BISH BASH BOSH!
Having been behind the fastest selling debut cookbook of last year, Sheffield’s Bosh! Boys are once again putting the hipster into vegan food with a brand new collection of plant-based recipes.
Y ou’ve got to hand it to them, the Bosh! Boys are never off message. The poster boys for the plant-based food movement are almost evangelical when it comes to the benefits of a vegan diet and their enthusiasm for on-trend ingredients from jackfruit (veganism’s answer to pulled pork) to aquafaba (chickpea water to you and me) is so infectious it will have even the most committed carnivore reaching for the tofu.
“If you haven’t tried banana blossom, you must,” says Ian Theasby, who is one half of the culinary double act alongside Henry Firth. “It’s a tropical plant and its flesh is just like a piece of cod. Cook it right and you can’t tell the difference between it and traditional fish and chips, honestly it’s incredible.”
It’s not just fish and chips which the pair have given a vegan makeover. In their new book Bish Bash Bosh! (well, what else would they call it?) they have also magicked up meat-free versions of foie gras, steak and chips and a traditional Sunday roast.
“There is still a perception that veganism is about giving things up,” says Henry. “We wanted to show with this book that even if you don’t eat meat you don’t have to sacrifice your favourite things. We love pie and chips, we love pizzas and burgers and this book is about showing people how you can recreate those dishes with plants.”
The success of the Bosh! Boys is impressive. Best friends since meeting at school in Sheffield at the age of 11, Ian’s conversion to veganism began in 2015 after initially deciding to give up alcohol for three months. Finding it easy, he then cut out meat and so convinced was he of the health benefits that his thoughts soon turned to opening a restaurant.
“My plan was to set up in Sheffield, but then I got a call from Henry who had moved down to London. He shared the same passion for a plant-based diet but having come from a background in marketing he reckoned that instead of going down the restaurant route with all the risk that entails we should look at building an online platform.”
It was a savvy move. Ian joined Henry in London and within the year the pair had launched the Bosh! Boys YouTube channel. Naturals in front of the camera, their brand of simple, no fuss – and crucially nonpreachy – veganism was pretty much an overnight hit.
With their most popular masterclasses soon gaining almost two million views a cookbook was the natural next step and its publication happily coincided with veganism going fully mainstream.
“We’d put a lot of time into researching the recipes,” says Ian. “We were confident that we had a really good collection, but yes, the timing couldn’t have been better. The plantbased food movement has been growing quietly, but last year it just exploded.
“It had begun with Veganuary in the new year which saw more people then ever go meat-free for a month, then mainstream supermarkets really began to up their game and it has continued this year with even Greggs launching its vegan sausage roll.”
Bosh! was not only the most successful debut cookbook of last year, but it is now the most successful debut vegan cookbook ever. Keen to capitalise on the success, their new book is just out, it will be followed later in the year with what they are describing as a practical guide to veganism and the pair are also in talks about the possibility of a TV show.
“If it happens, then great, we’d love to do it, but the beauty of having the YouTube channel is that it’s immediate. We can wake up in the morning, have an idea, film it in the afternoon and then by the evening we’re already getting feedback.”
Always experimenting, the pair have included 140 recipes in their latest collection, but there is one Great British delicacy noticeable only by its absence. Despite much effort, the pair have yet to master the vegan equivalent of the Yorkshire pudding.
“We are still working on it,” says Ian. “We are almost there. We’ve got the flavour, but the texture is not quite right. We’ll get there and when we do the vegan friendly Yorkshire pud might just be our greatest achievement ever.”