Flip Grater brings us European-inspired dishes of plant-based goodness, in this extract from her book The Grater Good.


Kia ora! Bonjour!

Welcome into our kitchen.

Youssef and I met at 2am on a cold September night in Paris in 2012. I was recording my album Pigalle; he was working in a famous jazz bar. As Montmartre closed, my bass player Seba let out his famous hearty chuckle, lifted a finger into the air and said, “I know a place … the party will continue!”

We traipsed up and over the hill with our double bass and inappropriate footwear and arrived to Youssef’s smiling face leaning over a balcony. He threw down a key, invited us up, immediately poured a round of whiskies and we settled in. There, nestled into a deep armchair under a large black and white photo of Camus, surrounded by stacks of old books and golden Moroccan trinkets, we discussed the meaning of life and made plans to save the world.

Food and music were always the binding agents. I toured the world collecting recipes from my audience members and wrote recipe-laden tour memoirs. It allowed me to be constantly discussing food and wine and music with everyone I met. It was my first experience of bobo life on those and subsequent tours… tasting the best wines across Europe, singing with the best punks and crooners, eating the most exquisite food everywhere we went. All whilst sleeping in dirty old venue apartments, running to catch trains, wearing vintage polyester dresses and heels worn down to nails.

By 2018, Youssef and I were living in New Zealand with our daughter Anaïs. My new domestic life and breeder-based fears for the future had me wanting to do more for the planet than writing sad songs. I wanted to promote plant-based eating full-time, not through protesting or education, but via the pleasant, delicious activism that came to be called Grater Goods. We made a chorizo out of beans and sold it on social media. I rented a small kitchen in an industrial part of Christchurch and cooked there three days a week. I made deli sandwiches for workers in the area and plant-based pilgrims who could find me. The demand grew so rapidly that within a year we’d taken over the whole building, with a team of staff and a bustling retail and hospitality space.

A little slice of Paris in industrial Sydenham. A fully plant-based menu of European-inspired deliciousness. Showing everyone who walks in the door that we no longer have to choose between pleasure and principles. And voila! Here we are now… still staying up all night, discussing the meaning of life and trying to save the world.

These recipes are edible activism, ethical hedonism. They’re mostly unfussy, unpretentious and shareable. So please share them. Gather around tables, break bread and leave a ton of crumbs like the French do.

Alors, bon ap!