Now equally celebrated for her musical talent as for her skills as a chef, Ōtautahi-born and based Flip Grater has recently added cookbook author to her list of talents. Photos Tonia Shuttleworth
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.
Ahhhh apéro! Our favourite time of day and the inspiration for everything that Grater Goods is. Both a noun and a verb, you can have, take, or go for apéro. It can begin any time between 3pm and 5pm and last between 1–5 hours. It is simply the act of stopping your day, having a glass of whatever and a snack prior to dinner, usually with others.
Our daughter Anaïs calls this ‘mescargots’ as in, my escargot! It’s a great way to use wild mushrooms in autumn but can be made any time of the year with Paris button mushrooms. Serve with bread to mop up all those garlicky juices.
8 medium button mushrooms
cup vegan butter (or dairy-free spread)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, finely sliced
6–8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup Chardonnay
½ cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 sheet nori, cut into small pieces
sea salt to taste
pinch black pepper
bunch chopped parsley
crusty bread to serve
This is a version of one of our classic cheeses created by our brilliant production manager Sonya. She’s been with us since really early days and helped make Grater Goods what it is today. She’s incredibly hard working, caring and hilarious and we love her.
260 g soaked cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 clove garlic
¼ cup water
A word on cashews: Cashew pieces are ideal for a lot of this kind of recipe as they soften faster and they’re loads cheaper. They will blend best if soaked overnight but if you’re disorganised (like me) simply pour boiling water over raw nuts and leave for at least 10 minutes before blending.
Makes 1 oven tray
1 cup gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup linseeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds (switch out any of these for other seeds or even rolled oats as a cheaper option)
1 cup hot water
¼ cup rice bran oil
Excerpt and photos from The Grater Good by Flip Grater, Koa Press, $44.95