Life in the kitchen: An interview with Pastry and Raw Vegan Chef, Lore Salas

Life Kitchens showroom recently had the pleasure of hosting professional pastry and raw vegan chef, Lore Salas, as she baked a selection of beautiful plant-based desserts in our kitchen, whilst filming for the launch of her brand-new online cookery school, AureaTo celebrate the launch of Aurea, we sat down with Lore, also founder of the successful food blog, Dates & Avocados, to chat about how she became the amazing chef she is today, to find out what made her choose a plant-based lifestyle, and to discover how she found her time baking in the Life Kitchens showroom...

Firstly, we'd love to learn more about you! Have you always had a plant-based diet, and if not, what made you change your lifestyle?  

"No, I haven't always had a plant-based diet, although, as a child I was never too excited about eating meat or fish anyway. I was always drawn to plant-based food and I think this was mainly because my father used to favour cooking it at home. I was always the type of child that would bring fruit and a homemade sandwich to school when my classmates would eat donuts and sugary pastries, so I would definitely say I have my family to thank for encouraging me to eat healthily from a young age.

"When I left home, especially during my college years, I started taking less care of my health, with junk food and a bad sleeping pattern becoming the norm. 

"But, eventually I decided enough was enough and started to focus on my health again, going fully vegan in 2013. There were moral reasons behind it, but I was also very aware of the health benefits of choosing a plant-based diet." 

Was professional baking something you always wanted to do?

"To be honest, no it wasn't. I've always had a sweet tooth, but i'd never thought about it in professional terms growing up. My university degree is actually in civil engineering, and I spent a number of years working as a Physics and Maths teacher! Baking was always just something I loved doing in my spare time. 

"When I moved to Houston I decided to enroll in a pastry school as a way into the food industry. As I developed my skills and experimented with my passion for plant-based desserts, Instagram came along and changed everything- it gave me a space to creatively share my recipes and finally enabled me to make a living out of my passion." 

Where do you find the inspiration for your bakes?

"I think about food 24/7. I consider countries to visit based on the food they have and I will always like a house based on its kitchen; I just can't help but see the world through a 'cooking lens'. And, as I have a huge sweet tooth i'm just always craving something! 

"I'm inspired by amazing chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi and pastry chefs like Will Goldfarb, but I also get a lot of inspiration from independent bakeries and cafes, like e5 Bakery in Hackney which is a personal favourite. 

"There is also a never ending stream of inspiration to be taken from the seasonal produce at my local farmers' market. I'm always on the look out for something new and interesting." 

Now, let's discuss the exciting launch of your online cookery courses! How long has Aurea been in the making and what brought about the idea?

"Well, we've been exploring the idea of an online cookery school since October 2018, during a trip to Tuscany (It's not hard to find inspiration in Italy!). It took a couple of months to really figure out whether we could bring the idea to life, but we finally began working on it in 2019. It took almost a year but it was worth it to launch Aurea in November.

"In terms of why, I've been very fortunate to find amazing teachers through my years of study, so this, combined with my previous experience in teaching helped to ignite a passion I had to help others explore their own creativity in cooking.

"I also believe that a plant-based lifestyle has the potential to change the world for the better. I feel like it's not just my passion, but my responsibility to help empower individuals and organisations to eat more naturally and to avoid the processed, artificial foods of our currently unsustainable food chain."   

 We've absolutely loved having you in the showroom! Why did you choose Life Kitchens as your filming location for Aurea?

"I actually found you on Instagram and I was blown away by your beautiful kitchens! Personally, I can't appreciate a house until I step into the kitchen and imagine myself cooking in there, so the kitchen we filmed in was always going to be an important choice.

"For me, it's the details that matter when cooking food that's close to my heart. I'm emotionally invested in my bakes, so it's just as important to me that the crockery reflects the style of my bakes, as much as it's important that the ingredients do. This also applies for the kitchen and the environment I work in. I strive to create elegant, delicate desserts, normally with a contemporary twist on a traditional recipe, and in my food photography I obsess over whether every line and geometric pattern has a purpose. All of this style was clear in Life Kitchens. Each kitchen is unique to the customer, designed perfectly to reflect their lifestyle, just as I create every dessert to be individual. Life Kitchens was a perfect visual and conceptual blend and reflected exactly the look I wanted to represent in my cookery courses for Aurea." 

What was your favourite part about cooking in a Life kitchen and were there any features that particularly helped you?  

"One of my favourite things about the kitchen was definitely the worksurface space. It was amazing to have so much room to get my equipment and ingredients in order- it really improved my efficiency. Not to mention, the marble and timber pairing was beautiful!

"It was also great to try out some of the cutting edge appliances in Life Kitchens that I've never had the chance to work with before- such as an oven than heats up in seconds and a fridge with no condensation! Everything is designed to make your cooking and life much easier so these were a delight to work with."

What was your favourite bake from your time in the showroom?

"I’d definitely go for the vegan Tiramisu. The reason being because after we had finished filming the recipe, Daniela, your amazing kitchen designer, came to taste it, loved it and couldn’t believe it was vegan! That coming from a proud Italian made me so happy. No matter how long you've been a chef, it's always lovely to hear that people love your recipes. It was great having Daniela around!"

Lastly, we'd love to know what we can expect from Dates & Avocados and Aurea in 2020! Do you have any exciting plans for future projects?

"My goal with my food blog, Dates & Avocados, is to keep promoting the benefits of plant-based food and to continue to share interesting vegan recipes. This year, I'm doing more consulting and menu development around the world which is exciting, and we're also hoping that a documentary we filmed in Tuscany last year will be aired during 2020! If that wasn't enough, my first pastry book was published in Spanish in 2019, so we're working on having it translated to English this year. It's set to be very busy!

"In terms of Aurea, it will feature two more exciting courses before Summer: Raw Desserts and Plant-based baking. My ambition with the project is for it to become the world's reference for online plant-based desserts!"

Explore Lore's amazing plant-based recipes at Dates & Avocados and learn more about her online cookery courses at Aurea

Follow Lore's journey and explore her beautiful food photographer over on Instagram

Want to explore our Life Kitchens showroom for yourself? Why not pay us a visit to see how we can help you bring your kitchen dreams to life?

Book a visit via our website here, or call 0203 972 0150.

If you can't get to our showroom, don't worry- you can get all the kitchen inspiration you need from our Life brochure