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INTERVIEW: BOSH! vegan chef duo Henry Firth and Ian Theasby - 27 April 2020

I’VE been telling Henry and Ian about my rather unusual porridge recipe. I make it for my breakfast several times a week.
To a pan of oats, I add soya milk, sliced mushrooms, crushed garlic and (optionally) a handful of frozen peas. Oh, and sometimes spinach. And then I actually eat it.
“That sounds cool,” says Ian.
“I’d quite enjoy that,” agrees Henry.
Oh, bless them.
This vegan chef duo, known as BOSH!, stars of ITV’s Living On The Veg, are the first people I’ve told about this concoction of mine (I’ve not made it up, by the way) who haven’t responded with gagging sounds.
Which suggest they’re either properly impressed (“It’s a very healthy breakfast,” Henry is insisting) or they’re remarkably polite.
Or possibly both, I guess.
Pals since they met at school in Sheffield, Henry Firth and Ian Theasby are not the sort to ram their ideology down your throat. Veganism, which opposes the consumption of any animal-derived product, may have attracted some extremist, confrontational types but that’s clearly not what these two are about.
“We do agree with people who are fighting for more awareness of environmental and animal issues,” Henry points out. “It’s just that we’re better at cooking really tasty food, at showing people how to do it rather than telling them why.”
It has to be said, they’ve made a pretty fine job of that in a fairly short time. Hugely tech-savvy, they’ve built up a massive online presence via Instagram, YouTube etc., where their quick, slick videos make their food look tempting even to hardened carnivores.
Five years ago they were both still meat-eaters, but then Ian felt compelled to make the switch. “My last supper, as I like to call it,” he reflects, “was fish and chips from a place on Upper Street in Islington.”
“At first I thought it was ridiculous,” Henry admits of his pal’s conversion, “but then we watched this film together called Cowspiracy, and I went vegan as well.
“I honestly haven’t missed meat. And if ever we’re missing its flavour, we just find a way to recreate that.”
Rather like the four physical cookbooks they’ve had published, making a terrestrial telly series must have seemed rather quaint for these guys. But they’re canny enough to know the value of cross-the-board appeal.
“TV may be old-fashioned but it’s still extremely powerful,” Ian points out. “There’s a lot of people watching.”
Besides which, they’ve been inspired by some of the finest telly chefs. “Jamie Oliver is a legend,” says Ian. “Gordon Ramsay is really entertaining.
“And, well, let’s throw Nigella Lawson in there as well, for obvious reasons…”
The BOSH! boys insist they’re not out to convert anyone. Lots of their mates are still meat-eaters. Ian even comes from a family of farmers. “We recognise the amazing things farmers do,” says Henry. “They’re not intentionally trying to damage people’s health or harm the planet. We get that.”
“It’s not about being combative or militant,” Ian adds. “Just be pleasant to people. Everyone’s got their own opinion. Everyone’s on their own journey.”

CLICK here for the BOSH! YouTube channel

 

BOSH!'s FAVOURITE THINGS:

 

HENRY FIRTH:

FILM: Interstellar

TV SHOW: This Morning

ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix

COMEDIAN: The Impractical Jokers

SPORTSPERSON: Jessica Ennis-Hill

SPORTS TEAM: Sheffield Wednesday

SPORTING EVENT: Snooker at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre

SONG: Highwayman, by The Highwaymen

SINGER: Seal

BAND: Daft Punk

MEAL: A good vegan lasagne

SNACK: BOSH! Hoi Sin Mushroom Pancakes

COLOUR: Blue

DRINK: Watermelon Jägerbomb

CITY: London

HOLIDAY DESTINATION: At the moment? My roof!

BUILDING: Tower Bridge

GADGET: Canon EOS R camera

APP: Waking Up (meditation app)

SCHOOL SUBJECT: Physics

FIGURE FROM HISTORY: Albert Einstein

ANIMAL: Dog

 

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IAN THEASBY:

FILM: Drive

TV SHOW: Living On The Veg

ACTOR: Natalie Portman

COMEDIAN: Kweku Ackom-Mensah

SPORTSPERSON: David Beckham

SPORTS TEAM: England Rugby Union team

SPORTING EVENT: FIFA World Cup

SONG: Bring It On Down, by Oasis

SINGER: Bob Dylan

BAND: Arctic Monkeys

MEAL: Stir Fry

SNACK: Popcorn

COLOUR: Green

DRINK: Water

CITY: London

HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Ibiza

BUILDING: Natural History Museum

GADGET: iPhone

APP: Instagram

SCHOOL SUBJECT: Geography

FIGURE FROM HISTORY: Martin Luther King Jr.

ANIMAL: Cat

 

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