Sometimes, you just know it. People you meet, places you go, and innovative ideas that are here to stay and make an impact.
Behind the online vegan restaurant, the genius kiwi glazed stuffed cabbage, and much more – is Tanya Marie.
Tanya is the founder of the online vegan restaurant ‘Neozentee Encore’ and a charismatic Plant-based chef.
She provides bespoke private dining, home dining, and of course, your everyday dishes with jazz and finesse!
‘Neozentee Encore’ is an innovative experience tailored to your individual needs, whether you’re looking for a tasty and straightforward weekday takeaway, a more specialised and freezable meal plan, or a bespoke three-course meal on the sandy beach of Hastings.
Tanya is the superchef we need in our lives, and I’m thrilled to feature her incredible culinary talent on GreenLivingUK!
Tanya, can you please tell us about you and what motivated you to launch the ‘Neozentee Encore’?
So my name is Tanya Marie, I am a plant-based chef and the founder of ‘Neozentee Encore’ which is an independent food business that provides services such as meal prep, personal chef, bespoke dining, events, as well an online community based restaurant.
Before going plant-based in January 2020, I worked on and off as a chef working in various restaurants around London for around 11 years or so. During gaps of employment, I tried my hand at a few businesses but never really found something that felt like the right fit (although a couple of them had also involved food). Initially, I was in business for the wrong reason which was solely to make money.
I did not challenge myself at all, so now when I come across old menus that I would create, I cringe with laughter; there was just no passion behind what I was creating. Upon reflection I realised that I was carrying an employment conformity mindset (doing what I used to be employed to do whilst being restricted from creative expression).
Having let go of the old mindset, my aim was / is to create dishes that are filled with expression, uniqueness and flare. I like the idea of having simple yet refined dishes, then creating other dishes which leads to pleasant confusion in heightening the wow factor. That feeling of guessing the flavours is a magical experience, and one that I want to bring to communities from all walks of life. This is my motivation behind Neozentee Encore.
What’s in the ‘Neozentee Encore’ name?
The name ‘Neozentee Encore’ comes from a place of transition. I was moving away from a clouded space of mind, had plans to set up my own business therefore wanted a name that stands strong, has meaning and reflects me as a person. Neo = New – Zen = peace – Tee = Tanya – which stands for ‘new beginnings for Tanya’. ‘Encore’ is quite a recent addition to Neozentee. The idea behind this stems from creating dishes that people will want to have again and again.
An online Vegan restaurant sounds like an exciting endeavour. Please can you tell me how it works?
So, the online restaurant is a restaurant with a difference that I will be running two days a week from a registered home in Haringey – North London.
Each week (approximately) 3 culturally different set meals will be uploaded on several online platforms.
The restaurant operates through a pre-order cashless system which allows customers to view a weekly changing menu and to place their orders a minimum of three days prior to pick up / delivery.
The restaurant is very much community based and offers three community-based advantages:
1) Those that work in the NHS shall receive a discount off every other meal that is placed via the online system.
2) A percentage of each meal that is ordered online will be donated and alternated between London food banks / charities supporting disadvantaged families
3) Repeating customers can request a meal that they would like to see temporarily on the menu, ( terms and conditions will apply).
Your recipes are quite experimental and very original! Where do you get your inspiration from to create them?
I would say that my inspiration comes from any and everything really. As a creative I am inspired by what some may describe as some of the simplest of things.
Someone will see an apple but ask me what I can see when staring at the same object.
I would probably tell them that I am visualising the roots that the apple tree had sprouted from.
I have a very abstract way of thinking.
When it comes to food, I like to challenge ideologies of what I have been taught and what leaves many of us complacent in sticking with flavour combinations that we know of to work well.
People’s relationship with food is very personal. What is your secret to creating successful dishes?
1) Come prepared. If there are several components to your dish, prepare these components at least the day before. This will make your day of cooking a lot less stressful.
2) Taste taste taste! Always taste as you go along.
If I am cooking let us say soup or a stew, I find that some of the flavours tend to get lost during the cooking process.
You do not want to go overboard with seasoning but tasting will allow you to pick up on any necessary adjustments.
3) If you really want to take your dishes to the next level, try to make each element on your plate sing.
I treat ingredients as I do people – as individuals.
This is what brings the fun elements to my meals as everything on the plate has its unique place in flavour as well as texture.
Often, I will create dishes based on at least 3 of the taste senses (all of them are likely to be involved when it comes to bespoke dining).
What would the ultimate three-course vegan meal be for you?
It would have to be three dishes which create mystery (especially if they involve mushrooms) haha.
I love to be surprised by flavour combinations that are vibrant and punchy yet, not visually apparent.
This creates levels of excitement and when my taste buds are excited, I am extremely happy.
Can you suggest an easy recipe for a Sunday lunch?
This is something that I am currently working on (either for insta Live or YouTube).
I have yet to decide on which platform I am going to upload to, so please keep an eye on my Instagram page @neozentee where you will be notified of my next video update.
It will be this month, so you won’t have to wait too long 😊
Where do you see ‘Neozentee Encore’ and yourself as a professional in the future?
Oh my! There are so many things that are happening behind the screens, but I do not want to say too much too soon.
Things will undoubtedly unfold with completion and time, but for now I’ll just say ‘I am merely getting started’ lol.