The First Mess is one of my favorite vegan blogs out there. Entering this beautiful space created by Laura Wright is like sinking into the most comfy, cozy chair in a warm house on a cold day. Laura’s food, photography, and endless creativity have been a huge inspiration to me over the years. I’m so thrilled to share more about Laura and her work in this interview!
When you really love food and the process of selecting, chopping, and prepping, cooking can be sort of an emotional experience. Touching, smelling, seeing, and tasting a great dish invites all of the senses to become fully alive and reminds us to savor the present moment.
We eat with our eyes first, and Laura’s food reminds us just how beautiful plants can be when prepared with joy. I love Laura’s process shots, which invite us into her space and keep us curious about the recipe she’s creating. Her culinary school background and experience working in vegan restaurants shines through in her precision and artistry.
The action of vegan cooking goes beyond just selecting ingredients and creating a dish. It’s also a practice of kindness. Vegan bloggers not only play a key role in inspiring others to eat more plants but also discover the joy of compassionate living. Laura’s work is a stunning example of the power vegan bloggers have to make a positive impact in the world.
I love diving into Laura’s Saturday Sun articles, where she recaps things she is reading, enjoying, and working on in her life. Sharing a glimpse into her world helps foster a sense of community and connection. This is something that I certainly need and assume others also need quite a bit right now.
The First Mess Cookbook
One of my favorite cookbooks to cook from, especially in the fall, is Laura’s The First Mess Cookbook. Published back in 2017, it’s remained a well-worn and favorite resource to cook and get inspiration from.
Read on below to learn more about Laura’s approach to cooking, her thought process, and her goal to make recipes approachable and doable for her wide audience.
Interview With Laura Wright
When did you start to cook and what about the process itself kept you interested in it?
I started cooking with intention when I decided to try a totally plant-based way of life. That was about 15 years ago-ish? Then I just naturally became more interested in the process of nourishing myself and recreating those familiar flavours with 100% plants.
I had grown up with seasonal food because of my dad’s local produce and grocery business, but this decision took things a step further for me. After I made this choice, I enrolled in a nutritional culinary program, started working in restaurants, and volunteered at a food bank. All of these things only deepened my interest. I was being exposed to the role of food in so many different contexts. This made the process of cooking so much more meaningful for me.
More On Recipe Development
Describe your process of recipe development. How do you come up with fresh and new ideas for The First Mess on a regular basis?
My recipes mostly start with a craving, a seasonal ingredient, or a combination of flavours that I really love. From there, I plan the cooking method and try to be mindful of how many ingredients, the time it will take, how many dishes are needed, etc.
I used to just cook whatever I felt like and didn’t really pay attention to the economies of time, effort, and cost. Now I kind of approach recipe development with a degree of problem solving. Of course my first priority is to make the recipe delicious and satisfying, but I also want folks to feel like cooking this particular thing is doable for them right now.
Define your own style of cooking.
Familiar with a few little unexpected turns, hearty, earthy, bright, and nourishing for all senses.
Describe the best dish you’ve ever made.
My mushroom and beet bolognese is up there. For me, the experience of cooking and eating it is on par with the traditional version. It’s comforting, feel-good, the flavours are so rich and deep, and it’s also a bit romantic in a way? I don’t know, I’m just really proud of the recipe!
Some Of Laura’s Cooking Heroes
Do you have any culinary heroes?
The home cooks that I grew up with in my family! My mom, Nana, grandma, my aunts … they were always getting it done, no matter what the day or life threw at them. I’m also always inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi, Bryant Terry, and the entertaining QUEEN of our generation Ina Garten.
If you could choose anyone to cook with in the kitchen, who would it be?
Definitely Ina! Maybe we could vegan-ize her iconic Outrageous Brownies™️ together 🙂
If you could throw a party for anyone, who would be there and what would the menu look like?
It’s a boring answer, but probably my extended family. I haven’t seen a bunch of them in so long, and keeping those connections alive and well is important to me. We would probably grill a bunch of things and make some big and beautiful salads. There would be homemade focaccia, dip and crudite platters, and something crowd-pleasing for dessert like chocolate cake and ice cream.
Stay Connected with Laura!
Check Out More Interviews With These Vegan Bloggers!
I love the opportunity to get to know vegan bloggers better through my Why I Cook interviews. Check them out to discover new bloggers or learn more about your favorites!