Alice in Vvonderland !
The paradise of vegan wonders in Lisbon is called The Food Temple. It is not only a restaurant – it is a travel into the senses – it is a lifestyle and over all a community!
I had the chance to go backstage to document just for you the beautiful ambiance around Alice´s kitchen and her great team.
She has generously offered the recipe of her incredible Red berry and chocolate raw cheesecake to this article!
Daily Menu: no animals on our plates please !
When I had the idea to write this little article about Alice and The Food Temple I asked her some questions.
I have to say that she wrote such sincere and touching words why she became vegan, that I prefer not to modify anything about it and just publish it entirely. It reflects so well the whole process of becoming vegan- step by step.
Personally I find myself totally emerged into it at the moment and I can just encourage everyone to give it a try. Reducing or even to abandon the meat consumption brings so beautiful side effects – you will see.
Thank you Alice for this nice statement !
“….When I started cooking professionally I the farthest thing from vegan. And my training and education was also far from it. So I really went on a journey to get to this point. I think there are several different entry points that one can take into embracing this lifestyle, and mine started with environmental reasons. I was living in Australia at the time and it is a country that has suffered with drought for many years. When I started to read the statistics on the water consumption that goes into producing meat, I began thinking to myself, hey, I love this stuff but I really don’t have to have it EVERY day, at EVERY meal. It wasn’t a stretch at all for me to cut down. Besides that, I also really loved vegetables, and had often cooked for vegetarian and vegan friends, so there wasn’t a particular glorification for meat over veggies, I just liked it all… But within a couple of years I began to understand more and more how it affected my health, as well. I started reading more, learning more, and as I observed my own eating habits and followed the way my body responded, it just naturally happened that I started eating in a plant based way more and more… Meat and fish were maybe once a month. Cheese and eggs pretty much never. By the time I went in all the way, I was eating vegan about 90% of the time anyway so it wasn’t a scary leap at all. In the end what happened was that I reached this point where after opening my eyes to everything- starting with the environment, and then my health and the health of those around me, and learning more and more what happens to animals… I could no longer live in the disconnect from all of these things. I could no longer see why it ever made sense to eat these things to begin with, and literally EVERYTHING made sense about going vegan. And another important thing that I think a lot of people don’t talk about was the fact that I was emotionally ready to make this conscious shift in my life. Looking back, I see that it really wouldn’t have happened a year before, or 5 years before, even if I had learned about all of the reasons why it makes sense. I needed to be clear on who I was and what my impact on the world was to know that I could make this choice with my heart and body and mind, and know that it would be the right choice for me. I still choose this, every day when I wake up, and it still feels just as good and makes just as much sense as it did when I chose this the first time 🙂 Now when I cook- well my process isn’t so different as when I made meat. I still take whatever ingredients I can get my hands on, and I play. With textures, colours, flavours, memories, tilting the balance in a different way each time, just to get the point of creating something that hopefully will be a wonderful experience to eat, and to share. If food has been prepared and it doesn’t get to nurture people and give them an enjoyable experience, then for me it has completely missed the point. For me personally, what is so much better about my experience of being a chef these days is that when I make something for myself or for others, it’s not just about how great I can make it taste anymore. It’s so much more than that, so much deeper. It’s a part of a bigger movement, and one that promotes compassion, peace, and a shared understanding of how we can contribute in a positive way towards our bodies, our world, animals, and each other just by choosing what we have on our plates. I just have the opportunity to make it delicious at the same time, and hopefully even bring good people together over a meal too. What an honour! It is such a rich experience now, and one that I am so grateful for; I just can’t think of anything bad about that! This is by far one of the most inspiring things about being in my kitchen and cooking for people. There are not many things that bring quite the same pleasure and inspiration for me in my life so this is something I fully embrace as a part of my life :)”
Let´s just imagine a world full of compassion, sharing and peace. It´s a beautiful dream ! Isn´t it?
Believe it or not – it was through a tarot consultation that Alice, as a Canadian, ended up here in Lisbon, to open her own vegan restaurant! Tarot opened up a path for her to start looking at Portugal in a way that she could consider it a place she might want to be, and as it happened, the more she did research on this country, the more that she saw how it matched up against her own list of requirements for the next country that she would live in.
Lucky we are!
Like every day Alice just came back from the market with beautiful fresh vegetables – ready to get transformed into a daily reinvented “Wondermenu”;-)
Alice explaining Barbara how to prepare the brussels sprouts…
The three tapas of tonight will be:
A chinese stew of lotus roots and mushrooms in a black bean, ginger and sichuan pepper sauce over jasmine rice !
Carlos in action to get ready the sweet potato swirl- purée;-)
A sweet potato swirl- purée of purple and yellow sweet potatoes spiced with cinnamon, with a crunchy topping of walnuts, dried figs, sunflower and pumpkin seeds coated in a port wine reduction.
A black-eyed pea salad with jalapeños, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, artichokes, garlic stalks and it was tossed in a sweet miso mayo with a sunflower sprouts topping !
And as dessert a red berry and chocolate raw cheesecake.
Here we are with a loose recipe for your inspiration which can easily be adjusted to your taste:
The base is made from blended almonds, dates and cocoa powder. The top is made from about half a kilo of raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained, and blended in a food processor with mixed red berries (about 1 cup), a splash of coconut milk and oil, and agave syrup, sweetened to taste. Topped with toasted almond flakes!
It just requires a couple of hours in the freezer to set 🙂
And then look at this!
Mmmmmhhh – Don´t ever waste anything !;-)
Meanwhile Alice is baking for us her super famous Bananacake…
“Why, sometimes I´ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll
The Food Temple
Beco Jasmim 18
1100-289 Lisboa, Portugal
P: + 351 21 887 4397
to be continued….
Thanks to Alice and her kind team for supporting me during the shooting;-)
One of the song which keeps The Food Temple into the groove: