Smiling vegan chef (Lisa Marley) in a chef’s white apron with blonde hair in front of a wooden shelf


Shannen Lythgoe

Rise of a vegan chef: Lisa Marley shares her journey to success

Lisa Marley’s recipes are featured in Metro, Daily Express, Vegan Food & Living, Daily Mirror and others. She appears on Channel 5’s The Secrets of The Fast Food Giants and has travelled the country doing cooking events. Lisa Marley is becoming a very well-known chef in the vegan and plant-based scene, so V-Land had a one-on-one with her to get to know her a little bit better.

V-Land UK (V-L): Hello Lisa! Thanks for the interview. Where did your passion for cooking come from?

Lisa Marley (LM): My passion for food comes from food and eating. I didn’t grow up cooking, but I certainly grew up eating! Food has been a comfort, a friend, an enemy and a joy over the years. Now it’s also a job, but one that I love and that I’m grateful for. 

V-L: Why plant-based cooking, and when did you adopt this lifestyle?

LM: It was a slow process that happened over many years. I started to feel uncomfortable eating meat and eventually stopped eating it. Then it was fish and dairy until eventually, I was fully plant-based. That was roughly six years ago. My main reason is my love of animals, not just pets. 

V-L: What is your favourite cuisine to cook?

LM: I trained as a pastry chef, so my comfort zone is bread, cakes and sweet treats. However, I love spicy food as well as pasta.

Woman (Lisa Marley) baking a cake in her kitchen

Lisa Marley

V-L: You have been featured on BBC Radio, Daily Express, Metro etc. Have you always dreamed of being a recognised vegan chef, or did you let things flow without any expectations?

LM: I’d love to say that it all happened by chance, but actually, I’m proactive. I’m always looking for opportunities and have a not-so-secret desire to be famous. I justify that by ensuring I will highlight and promote the many benefits of a plant-based/vegan lifestyle. I tell myself I’m doing it for the animals, which is actually true. 

V-L: Please tell us more about your relationship with ProVeg UK and what this association does for our community.

LM: ProVeg UK is part of ProVeg International, a food awareness organisation with the mission to reduce the global consumption of animals by 50% by 2040. School Plates is ProVeg UK’s flagship programme, and we work with local authorities to change menus across primary schools. Currently 8,251,200 meals have been swapped to meat-free or plant-based and that number is rising everyday. I’m the chef trainer, and I’m part of a team that runs training workshops in plant-based cooking, and I develop plant-based recipes.

V-L: The dream of many chefs is to release a recipe book. Do you have plans to do the same?

LM: I do! I’m keen to write books and I’m working with a brilliant team at Yellow Poppy Media, and together we are going to make that happen. 

V-L: A starter, a main course, a dessert and a drink. What would you serve us for dinner for our V-Land UK team of 30 collaborators?

LM: Starters would be sticky seitan ribs with a zingy salad. The main course would be Korean style spicy noodles with panko tofu. Dessert would be a raw chocolate hazelnut tart. I’d make a delicious cocktail using a non-alcoholic spirit. I’m trying to be alcohol free but I’d add a shot of tequila for those who wanted it.

V-L: What are your plans and dreams for the future?

LM: I will continue my work with ProVeg as I really believe we are making a positive impact. I’d also like to film cooking shows and be part of mainstream TV. We haven’t got a vegan chef who is a household name in the UK, I’d happily fill that spot. I’d also like to write as many cookbooks as possible. 

For more inspirational guidance, we speak with Emilia Leese on their new book, Think Like a Vegan, and check out vegan MMA fighters proving you can kick ass on a plant-based diet!

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