A Cup of Chai with Plant-Based Chef, Heidi Flora

We had a cup of chai with Byron Bay resident and plant-based chef Heidi Flora. She spends most of her weeks creating beautiful custom cakes and treats for people’s special occasions. Right now, She is working on some pop up dinners in the Byron area, so that she can showcase her food in a way that  she has not done before.  Heidi is so passionate about the food she creates. Each dish is a reflection of her, and a mix of creativity and perfection. Here is the interview with Heidi:  

What inspired you to start your plant based cake business?

My love of dessert, all things sweet and a passion for a refined whole foods approach and  plant based cuisine. I love to cater for those with food allergies/intolerances and food lifestyle choices. I don't just do sweets however, I do savoury also. I offer consulting, recipe & product development, food photography, catering and pop up dinners.

Do raw, dairy, gluten and refined sugar free cakes still taste good?

Heck yes they do! I've refined my recipes to make them not so heavy and dense like traditional raw sweets. Also I lay off the dates and don't over do the sweeteners, so that they are flavour balanced and you aren't left feeling like you need to have a nap to recover from a sweets hangover.

What has been the most challenging part of starting your business?

Work + Family + Self care balance. That's always a work in progress.

What formal training have you done to support your success?

I've done over 4 months of culinary training with Matthew Kenney (now PlantLab) a plant based culinary school online and in America. I'd say that, my high standards, perfectionism and never ending thirst for knowledge. I also taught Matthew Kenney's pop up school for a month in Sydney last year.

What is your proudest creation?

Shumai Dumplings that a fellow student and I crafted together for our pop dinner we ran in New York as apart of our culinary training in level 4 (highest level with PlantLab).

Kohlrabi Shumai Dumplings. Turmeric brazil butter. Miso almond ricotta. Pomegranate. Carrot. Pea greens oil. Pickled ginger. Raspberry hibiscus broth. See my instagram for a photo of that dish!

What are the three must-have items in the kitchen?

Good quality blender. Nut milk bag. An amazing knife (absolute non-negotiable must have!! I'm obsessed with my knives and freak out when I go to someone's house and have to use a blunt shitty knife haha!)

What is your fav meal of the day?

That's a hard one! They're all good :) Maybe dinner.

Chef/cook inspiration?

Local inspiration Fleet - Josh Lewis & Paper Daisy - Ben Devlin. International inspiration Blue Hill at Stone Barns - Dan Barber. I was lucky enough to go there when I did my culinary training in New York. His farming ethics, the respect he has for ingredients and the way it is grown and farmed is mind blowing. Ps. Watch him on Chef's Table - Netflix.

What does creativity mean for you?.

The ability to express yourself through any form, letting it flow with no boundaries. I love creative freedom!

What are you known as outside you work?

Mum & Wife. I love to garden, art and craft. You will probably always find me in the kitchen though :)

Questions that you wish people ask more of?

Where does this come from? What is that ingredient? How can I source this without the plastic? How and where is this grown?

What are you most grateful for?

My husband, we are each other's biggest fans! Always supporting each other to grow into the best version of ourselves.

Where can people find you and your business?

On instagram @heidi.flora and freelancing in the Byron Bay region.