Pop-up restaurants have risen in popularity around the world in recent years, and one of our very own Trinity alumni has jumped on the bandwagon, aiming to save the planet, one vegan dish at a time.
Priyansh Parekh completed Trinity’s February Main Foundation Studies program in 2017. He lived alone while studying, so would spend time cooking and posting photos of his vegan meals online.
‘It was therapeutic for me. I would spend all day at Foundation Studies and then I’d go home, walk through Woolies or the Queen Vic Market, pick up all these ingredients and have a massive feast at night or have friends over on the weekend,’ he says.
After finishing Foundation Studies, Priyansh decided life in Trinity’s Residential College would be an exciting opportunity to continue his involvement in the Trinity community. While he studied a Bachelor of Design at the University of Melbourne, his passion for cooking vegan dishes grew, and so did the interest of his audience, as he received an influx of messages from people asking how he made his dishes.
When the pandemic hit, Priyansh made the difficult decision to return to his home city of Dubai, where he continued to innovate more vegan dishes to share on social media.
Priyansh didn’t see a lot of vegan menu options in Dubai and was keen for his growing follower base to become more directly involved, so decided to take his cooking from the screen to the street. This way, he thought people could not only admire his beautiful dishes, but also have the opportunity to experience them. Hence, the idea to create a pop-up kitchen was born.
‘I’m trying to break that internet barrier, without having a full-time restaurant. It’s more fun that way and I have full creativity of the dishes and the concepts of the pop ups,’ he says. ‘It shows people the passion behind it.’
Priyansh proudly wears the title of ‘recipe developer’ and enjoys spending hours in the kitchen testing new recipes and combinations. He’s inspired by what’s in season in Dubai, which, luckily for him, is almost everything, as most ingredients in Dubai are imported. He likes to describe the dishes on his menu as a melting pot of cuisines and flavours he grew up with, including French, East Asian, Indian, Thai and Chinese ‘with a twist’.
Priyansh says the vegan movement has quickly evolved in Dubai over a few short years, and now his goal is to hold pop-up kitchen events aimed at non-vegans to show them how tasty vegan dishes can be and to inspire them to eat more plant-based food.
‘Many people imagine vegan food to be salads and smoothie bowls, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a lot more environmentally friendly too, better for your health and better for the animals.’
Information about Priyansh’s upcoming events, along with his inspiring meal pics, are posted on his Instagram account @ThePrunchKitchen.
By Vanessa Montoya