Is my kitchen up to it? | Viva! - The Vegan Charity

Is my kitchen up to it?


Businesses sometimes worry that it is complicated and/or expensive to cater for vegans or veggies. Not so! A few simple tweaks and a little staff training is all you need.

General tips on catering for vegans




  1. Training. Ensure that all staff understand both the concept of veganism as well as what vegans do and don't eat. This includes front of house as well as the kitchen team. Educating staff about vegan needs and beliefs engenders sensitivity and empathy - they are more likely to care for and help such customers, rather than see them as a problem! It also reduces the risk of unsuitable foods being offered to vegans.  

  2. Chopping boards. Use brown boards for fresh vegetables; green boards for salad, fruit and other plant-based foods such as tofu, vegan sausages. For bread, use a dedicated chopping board that is clearly labelled. (Using white boards that have been used to prepare dairy is not best practice).

  3. Cross-contamination. Keep animal foods (including dairy and eggs) as far away as possible from plant foods when prepping and cooking. This will depend on the size and other constraints of your kitchen but it isn't difficult. It's OK to store different foods in the same fridge or freezer, just make sure they are in a sealed container and labelled - and preferably on another shelf. 

  4. Deep-fat frying.  Don't use oil that has been used to cook animal products - if possible, have a dedicated fryer for chips and other plant-based foods, eg vegetable tempura, vegan sausages. If this is a problem, omit deep-fried food from your vegan menu.

  5. Serving utensils. Use different serving utensils for non-vegan and vegan foods, ie avoid dishing out meat gravy with the same ladle as vegan gravy!

  6. Cooking kit. If possible, have a small kit of separate cooking equipment and utensils (eg a couple of saucepans, a knife and a wok). Use a simple marking system - eg, green plastic sticky tape on handles.

  7. Alternatively, make sure existing equipment is washed and rinsed thoroughly before being used to prep and cook vegan dishes.