Today: I talk with Anthea Cheng of Rainbow Nourishments about food, recipe inspiration and the one food she would want to banish from the world.
You’re probably already aware of the colourful and unique creations that Anthea thinks up. Her imagination has given us recipes like Chocolate Mousse Pokeball Tarts and Banana, Peanut Butter and Jam Hot Dog but incase you have no idea what I’m on about, Anthea’s philosophy is to create raw vegan delights using only whole foods that are good for your soul. Her photography captures the colours and fun of her creations, and draw you into her ever expanding collection of drool worthy treats.
Anthea’s first ebook, Nourishing Treats, came out late last month after many requests for the recipes of her delicious looking raw desserts. She’s rising up in the world of food blogging with her works being featured on sites like Vogue. If you’re like me, you’re drawn to her page by the amazing photography and creative recipes and stay because of her authentic nature and bubbly personality. Read on to find out how Anthea is inspired to create recipes, how her blog came about and the one food she wishes was banished from earth.
More: Get Anthea’s recipe for her Luxurious Chai Granola — try not to drool all over your screens.
What inspired you to begin writing a food blog, even though you had a successful bespoke cake business?
I’ve always loved cooking, styling food and taking pictures of food. I grew up in a very food-orientated environment as my parents owned restaurants and catering businesses from the day I was born. I started my first food blog in 2001, which I did for a few years but stopped temporarily because I needed some time out for myself. At the beginning of 2015, I started my current blog Rainbow Nourishments and at the beginning of 2016, my cake business (unintentionally) took off. I’ve never looked back!
What is your take on whole foods, is it a big deal for you?
For me, eating wholefoods means eating more fresh vegetables and fruits and less from a packet. I think having a diet with more plant-based wholefoods is better for our bodies, the environment and the earth. It is the norm in Western society to eat packaged and convenience foods that are focused on taste rather than nutrition and nourishment and purchased from major supermarket chains. These processed foods often contain high levels of refined sugars and fat. I think people need to be more aware of what is in our food and how it has travelled to our plate. However, I don’t believe in obtaining ‘perfection’ in my diet or lifestyle so it’s definitely okay, every now and then, to get some takeaway or a healthy frozen meal.
Your recipes and cakes are known for their creativity and exciting mixes of flavours. Where do you find your inspiration?
Aw, thank you! I’m inspired by things in everyday life. For example, I may walk past a lolly shop which reminds me of a certain food memory or I might see a little child contently licking on an ice cream and that inspires me to capture that emotion with my food. Or I might spontaneously remember a time I travelled to a foreign country and want to create something inspired by that.
Did you have an “aha” moment that led you down this line of work?
Not really! I used to help out my parents at their restaurants and catering businesses and always loved decorating cakes. I’ve always loved starting projects out of nothing!
What’s the best and worst thing about your job?
Haha! I love talking to people who I meet through my job. The worst things are the physical injuries I’ve gotten from the cake business.
You obviously have excellent unbaking skills—was this a passion of yours before your business started, or something that you picked up and got better at, as you went along?
I’ve loved baking for as long as I can remember, and unbaking for several years! I’d like to think that my skills got better over time, haha. Before I had the business, raw cakes were sold in only one or two places in my city, Canberra. I’d often crave interstate trips and daydream that I’d fill a large esky with batches of cakes and bring them back home to enjoy for months.
If you could banish any one food, from the earth, what would it be?
Animal flesh. Well, I wouldn’t banish the animals but I would banish how they are considered food. The rate at which people are consuming animals (and by products) is not sustainable for the earth.
What’s your biggest failure ever in the kitchen?
Sooo many! Once I dusted some french pastries with salt instead of sugar. Another time, I mistook powered chicken stock with matcha then baked a salty chicken cake. That was around a decade ago when most people didn’t know what matcha looked like and that it was actually green. And in my pre-vegan days, I dusted some fish in bicarb soda rather than corn flour. Soo soo many kitchen failures! Mind you, many of these happened over a decade ago when I started to cook independently. I haven’t made such drastic mistakes since!
Do you have any major goals set for the future?
To be honest, not really! My cake business and food blog are expanding so quickly so I’m taking things as they come. However, I do have some minor goals, such as running food workshops for kids, releasing more ebooks and have my own garden where I can grow my own produce!
Photos by Rainbow Nourishments
Nourishing Treats by Anthea Cheng