The Benefits of Learning to Cook with Plants
The recent rise in popularity for plant-based cuisine has caused a high demand for more options free from animal products in supermarkets, restaurants and just about anywhere selling or serving food.
As more people opt to cut out or reduce their meat intake for health, ethical or environmental reasons, the range of convenience products on the market has gone through the roof. Although it is great to see major retailers and restaurant chains embracing the demand for more plant-based options, the result is not necessarily the best for those who are looking to improve their health through eating fewer animal products.
One of the reasons embracing a plant-based diet either wholly or part time can be beneficial to one’s wellbeing is the consumption of more whole foods, incorporating more plant protein such as beans and pulses, and generally consuming more vegetables and fruits. However, the quick and easy options that probably appeal to most consumers, particularly those converting from a meat heavy diet, are those that masquerade as meat.
Although this is a more approachable way to introduce more plant-based meals into one’s diet, it is not necessarily the most nutritious. Some of the meat alternatives fall into the category of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), meaning they are often high in salt, saturated fat and sugar whilst lacking in fibre and the vitamins and minerals found in unprocessed foods, including meat, and minimally processed plant-based foods. UPFs can also be identified by long lists of ingredients, additives you wouldn’t include when cooking at home and most likely won’t recognise the names of, such as certain chemicals, colourings, sweeteners and preservatives.
Of course, no one expects us to avoid processed or ultra-processed foods entirely. However, if you’re following a plant-based diet or reducing your intake of meat and animal products, particularly if for health reasons, cooking with plants is an essential skill to hone.
At Le Cordon Bleu London, we offer a range of courses that teach you classic culinary techniques and modern skills to prepare incredible plant-based dishes. From three-month programmes to one day classes, you can learn everything you need to know about cooking exclusively using plants.
Foremost is our Diploma in Plant-Based Culinary Arts, which focuses on crafting excellent dishes solely from plants and providing a creative repertoire of product knowledge, skills and recipes. The programme explores a wide range of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, grains and pulses, providing expert knowledge on ingredient varieties and innovative culinary uses.
If you’re looking for something more short term, below is a complete list of the plant-based courses currently available at Le Cordon Bleu London.