?
We have scoured and continue to scour South Africa for the highest quality ingredients so everything is 100% locally and sustainably sourced.

Bao Bun

Do you have any plans to open a restaurant?
Yes, I suppose that’s our ultimate goal. We have been and continue to gain very valuable experience and insights on the market and the business in order to help us become the best. All we can say if we have big plans for the future, so watch this space!
What is your secret to success?
Our secret to success is being utterly generous and sincere to our customers, we strive to always provide get what they pay for and more.
Any tips on going vegan?
Going vegan and cultivating reverence for life is one of the most beautiful experiences one can ever have. It is always the most rewarding when we do for others and living this way is like being in a constant state of reward, just make sure to eat enough as plant foods are naturally lower in calories. Check out Challenge 22 online, you get a vegan meal plan, recipes and a personal mentor for free to help you commence this wonderful lifestyle.
Any tips for the reader on how to make delicious vegan food?
Preparing food is a beautiful way to explore different cultures, from green paw-paw salads, Thai curries, mango with sticky rice to nachos and tacos. You can travel all over the world in tastes and experience the cuisines from different cultures right in your kitchen! Truly my dreams for travel have made me the chef I am. If you are still struggling, we hold cooking classes from time to time so make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Pastries

Find out more about Vegeata here.
Photo Credit : Gemma Smit
Spread the love
Report Inappropriate Post

Did you like this article? Then get more of the same from our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox for FREE!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from Food & Drink: