Plant Matter Kitchen is one of Canada's most popular vegan restaurants. Receiving the "2018 Diner's Choice Award" from Open Table and "2017 Best of London Runner Up" by the London Free Press, people have traveled from abroad and locally to indulge in their vegan cuisine. Located in London, ON (just 2 hours west of Toronto, ON), Plant Matter Kitchen has become a global and local attraction.
As the general public becomes more health-conscious, a trend towards veganism is increasing rapidly in North America. According to Statista (a stat-based website), there were 2.3 consumers that identified themselves as Vegetarians in Canada with another 850,000 that were Vegan in 2018. With that number rapidly growing due to health documentaries on Netflix, consumers are seeking more "vegan-friendly" menu options.
While consumers are gradually decreasing their meat consumption and gravitating towards a plant-based diet, restaurants are catering to these interests while becoming a staple in the community. I had an opportunity to sit down with Glenn Whitehead, the owner of Plant Matter Kitchen in London, ON Canada to speak on the matter.
What makes Plant Matter Kitchen different from many vegan restaurants is the meticulous practice that goes into preparing the food. As Mr. Whitehead describes, he likes his food to be "as organic as it can be." This means he only uses whole food ingredients with no MSG or GMO's added. Plant Matter Kitchen prepares its meals in its raw form and serves it within 48 hours of consumption. An example of this is instead of using a can of beans, they soak fresh beans using organic spices. They have a prep kitchen off-site and almost everything in the restaurant is prepared from scratch. As a result, it creates a "better tasting food" as described by Mr. Whitehead.
As a life-long vegan, Mr. Whitehead explained that his purpose for opening the restaurant was to "deconstruct the myth around veganism." He's managed to make his dishes flavourful with freshness and using the tastiest organic spices. He's also pretty even-keeled on the matter of meat vs. plant-based consumption as he stated, "it doesn't matter what you eat if it's good food you're going to like it and enjoy it." When it comes to the consumption of a plant-based diet, Mr. Whitehead does acknowledge the benefits. At 54-years-old, the Plant Matter Kitchen founder is a triathlete and avid cyclist that consumes a diet of whole grains, nuts, and fresh veggies at the same weight he was in high school. He also doesn't keep track of calories or protein and works out 3-4 hours a day.
If you want to learn more about Glenn Whitehead and Plant Matter Kitchen, be sure to listen to Episode 7 our podcast where we dive in about trends, the misconceptions of veganism and who 80% of his customers really are! Be sure to check out their website PlantMatterKitchen.com and visit them if you're in Canada.
By: Jay Denson