Bestselling author and advocate of plant-based eating, Ella Woodward, has a number of exciting new projects keeping her busy.
Author of the fastest selling vegan cookbook of all time, she aims to share “the joys and benefits of plant-based living” with her readers. She began with a blog, which evolved into an app and then a recipe book, deli and a range of products.
Chatting to Ella, more commonly known as Deliciously Ella, who was recently in Dublin to launch her products in SuperValu stores, the news that her book was the fastest selling cookbook in the UK was still fresh. Describing the feeling, she explained:
“It’s pretty cool. We’ve been working on it for three years and it’s a collection of all the recipes we’ve gathered cooking at festivals, from the deli and supper clubs and charity events. To see all that work come together and for the words about our journey and the experience of the last few years and actually to be able to share all that and for the book to be well received is just, it’s really surreal and very humbling.”
“I love that people love the book and I’m very passionate about getting people cooking this kind of thing, so to see people get excited about veggies and to actually want to start cooking them is amazing. And even if they say they aren’t vegan or vegetarian, they’re just trying to eat a bit better and they love the book, that’s the best kind of feedback.”
Asking whether a number of people have reached out to her based on similar experiences or their own struggles, Ella said: “Yeah definitely, we get quite a lot of that which is incredible and I’m just really happy to help with anyone else’s journey in any way that I can.”
For those of us trying to live a healthier life and maybe considering the transition to a more plant-based diet, the idea itself can seem quite daunting.
While I had her, I couldn’t resist asking if she had any tips for getting started and she doled out her number one tip which was “just to enjoy it”.
I think sometimes when people think about making the healthier switch, they think it’s going to be boring and about deprivation, but it doesn’t need to be about that in any shape or form.
“I always say this…guacamole is a vegetable. It doesn’t all need to be steamed greens. Just start with guacamole and start by making hummus with peppers, courgette, bell pepper muffins. There’s easy ways you can start, be it curries or stews. It’s not all about lettuce.”
I also asked Ella what some of the most popular dishes from her cookbook are or if she had any favourites to cook herself: “The most popular is definitely the Five Bean Chilli and I love the Sri Lankan Curry because there are loads of spices and a great flavour from it. The Peanut Cookies are also very popular and I really love the Corn Fritters and Avocado.”
Complimenting her photos and the beauty of the dishes in her cookbook, Ella humbly thanked me, adding: “I think that’s really important. I do think that if we’re going to change people’s perspectives about eating plant-based food, it’s got to be beautiful.”
Over the past number of years, Ella has had quite a number of exciting experiences. Asked if there were any major standout moments, she struggled to pinpoint one, saying:
“I mean it’s all been an experience like it’s gone up, down and all around. I think we shared a bit of the reality of building a business and we’ve had a lot of highlights and a lot of lowlights, but I think that’s the reality of getting something off the ground. Everytime I see the products, which really is the biggest part of our business, that’s all really exciting and also seeing people really enjoy what we’re doing, it’s everything.”
Touching a little bit on her illness, which was the inspiration for her whole culinary journey, Ella explained that her love of food “stemmed from a personal illness”.
It was very frightening. I got very unwell and I was taking all kinds of medications that weren’t really working for me. So that’s when I started to become interested in diet.
As well as her cookbook, fans of Ella’s creations can pick up her products in stores, something she’s delighted about:
“That’s really why we started that part of the business because we wanted to make it more available to people. We share all our recipes but we know that people aren’t always going to have time to make it at home so yeah, we’re really happy to see them in shops.”
You can find a range of 14 Deliciously Ella products in SuperValu’s health and wellness isle, with everything from oat bars and energy balls to nutty granolas and bircher mueslis.
With so much happening for Ella right now, I couldn’t help but wonder what else she has up her sleeve for the future:
“Our immediate focus is the book, though we have just launched a new podcast series and I’m loving doing that. We’re actually also launching a whole new branding, so all our packaging is changing.”
In terms of new products, Ella revealed that “we’re launching an all-natural, no additives line of frozen meals.”
It looks like things aren’t going to be slowing down for Ella and her husband anytime soon. You can stay up-to-date with their journey at deliciouslyella.com.
Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.
Named Best Break Out Travel Writer at the 2018 Travel Media Awards, Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.
A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.