WHEN vegetarian and development chef Eddie Shepherd went underground to launch his first venture little did he know it would bring him worldwide recognition.
Eddie’s cooking has brought a new twist to dining and reservations for his Manchester-based The Walled Gardens underground restaurant book up months in advance.
The Walled Gardens is run from a floor of Eddie’s home and gives up to 10 diners a night chance to savour dishes created by the self-taught food scientist.
A modern tasting menu is cooked by Eddie in his open kitchen with diners able to chat to the talented chef as he prepares and then serves his dishes.
And now Eddie, who has cooked around the world, will be bringing some of his mouth-watering dishes to this September’s Mold Food & Drink Festival.
Eddie, who was named chef of the future by The Vegetarian Society’s Cordon Vert cookery school, said: “By setting up my restaurant at home, I give diners a personal experience and can cook for them with freedom.
“It’s a personal, modern and authentic experience and by cooking and serving diners directly, I am totally focussed on them. Vegetarian and vegan recipes are very different from how they were in the 70s and 80s when everything was brown and boring.
“I wanted food to be more colourful and interesting and exciting in its own right, and people are now much savvier about food and interested in cooking. They see things like dehydrators on MasterChef and want to understand those techniques. By cooking for small numbers of people in an intimate setting, I can completely focus on providing the best food experience I can.”
Eddie’s skills have seen him in high demand, and he has trained chefs in Mexico and Cyprus, where he helped the Four Seasons hotel group develop a vegetarian and vegan menu.
Visitors to this year’s Mold Food & Drink Festival will be treated to a masterclass in vegetarian cookery with Eddie, who became a vegetarian at University where he studied philosophy, sharing top tips on how people can create his visually appealing dishes in their own homes.
Gwenan Roberts, Mold Food & Drink Festival’s co-chairperson, said the popular rise of vegetarian and vegan cooking meant Eddie was a perfect fit for the festival.
“There is something ‘full circle’ about Eddie’s cooking for our visitors this year. His restaurant is based at home, and he’ll be encouraging visitors to think about how they can create inspiring dishes themselves when they return to their own homes after the festival. Vegetarian and vegan recipes are more popular than ever before, and people want to understand how a plant-based diet could work for them. Eddie’s creations are not just stunning to look at but equally stunning to taste, and he will bring a different dimension to this year’s festival,” added Gwenan.
Mold Food & Drink Festival will be held on Saturday September 21 and Sunday September 22 with Eddie cooking on the Saturday.