Former NHS worker with 'passion for cooking' to open vegan cafe in Rushden

Sheila Darji's vegan restaurant and cafe will open in January
Sheila Darji's vegan restaurant and cafe will open in January

A vegan cafe run a by former NHS worker with a passion for cooking will open in Rushden next month.

Sheila Darji's Vegan House Cafe and Restaurant in Hamblin Court has undergone a makeover since she took the space over.

It will be Sheila's first time owning a restaurant but she has experience in the food business because she already has her own vegan catering company - Sheila's Kitchen.

"I've got a real passion for cooking," said Sheila, who worked for the NHS for 18 years.

"I always wanted to have my own cafe and restaurant.

"Veganism is a growing market and I wanted to make people aware of the benefits and show them they're not missing out on anything by being vegan."

Sheila's restaurant menu has several items that use meat names to lure in her customers.

She wants to convince them that even though there's no chicken, bacon or sausage in the dish, it still tastes just as good.

"People recognise it more that way and it helps the transition," said Sheila, who lives in Leicester with her husband and two daughters.

"If it has the name of the meat in it it's more appealing.

"The taste is the same."

Some of the dishes include a full English breakfast made with soybean sausages, a butty made with seitan bacon (a food made from gluten), and an eggless yolk that's made from cornflour.

Sheila will also serve a range of curries.

She's currently hiring staff and said her family will lend a hand when they can.

Sheila decided to take up a purely plant-based diet after seeing footage of a slaughterhouse and researching the dairy industry.