Mushroom risotto. Singapore noodles. Black bean enchiladas. Shepherd’s pie. These dishes sound as though they came straight from a restaurant menu, but chef Chris Wilson cooks them for clients to enjoy in the comfort of their own home. The other surprising thing? Every single one is plant-based.
Wilson, personal chef and owner of Plants 2 Plates, has a background in culinary arts and fine dining. As a result, she knows a thing or two about flavor. Early in her career, her main interests included foie gras, foams, and emulsions rather than fruits, veggies, and whole foods– but this all shifted when she started her family.
“I started to look at food in a different way,” Wilson says. “I wanted to give my kids the best that I could, so that’s what started me down the path of nourishing my body with food instead of entertaining my body with food.”
Her family was on board; in fact, it was her son who requested transitioning to a fully vegan diet. As her children got older, Wilson’s new goal was to combine her expertise in upscale dining with this newfound passion for nourishing foods.
The result is Plants 2 Plates, a personal chef service cooking up restaurant-quality dishes– and these dishes just so happen to be plant-based. In addition to entrees, clients can customize their meal plan by adding on items such as breakfast foods, snacks, and baked goods.
Plants 2 Plates clients are varied: Some want to give up animal products, others have dietary restrictions, and others simply don’t have time to cook. Though Plants 2 Plates food is always made without meat, dairy, or eggs, not all of Wilson’s clientele is vegan.
“I stick with ‘plant-based’ because it’s inclusive, it’s non-judgemental, it’s non-confrontational,” Wilson says. “I believe in the power of plants to fuel our bodies through all kinds of adventures, activities, and life events.”
Wilson is inspired by the bounty of the North Sound region, and she strives to use produce that is fresh, organic, and in-season. In addition, she rarely repeats dishes unless a client requests.
“I try to vary ethnic cuisines; [for example,] I try to do a Mexican dish, then Indian dish, or Thai,” Wilson says. “My clients love that they’re always having something different. It’s a treat to be able to open up the fridge, and you don’t have to call to get Chinese food delivered– it’s sitting right there.”
Newcomers to plant-based diets often have concerns about cost and adequate nutrient intake. However, balanced vegan meals provide abundant nutrients and protein, and Wilson points out that eliminating animal products doesn’t necessitate replacing them with expensive fake meats and frozen meals. She also notes that taste buds are ever-evolving. In addition to the health benefits, cutting back on excess salt, oil, and sugar often results in the ability to better taste food.
“It’s not as hard as people make it out to be, but you do have to be intentional about it,” Wilson says. “In all the work that I’ve done, no one has regretted incorporating more whole foods into their daily diets. There’s no way it’s the wrong answer, even if you don’t want to go vegan– putting more fresh produce on your plate is always, always a good thing.” Bellingham, 832.549.3737, plants2plates.net