To celebrate the launch of our new potato-inspired collection by Chus Bures, co-founder Ilana caught up with JP, the co-founder of the plant-based meal subscription service allplants, to chat potatoes, sustainability and so much more.
Could you tell us what allplants is all about?
We cook fantastic food all day every day at our HQ in London – Europe’s largest dedicated plant-based kitchen – on a mission to accelerate and lead the global movement to a more, and ultimately all, plant-based diet. I started cooking up the idea for allplants just over five years ago with the realisation that, if exciting plant-based dishes make it into more people’s lives, we will make a massive difference to our planet and our lives.
We hear you have a history with potatoes. Tell us more.
Farming runs in my family. My grandfather Nearchos left school aged 8 to become a shepherd, and by the time he was my age he was the largest farmer and supplier of mushrooms in the Mediterranean (growing white button, crimini, chestnut and many more). Nowadays many of my family in Cyprus are still involved in the food and agriculture business, and we’re proudly the biggest exporter of Cypriot Potatoes in Europe, which are categorically the most delicious potatoes in the world. No bias of course.
Why do you think the potato is so underrated?
I think they’ve become so ingrained in cuisines across the globe that we’ve maybe become complacent to them, and I’d even go as far as saying we’re guilty of taking them for granted. At first glance, there’s nothing fancy about them. In a world where cavolo nero and truffle oil are creeping up on every menu, the humble potato is often shoved aside as an afterthought.
And this is a huge missed opportunity in a world of flavour and innovation – there are countless things you can do with potatoes; they are essentially the underdog of the foodie world. You can go high end or high street. You can add them to a Michelin star menu or feed a family with a handful of them in half an hour.
Time for some maths. How many potatoes does allplants go through every year?
We actually have a calculator for things like this, and we rarely get to shout about it (can’t think why). Last year, we used a staggering 35 tonnes of potatoes, which is roughly 193,748 tasty potatoes. So yeah, you could say we’re potato-obsessed.
Skinny, triple cooked or curly fries?
That’s a little bit like asking who do I love more, my mum, my dad or my wife. So I’ll be diplomatic and say it depends on the mood or occasion. When you’re after something quick and dirty, nothing beats fries. But when you’re after something classic and British, you need chunky, fluffy triple-cooked chips. And when you want to feel 12 again, nothing cuts it quite like curly fries. So to answer your question, all of them.
From one important topic to another. You’re a B-Corp. What does this mean and how does it impact your business?
B-Corp values are at the heart of everything we do, from our mission to marketing, our product to our packaging.
We always have and always will put people and the planet alongside profit. And we’re lucky because every (amazing) person bringing allplants to life is a passionate visionary for the radically positive change we want to see in the world.
To qualify as a B-Corp, we had to show an explicit social or environmental mission. We had a legally binding responsibility to consider the interests of not only our people; the broader community and our shareholders but the environment too. To achieve our B-Corp certification, we agreed to pay an annual fee and complete a biannual ‘B Impact Report’ (a thorough audit measuring our social and environmental impact) to meet B-Lab’s comprehensive performance standards. So it’s something we’re held accountable for, during every decision we make every day. As a young start-up, this isn’t always without its challenges, but it’s always worth it.
When you support a B-Corp, you’re investing in a better future for our planet. It’s your vote for the world you want to see take shape. Governments and nonprofits are necessary, but they aren’t doing enough to solve today’s most pressing problems. Business is the most powerful force on the planet and we want to harness it to be a positive vehicle for change.
We love your 0% judgement campaign. Where did it come from?
We’ve always built allplants for those people curious about eating more plants and who fancy dipping their toes in this fantastic world of flavourful innovation. Our chefs major in bold and epic flavours that you didn’t think were possible without meat and cheese (hello Mac + Greens). And so we wanted to show the fun side of eating more plants – that doing so should be a fiesta, not a fast, and that it really is for everyone. We see a future where everyone is eating more plants, so being a little vegan (or ‘vegan…ish’ as we call it) is the perfect way to start having impact today.
We don’t judge. We just deliver 100% plant-based delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners and more, made by chefs and nutritionists. But the rest is up to you. And you’re always welcome at our table.
And finally, what’s your favourite potato recipe?
There are loads of delicious potato-based recipes on our blog to fall in love with. You can take a culinary adventure across the globe without leaving your kitchen with a few potatoes up your chef sleeves. From our Food Editor Val’s Polish Caramelised Onion & Potato Pierogi, to another of our team’s childhood favourite; Jamaican Sweet Potato and Black Bean Jamaican Curry. Potatoes should infiltrate menus everywhere.