Class One’s first professional masterclass in plant-based cuisine

Plant-based masterclass with chef Eddie Shepherd

This month we teamed up with award-winning plant-based chef Eddie Shepherd in the first of a series of Class One events to support our chefs and hospitality customers. 

The professional masterclass was held at Eddie’s unique ‘Walled Gardens’ underground restaurant in Manchester, named one of UK’s top 20 restaurants by The Observer Food Monthly.

Five chefs were invited to join the day-long session during which Eddie shared some of his plant-based cuisine secrets, tips and techniques. Topics included vegan desserts, plant-based proteins, umami, using seaweed and koji, emulsions without eggs, working with tofu, vegetarian sous vide applications, fermented nuts and patés. 

Eddie Shepherd at Northern Restaurant and Bar 2013

Eddie said: “The interest in and demand for plant-based cuisine is not going away. The two most challenging issues for chefs today – most of whom are classically trained – are how to build depth of flavour and create texture using only plant-based ingredients. This kind of cuisine involves learning different techniques and working with new ingredients to build flavour and give more interesting mouthfeel and chewiness. This is what I showcase in my tasting menus and what I share in the professional workshop.”

Our guest chefs included Johnny Cliff, executive chef and Richard Kitson, group development chef, Ambiente Tapas Group; Alex Opolsky, head chef, Meat is Dead and Mackenzie Maude, head chef, Wolfox – both in Leeds. Class One chef and sales manager Andy McGregor who previously worked at Northcote also attended.

Ambiente’s Johnny Cliff said: “We really enjoyed it – it was certainly very different to the stuff we are normally doing. We want to add more vegan tapas dishes to our menu, especially desserts and this has given us lots of ideas.” 

Eddie is an acknowledged expert on modern vegetarian cuisine. Chef Aiden Byrne, Restaurant MCR described him as ‘the magician of the vegetarian world’ and called his food ‘mesmerising’. He has worked with high-profile clients including the Four Seasons hotel group, Google, Waitrose, Vodafone, BBC and ITV and taken his pop-up restaurants all over the world from Mexico City to Cyprus and China. For more, go to

Hosted by Class One managing director Ben Cluny, this exclusive full-day class was designed to help chefs broaden their knowledge of contemporary plant-based cuisine and included skills training, new ideas, ingredients and inspiration to help businesses cater for the growing numbers of vegan and vegetarian diners.

Ben said: “It’s a challenge for chefs to satisfy the increasing demand for exciting and innovative vegetarian and vegan dishes on menus and to elevate fresh produce to command the kinds of margins that can make them core popular menu items. We teamed up with Eddie to offer his expertise to our chef customers to inspire them and give them some extra skills and techniques in this fast growing area. And we learned a lot too about new produce and products that we can source and supply to all of our chefs. So we’ll be telling you more about this soon.”

Delayed for two years because of covid-19, this is the first event in Class One’s campaign to champion fresh produce in modern cuisine and help chefs develop exceptional plant-based dishes as part of their core menus. More events are in the pipeline so watch the space.