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Masterchef star Kenny Tutt launches first vegan menu at Pitch in Worthing

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A MASTERCHEF winner has launched his first vegan menu at his seaside restaurant.

Kenny Tutt, who won the hit TV show in 2018, has created a completely plant-based weekly menu at Pitch, his restaurant in Warwick Street, Worthing.

For The Love Of Plants was launched for Veganuary and is now available at the restaurant every Wednesday evening, alongside the usual seasonal à la carte menu.

Kenny said: “We’re thrilled to launch our first vegan menu but it means so much more to us than Veganuary.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time carefully planning the menu, which has quality produce from the local area, as we know there is a real demand for plant-based dishes.

“You don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy this menu.

“The reaction so far has been wonderful.”

Kenny said the menu is in line with the restaurant’s ethos, which is to make the best of local produce.

He said: “Rather than just doing it for one month in January, we have taken the dishes which were the most popular and are continuing it every week.

“I didn’t want to use meat alternatives, but instead showcase how good a potato can be, for example, or how much flavour you can get in a roasted aubergine.”

Kenny said the menu “goes all around the world” and includes dishes such as middle-eastern baba ganoush, Italian courgette cannelloni, ratatouille and Asian-inspired vegetable dishes with tofu and sesame.

He added: “We’ve also done some great desserts.

“We did a slow roasted pineapple which was cooked for eight hours, and we paired it with a coconut ice cream.

“It just goes to show you can make just as delicious food, with a bit of time.

“When my chefs and I all sat down to try the menu, we did not miss the meat.”

Kenny said he has learned a lot in the process of creating the menu, including how to make a vegan butter, and it has been an “exciting challenge” for him as a chef.

He said: “You learn a lot about the alternatives you can use.

“I think the hardest thing for a lot of people going vegan, or the hardest thing for me at least, is the dairy side of things.

“There are some OK vegan cheeses but I’ve not yet tried a really good one.

“We created a vegan butter with things like coconut oil and turmeric, and it’s definitely better than a lot of margarine out there.

“You still get that buttery feeling when you cook with it.

“You just have to play around with ingredients.”

Kenny said he thinks there is a general trend towards plant-based diets, and a greater awareness around how food is produced.

“I think people are much more conscious of where their food comes from these days.

“I try not to encourage anyone to take a really militant approach to what they eat or don’t eat.

“I think it’s about having a more careful response to the way all food is produced, such as choosing more sustainable options and not battery farming.”

Pitch is Kenny’s first restaurant, and he also runs a cookery school there, offering classes and talks about various types of cooking, including vegan dishes.

He said: “We do all sorts. The other day we did a talk on our local fish and sustainability.

“I love doing that side of things.

“People get to learn about it and then we all eat together.

“Some people will say they can’t cook, but anyone can.

“The classes are very laid back.

“It’s important to make people feel comfortable.”

Pitch will celebrate its first anniversary in May and Kenny said the team has some exciting events coming up.

He said: “We are really thankful to all the people in Sussex who have supported us so far.

“Dietary requirements can be frustrating for restaurant-goers, but we always do our best to come up with things people like – sometimes on the spot.”

Pitch restaurant and cookery school is open between Tuesdays and Sundays for lunch and dinner, with a new vegan menu available every Wednesday evening.

The vegan menu is £25 for two courses or £30 for three courses, with an optional vegan wine “flight” tasting for £25.

To book a table, visit www.pitchrestaurant.co.uk.

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