A group of inspiring entrepreneurial women are bringing unique plant-based food from across the world to London.
Lady Lane Catering started in 2019 off the back of Lady Lane Market, London’s first female-led market.
Supported by Tower Hamlets Council, the programme supports independent local women to grow their emerging businesses.
They include Amiira Ismail from Somalia, Leila RMD from the Caribbean, Sophia Mohamed from Eritrea, Woin Tegegn from Ethiopia and Syeda Hussain from Bangladesh, each offering diverse courses inspired by the cuisines of their home countries.
Sophia, 41, runs Aseel’s Kitchen and believes that the project is a great way to empower women to fulfil their dreams.
She said: “I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time, to bring Middle Eastern food to the east of London.
“I would say to any woman, just do it. Sometimes you are the main barrier. Just do what you love the most and enjoy it.
“Before Covid, we had so many projects as a group. With Tower Hamlets Council we were working on food poverty projects.
“And then Covid came and I had to stop totally. There were no options.”
Woin, 43, is the chef behind Ethiopic Kitchen and is passionate about making plant-based food more readily available for everyone.
She said: “Food brings people together and brings so much love. At Lady Lane Catering we do home cooking and that makes a big difference for the local community.
“I want to make being vegan accessible for everyone and be able to deliver to different places.
Woin replaces the meat in her dishes with vegan substitutes in a way that best reflects authentic Ethiopian culture.
She said: “I started my vegan food because in Ethiopia our religion means we do not eat animal products for 250 days a year.
“I want everyone to get the same flavour from my food as they can get from meat. I try to create the meat dish that we eat as a culture and make it vegan so we don’t miss anything.
“It was a very tough time, but it’s back to normal now.”
The Canvas Cafe pop-up is providing the women with the chance to relaunch their menus following a difficult year of lockdowns and uncertainty.
Sophia’s current menu includes stuffed vine leaves, a succulent Moroccan vegetable tagine and a Middle Eastern platter including falafels, tabbouleh and hummus.
Woin’s plant-based menu includes brown lentil spring rolls, lentil spice stew and beetroot stew, all served with fresh Ethiopian flat bread.
Featured image credit: The Canvas