A lot of people that eat meat think being a vegan is about eating carrots. But Cook Daily is not your typical vegan spot. King, head chef and creator of the restaurant, is changing the way young people actually think about what is in their food, making veganism more accessible to the urban culture. With two restaurants in Shoreditch's BoxPark, Cook Daily and Home - a south east asian inspired vegan joint, King's vegan empire is growing fast as he offers a better alternative to the youth than Sam's chicken... If it is even really chicken.
COZY MAG: So, how did CookDaily come about?
King Cook Daily: Cooking for me has been something I've been doing since birth. I've got a family background of chef's. I'm from Lau, south east asia, it was natural for men and women to know about food. It's a big part of our culture.
I realised that I had a skill for tasting food and knowing what good was, and decided to explore that more. I became a vegetarian 5 years ago, and a vegan only 2 years ago - so when I talk about how I used to cook, that was really meat and fish heavy. With being asian, you kind of eat all parts of the animal.
After school, I went to catering college as that was my passion, finished at the age of 18. Then I started working in the kitchens. Fine dining, heavy meat based industry. I travelled a lot, in Spain, France and London- but the pay was shit, it was more about experience. I would spend all of my money on eating at other restaurants, just to see what other chef's and establishments were doing.
CM: What made you decide to go vegetarian?
K: I came back to London after a lot of travelling. There was a part of me that matured as a young man. I've been in this game for over 16 year professionally. I decided to start a family with my girlfriend at the time, my wife now. And we had our first son and everything changed.
I realised like, wow. life means so much more than just being the head chef of a restaurant or a hotel. I Started meditating, i took time out and just realised something was missing. So we looked into it, but I couldn't be a part of eating meat any more.
We both decided to stop eating meat. We watched Earthlings, a documentary and made the decision that day. Shed a few tears, it was real. We never looked back.
CM: Then what happened?
K: I started working in vegetarian restaurants, and started training, got fit, and veganism just went hand in hand with that. It was the best decision I've made to date. I saw the benefits of health and compassion, I became more compassionate as a person. Back in the day I was an angry chef, dealing with all that meat and the energy thats in it.
From there, by demand... Cook Daily happened. I just started posting pictures of my breakfasts, lunches and dinner.. and everyone was just showing love. I just kind of thought, you know what, its time. and that was just under a year ago. Within a week, it was business as usual.
CM: Did you ever see it as being a permanent thing?
K: I kind of knew it would be a big game changer in the community and in London. Before Cook Daily was here, there wasn't really a diverse young community of vegans like there is now. There are people from everywhere. I like to see the kids from the hood come, and that they opt for cook daily rather than chicken and chips.
CM: What do you think about veganism from a young age?
My kids have been vegans since birth, they are going to be like next level. When I see the way my son talks to me, he's 6 years old. I don't hide anything from him, he knows what its about, its not forced upon him. It's about a mind-frame, understanding why- we are vegans for the animals, and the health is a benefit. You have to find a connection you can make, to keep it going. Vegan children are the future, I'm blessed.
Keep up with King and Cook Daily on Instagram and visit the store in the Box Park.