From ribs to mayonnaise to VFC fried chicken, plant-based versions of vegan-unfriendly foods are starting to flood the marketplace, at least in areas without supply chain issues. And one way people are finding out about these new plant-based products is from following content creators like Brandon “Sad Papi” Skier on TikTok.
A cook with more than a decade of experience working in fine dining, Skier downloaded TikTok in 2020 after the LA restaurant he was working in shut down due to the pandemic. He began to amass a following by sharing insider kitchen tips and recipes. Skier, who now has close to two million followers (or “papitas” as he calls them), also shares new products he discovers, such as the aforementioned vegan mayo from Sir Kensington’s, with his audience.
“I feel like social media inherently forces a bunch of people on the global stage into your feed. You get to see a lot of cool things that you’ve never seen before,” he tells InsideHook. “I’ve been exposed to so many more plant-based techniques and methods and ingredients that I simply didn’t know before because none of the restaurants I worked in were primarily plant-based. You can be working with morel mushrooms and a forager will hop in and be like, ‘Oh, you should try this. It’s something that we all do.’ You’ll try it and it’ll out to be one of your favorite things to do. It’s pretty exciting to see new things.”
Growing exposure to plant-based content has just reinforced Skier’s natural inclination to lean mostly vegetarian.
“I’ve always been a more vegetable-forward person. I didn’t eat very much meat growing up, and my parents seemed to think that maybe there was something wrong with me,” he says. “None of the restaurants I worked in were vegan, but the plant-based thinking was always there. If I look back to my earliest content, vegan recipes were always involved. The things that I buy most often are vegetables so I would do vegetable dishes. Now, I eat about 75% plant-based myself. If I’m left to my own devices, I generally eat vegetables or rice. I do eat some meat and seafood, but not nearly as much as people might think based on my content. You can have a very balanced diet with less meat and animal products.”
According to Skier, it is his responsibility to make his audience aware that a plant-based diet is a viable option.
“As more information comes out about the effects of the animal industry on the environment and so forth, I think it’s great to promote a more balanced diet,” he says. “When I was in school, milk and cheese had their own section on the food pyramid. As more research comes out, we realize it’s not that important and most of the population is lactose intolerant. There are a lot of people who are trying to eat a more plant-based or vegetable-forward diet, and they just simply don’t know what’s out there. They may think of vegan or plant-based food as being bland or boring, but there’s so much out there. I think social media is starting to push that out and people are becoming more and more aware you can include more vegetables in your diet and still be completely healthy. I think larger companies are picking up on that and they’re trying to come up with products to keep those people happy and bring in revenue.”
Feel like going green? Here’s Sad Papi’s version of mashed potatoes.
Shattered Potatoes With Vegan Green Chili Aioli
- 2 pounds fingerling potatoes
- 1 poblano pepper
- 2 serrano peppers
- 1 cup parsley picked
- 1 cup mint picked
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1⁄2 cup cilantro picked
- 1 lemon
- 1⁄8 cup toasted almonds
- 1⁄2 cup Sir Kensington’s vegan mayo
- Begin by adding potatoes to a pot and covering them with cold water with a pinch of salt. Boil until just fork tender. Strain and allow potatoes to dry completely.
- Take poblano and serrano peppers and blister them on the flame of your stove until the skins are blackened. Wrap chiles in plastic or place into a baggy to steam which will make peeling easier.
- Peel chiles, cut them open and discard the seeds.
- Place chiles in the blender with parsley, mint, cilantro, garlic, toasted almonds, lemon juice, vegan mayo and a pinch of salt. Blend smooth, taste and adjust salt and lemon juice. Reserve.
- Take now dry potatoes and smash flat, lightly dress with oil, season with salt, lay onto a baking tray and roast in the oven at 450°f for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Place into a bowl and drizzle with aioli. Recipe serves four.
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