Shaun Kent, Head Chef at The White Lodge in Attleborough, and his Partner, have voluntarily ‘gone veggie’ for a month so he can improve the pub’s offering to diners with special dietary requirements.
Shaun’s interest in vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine began in his prior post, after he found himself cooking for a regular customer who asked for vegan dishes. Shaun has been at The White Lodge since it reopened under new Owners Victoria and Grahame MacDonald last August, and wants to use his experience to liven up the veggie/gluten-free provision on their menu.
Shaun has also taken a course with Coeliac UK, a step which he hopes will eventually lead to The White Lodge attaining Coeliac UK gluten-free accreditation.
“The choice for vegetarians is usually limited and bland. I want to make it more appealing – more palatable”, explains Shaun. “I think that if I try being vegetarian myself, it will help provide an insight into the challenges faced by people who have specific dietary requirements but still love food.
We want to offer a wider choice of options to vegetarians and those looking for gluten-free dishes, but still stick to the sort of dishes you’d find on a good pub menu”.
Shaun is a big fan of ‘classic British’ dishes such as pies and puddings. You’ll often find a Suet Pudding on the menu (Shaun says he prefers using vegetarian suet) and the savoury Bead & Butter Pudding is very popular.
So far, Shaun says his personal veggie journey found him using more spices than before, and exploring the use of different styles of grains (for example, cornmeal), as well as stir fries and tapas dishes.
Shaun plans to always include at least two good Veggie dishes on the menu at The White Lodge, as well as dishes on the Specials Boards, and he will change the offering more frequently.
Feedback on Shaun’s veggie dishes is already suggesting The White Lodge may become a destination for discerning, food-loving vegetarians who have non-veggie family and friends, with one customer commenting that the “The White Lodge is quite honestly (the) best place for an Xmas veggie meal I have ever have been.”
And meat-lovers need not despair – Shaun says he loves to cook with meat, especially the unusual cuts that ‘require hours of cooking’.
Discover more about the food at The White Lodge.