Laura Wright

Laura Wright is the creator of The First Mess, an award-winning blog about plant-based food.

Personal, insightful and beautifully presented, Laura's posts feature innovative, modern recipes alongside cleverly re-imagined classics.

I spoke to Laura about and health, happiness and, umm... cookies 'n' cream doughnuts.


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Q&A


WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?

I think food should taste of what it is; it helps to eat in season and treat things simply. I don't like to fuss over food too much and I don't like a jillion flavours in my mouth at once either. I also tend to prefer whole/non-processed foods, with a strong focus on fruit and vegetables. 

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START THE FIRST MESS?

A friend of mine encouraged me to do it. I had graduated from a nutritional culinary arts programme and had been working in restaurants for years. Every now and again she'd ask me about preparing a certain seasonal vegetable, and eventually I reasoned that this discussion could be valuable online.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR RECIPES?

Literally everywhere! The season is an obvious one, but colour combinations, decor, movies, music or travel excursions inspire my food style, too. I think pursuing other creative disciplines is really healthy and it helps to breathe new life into your work in unexpected ways.

© Laura Wright / The First Mess

© Laura Wright / The First Mess

TEN MUST-HAVE LARDER/FRIDGE ITEMS:

1) Some kind of non-dairy milk – either homemade almond or the
So Delicious brand of coconut milk.
2) Raw nuts and seeds – for toasting and topping salads,
nut and seed butters, creamy sauces, nut-based cheeses etc.
3) Fresh, seasonal produce.
4) Brown basmati rice and brown rice pasta – these form the
foundation of so many meals in my house.
5) Extra virgin olive oil – for salads, vegetables, just about everything.
6) Sprouted spelt flour – I use this as an all-purpose flour.
7) Wine! This one is very important.
8) Dark, dairy-free chocolate – all of my favourite desserts seem to have
chocolate in them and I always nibble a couple squares in the evening with my tea.
9) Good quality canned tomatoes – I like the fire-roasted ones the most.
I use these to make sauces, stews, braises etc.
10) Dry or canned legumes like chickpeas or lentils – easy and cheap protein that is so versatile.

YOUR FAVOURITE GO-TO, FAIL-SAFE JUICE OR SMOOTHIE:

1 peeled orange, a handful of berries, 1 scoop of vegan vanilla protein powder, 1 spoonful of chia seeds, a handful of frozen pineapple chunks, filtered water, a splash of almond milk or some coconut yogurt (if I have some).

I drink something like this almost every day.

THE BEST MEAL YOU EVER HAD:

My partner and I ate at Blue Hill in Manhattan once. That was a really good night. We had this side dish of fresh snap peas with lemon and a few other things I can't remember. But the peas were so fresh and prepared so perfectly – I dream about those peas.

FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN ONTARIO:

I love the Fresh restaurants in Toronto for healthy and delicious plant-based options. We have an amazing local vegan doughnut shop called Beechwood Doughnuts – I always get the Cookies 'n' Cream one when I'm there. I also love Terroni when we're in Toronto.

© Laura Wright / The First Mess

© Laura Wright / The First Mess

WHY IS GROWING YOUR OWN PRODUCE SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?

I like growing a small selection of produce every summer because it's an easy way to reconnect with the root of the food supply. I always try growing one new thing, just to see how it performs and to understand the level of care needed. It's relaxing and there's always little surprises and challenges. My favourite things to grow would be lacinato kale, lots of herbs, and a decent variety of tomatoes.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?

I try to get outside as much as possible, limit my hours spent in front of screens and do everything in my power to get restful sleep every night.

YOUR ONE WEAKNESS:

Salty, generally fried, snacks of all kinds. Chips, french fries etc. I'll never say no.


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