The growth of plant-based menus: Stem & Glory

Tacos - plant-based menu ideas - Stem & Glory

Stem & Glory is a 100% plant-based restaurant and catering company with locations in London and Cambridge. Sustainability is at the core of the business and it’s part of the team’s mission to contribute to changing attitudes and behaviours in regard to being kinder to the planet. Their plant-based menus and attitude towards positively impacting the planet have seen Stem & Glory recently named Hospitality Entrepreneur of the Year at the final of Food & Drink Heroes.

Modern Hospitality had the pleasure of speaking with Louise Palmer-Masterton, Founder of Stem & Glory about the growth of her inspirational plant-based business.

1. How did Stem & Glory begin?

“I had been rolling the idea of a restaurant around in my head for a very long time, and had been running various versions of a vegan cafe within my other business for a few years. Finally, late 2016, the opportunity presented to open a full blown restaurant at a central Cambridge location, and Stem & Glory was born. It was an instant hit so I knew we were on to something.”

Plant-based menu - kimchi pancakes

2. How is the demand for plant-based and vegan food growing?

Vegan food has become very mainstream now. Contrary to what many people might believe, we find non vegans very accepting of what we do, and probably most of our customers would define as flexitarian these days – they are just foodies looking to eat healthier and less animal products.”

3. What are the stages of deciding delicious vegan recipes and what’s your personal favourite?

“Ooo that is the six million dollar question! Some of our menu has been with us since the start – like our kimchi pancakes. Other dishes are new – such as our Mushroom ‘Scallops’ (a take on classic scallops).  Others like our Blue Corn Tacos have evolved over time – the ones on our current menu are Korean inspired, and they use British grown carlin peas, as well as our very delicious fake ‘fish’ sticks that are made from king oyster mushroom. I think this dish is my current favourite – it’s a real flavour bomb. Using British grown beans and pulses is something we are pursuing over our entire menu.”

Mushroom Scallops

4. How do you source the plant-based ingredients for your foods?

“As locally as possible, and mostly from just vegetables. We like to create meat substitutes from vegetables rather than fake meats. As well as vegetables, we work with British growers on a wide variety of peas, grains and lentils.”

5. How do you share your plant-based messaging?

“Honestly, we just serve delicious food that happens to be plant-based. My own personal mission is to help people eat less animals. That is the reason I became vegan and it is my life’s work. But that said, I learned long ago that the way to win hearts and minds is with delicious food! We get a great response from all people really. Not everyone is fully plant-based of course, but many many people appear to be moving in that direction, I firmly believe that. If we can be a part of helping delicious plant-based food to evolve even more so that even more people want to eat it, then that’s our job done!”

Vegan and plant-based Chocolate Torte

6. Congratulations on being named Hospitality Entrepreneur of the Year at the final of Food & Drink Heroes. What’s the reception been like?

“We had such a fab week winning that award, and everyone has been so amazingly supportive. I feel very fortunate to have such great people around me – I have some fantastic mentors who have helped me along my way, and our fab team who work tirelessly to deliver what we do with a big smile. The Food and Drink Heroes team are doing great work and it was a huge honour to be recognised in this way.”

Stem and Glory founder Louise Palmer-Masterson receiving the Hospitality of the Year award

7. What’s next for Stem & Glory and how can our readers stay up to date?

“We are on site building our third site at London’s Broadgate Circle. It’s such an iconic location and will be our biggest project to date. We should be open there mid October. We are also working on our ready meals project which should be coming to fruition early next year. We are already viewing for sites 4 and 5, so it’s all go go go! There is a lot of negative talk in the media currently, so we are trying to counter that by looking ahead and getting on with our growth plans in earnest. There are a lot of opportunities presenting themselves to us, and we are excited to grasp them.”