Kat Gray

June 2015

Interview by Natalie Tabone

Photos by Chris Arneil 


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“I love eating a plant-based diet and laugh at how intimidating I once found it.”

Name?

Kat

Where do you live?

Brunswick, Melbourne.

What do you do?

I’m a sales coordinator at a fashion wholesaler.

What does veganism mean to you?

I really had to consider this question! Despite being vegan for several years now, and it being a significant part of my life, I don’t really spend that much time thinking about what it actually means to me. My concept of veganism has evolved over the past few years and is now not something I really ever consider. Its place in my life has become so innate that it’s difficult to succinctly articulate what it represents.

“Food is a huge part of my life. It’s a beautiful thing to share with people and a wonderful way to show your love for others.”

When I first became vegan, it was really about challenging myself and trying something I’d always been intimidated by. It was a lifestyle I had been moving towards for a few years but had never felt ready to really commit to – I think I thought it was too hard or too extreme. I thought I’d try going vegan for a bit to see if I could and to see what it was like. That was a few years ago now and I’ve never looked back. I love eating a plant-based diet and laugh at how intimidating I once found it.

Now, veganism to me is really about the food. Food is a huge part of my life. It’s a beautiful thing to share with people and a wonderful way to show your love for others. It’s so common to go out for dinner to celebrate a success, or catch up over lunch with old friends. You invite a friend over for dinner if they’re having a hard time and you cook your boyfriend a special meal for his birthday. You show your love with food and you share your favourite meals and recipes with the people in your life. To me, vegan food is something to share with old friends, new friends, family and anyone interested! I appreciate so much when a non-vegan friend makes the effort to cook me something special, or really enjoys something I’ve cooked them, or has questions about my diet or lifestyle, or just wants a good recipe for a vegetable based dish. The longer I’ve been vegan the less conscious my diet has become and the more my focus has shifted to connecting with others and using food as a tool to do that.

What is your most memorable dining/eating experience?

I have so many great food memories! I live in Brunswick, Melbourne so I’m absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to good vegan food and dining out.

Two recent memorable dining experiences happened right in my own neighbourhood. Rumi, a fantastic Middle Eastern restaurant on Lygon Street, Brunswick East did a Vegan Feast last year. It was amazing. I’ve been back to Rumi several times since and had some of the same dishes, even though they’re not really on the menu. They’re really great at altering dishes to make them vegan friendly. Also on Lygon Street is East Elevation, which is literally around the corner from where I live. They did a Vegan Degustation last year, which was incredible. It’s so refreshing to experience fancy vegan food! East Elevation is always good for vegan food. Recently, I had a vegan chocolate whoopee with coconut raspberry cream filling and it was to die for.

Forkin’ Vegan’s very own Around The World party last year was so much fun. Everyone brought a vegan dish to share and it was a wonderful mix of cuisines and courses. Everyone was so proud of their dish and wanted to share it with everyone. It was a perfect example of using food to connect with new friends.

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If you could invite 3 people (historical or current) to dinner who would they be?

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Amy Shumer. Comedy nerd heaven.

What would you serve?

Wine. I’d get my boyfriend to cook. I’m sure they’d appreciate my attempt to subvert the patriarchy.

Sweet or savoury?

Savoury. I love me a bit of umami.

Where is your favourite food destination?

Melbourne. I love living in this city and am always finding new places to dine. It seems there’s always a new café or restaurant opening up. I truly feel spoiled for choice sometimes.

“A warm bowl of soup on a cold winter’s night is like a hug from the inside.”

What’s your speciality dish?

I don’t really have a speciality. I cook a lot of burgers. I also throw together many different ingredients and call it “stew”. My secret ingredient for any dish is extra vegetables.

What food best describes your personality?

I feel like I’m a condiment, like guacamole or mayonnaise. Like, your meal is still pretty good without it and you don’t really need it, but you’re always super happy when it shows up and its addition makes everything so much better and more awesome.

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What’s your favourite thing to eat on a hot summer’s day?

Salad. You do win friends with salad.

Cold winter’s night?

Soup! I love soup – it’s fool proof. A warm bowl of soup on a cold winter’s night is like a hug from the inside.

If you were a vegetable what would you be?

A pumpkin because they’re super versatile, perfect on their own and almost impossible to mess up. Or maybe a Brussels sprout because they’re not everybody’s cup of tea but when they’re cooked correctly, they’re hard to beat.

“What’s not to love about alcoholic hot chocolate milk? Nothing. That’s what.”

Describe a normal day in the life of Kat.

On a good day I wake up before my alarm goes off (one of life’s purest pleasures is waking up before your alarm goes off). I go to yoga, followed by brunch with friends. My favourite brunch places in Brunswick are East Elevation on Lygon St, Ray’s Café on Victoria St, and Stand and Deliver, also on Victoria St. Later in the day I’d go for a nice walk or run, do some housework, cook some yummy food and watch a movie with my boyfriend while drinking red wine.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Putting vodka in my hot chocolates. What’s not to love about alcoholic hot chocolate milk? Nothing. That’s what.

What did you have for breakfast?

I have the same breakfast almost daily: homemade muesli with rice milk and soy flat white. Even when I go out for breakfast I tend to order the same food – porridge or bircher muesli of some kind. I just really love oats – they’re like the king of grains.

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You’re on death row and it’s your last meal. What do you eat?

I would eat a porcini tofu burger with bacon eggplant, cashew cheese and pickles. I would have about 3 – it’s death row so I don’t need to worry about calories.

What are your plans for 2015?

So far I’ve had a pretty ace 2015. I spent a few weeks in Thailand, met some elephants, got a great new job, did some yoga and am eagerly preparing for the arrival of my puppy. So my plans for 2015 are to continue having a good year. I also plan to perfect the plough pose. My goals are simple.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Nope.

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