Melanie Boudens: Zen Chef of the Month

We are proud and honoured to introduce Chef Melanie Boudens to the Zengarry Kitchen as our first-ever Zen Chef of the Month! Through this monthly series, we look forward to celebrating chefs and foodies in the vegan food space.

As a vegan business owner (Grow Your Roots Foods), recipe developer and long time friend, Chef Melanie has been a great inspiration to us over the years. She is best known for veganizing the "classics", and creating vegan food that everybody can get behind!


Here are 5 burning questions that we recently asked her:


1. What inspires you most when cooking?

I’m always inspired by cooking meals that are ‘home-y’ and comforting so veganizing those original dishes we all love is super fun and rewarding for me!


2. What is your number one piece of advice for someone seeking to practice a more plant-forward style of eating?

Don’t feel the need to start with perfection! It’s about doing the best we can, at that time in our lives. Start with small changes that you enjoy and learn from. This is what will inspire you to keep going and make more changes down the road!


3. You share so many drool-worthy recipes on your blog. Which one is your family’s favourite?

That’s hard to choose!! The Mediterranean Tofu and the Peaches & Cream Crisp are definitely family favourites. The Banana Bread and Homemade Granola are also on regular rotation around mine and my husband’s home!


4. If you could cook and enjoy a meal with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I would love to cook a comforting meal for my grandma who passed away many years ago. She wouldn’t have known anything about veganism and was the typical meat and potatoes person of that generation. I’d really love to show her what I’ve learned and spend an evening enjoying food and catching up with her.



5. What can we look forward to from @melanieboudens and/or @growyourrootsfoods?

More and more recipes on both ends! With my personal blog, I’m just looking forward to growing into sharing more with everyone on a regular basis about all things veganism, and eventually about motherhood as a vegan. We have a baby girl on the way!

With Grow Your Roots Foods, as a new growing company we are looking forward to launching some new exciting products very, very soon and improving different aspects of the company as we are able to!


6. We ask all of our Zen Chefs this - What is your favourite vegan restaurant and/or dish that you’ve ever ordered?

I would say my all time favourite restaurant is Fresh in Toronto. Their quinoa rings suck me in every time, as do their juices!

My favourite meal is an all-time classic veganised Shepherds Pie- secret ingredient is homemade Chili sauce! And I never tire of a Kale Caesar Salad- another must-try recipe on my blog!

As our Zen Chef of the Month, Melanie recently created this delicious Butternut Squash Cannelloni with Miso Cream Sauce using our Sundried Tomato and Basil dairy-free cashew cheese. Be sure to give this cozy vegan recipe a try during the upcoming fall season!