this is real! Today I received the FIRST printed #hotforfoodcookbook and opened it LIVE on all the social platforms but YouTube didn’t work 🙄 so I just uploaded the taped UNBOXING now to @hotforfood’s channel! That means 2 videos from me this week so go WATCH AT LINK IN PROFILE 👆🏼and THANK YOU to EVERYONE who’s pre-ordered this sexy thing! I can’t wait for you to have it in your hands 💚 Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face 💥 arrives February 27, 2018 💚 * * * #LaurenIRL #hotforfood #hotforfoodies #cookbook #feedyourface #vegancomfortclassics #author #tenspeedpress #vegansofig #vegancookbook #foodtuber #veganrecipes #youtuber #unboxing #cookbookreveal #foodblogger #books #recipes #vegancomfortfood #govegan

A post shared by Lauren Toyota (@laurentoyota) on

 

Hello Lauren, thanks so much for getting in touch on instagram! This is panning out to be my favorite channel for networking, what about you?

I’ve always loved instagram. It’s been very good to hot for food. I’ve also been able to connect with other vegan foodstagrammers and make friends around the world. It’s always funny when you meet up in real life too. It helps the job feel less isolating when you do connect with people doing the same thing as you. Sometimes the internet can be a lonely place until you bridge that distance! When I was in Ecuador I actually met up with a girl who follows us and she showed me around the city. It was amazing!

 

You mentioned meet-ups in your recent vlog, what’s great about getting in touch like this?

 

I was always afraid to do them for a few different reasons. But I just did a small meet up in New Orleans with Timothy from @mississippivegan and it was so fun to meet the people who make all the recipes from hot for food and were genuinely so happy to have found a resource like it. So that makes me feel good of course, but again it’s nice to bridge that distance we have as people who create on the internet. I try to reveal as much as I can and be super transparent online but to meet people in real life makes a huge difference and reignites that inspiration for why I started it in the first place!

 

10 years ago you became a VJ at Much Music. I enjoyed watching it in Canada, but that was 2001, way before your time, what did you most love about that job?

 

I loved that I made my dream come true. It was the only dream I ever had since I was a teenager and I made it happen. That was always a powerful feeling. I also loved being on television and getting to talk about my only passion (at the time), music and entertainment. It’s funny how things change! I never thought I’d get tired of it, but I did and I’ve found new creative outlets.

 

And what did you hate the most, about the business itself maybe?

It’s very superficial which I hate with a passion. It’s also very unpredictable. You go to work every day not knowing if you’ll have a job the next day. I know that might sound strange, but my entire television career happened for a decade in time when big changes were happening and the internet was pushing it in directions it wasn’t ready to face, so my job was always on the line and I was always having to adapt and change shows, networks etc. It got to me deeply after a while and I just didn’t like that aspect of the business.

 

You interviewed celebrities like Kermit the frog back then, which people from now would you love to ask questions?

 

I feel like I’ve also interviewed a lot of people in the past that are still very relevant now – Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Justin Bieber. Those are people I would be fascinated to talk to again at this stage in their careers. And as superficial as it is, I would love to interview the Kardashians so I could get a real read on them in person! That was always my favorite thing to do, pick up on vibes within the interaction I was having with these fascinating people that the public worships and sort out in my own head (maybe even in a judgemental way) what’s really going on behind the rehearsed answers they were just spitting out! Also I’ve always wanted to meet and interview Oprah… so maybe one day!

 

You went vegan on Jan 1 2010 and why did you go vegan?

I was sick of feeling sick from food all the time. It was the meat, dairy, and eggs that I couldn’t digest. I transitioned each thing out of my diet the few months leading up to Jan 1st but by the start of the year I was committed to eating a vegan diet.

 

You have shared your opinion about vegan and cruelty-free make up in your channel, too, wanna drops some current faves?

 

I’ve really gone off wearing makeup since working from home but when I have to use it I like the Pacifica products, 100% Pure, and I swear by my brow pencil from Hourglass. It’s expensive but I’ve never seen anything else like it.

 

 

How did Snicklefritz enter your life?

When I moved to Vancouver to start my first television job my boss had Snickles. She had a busy life and travelled on weekends and felt bad leaving the cat at home. One of the first things she asked me when I started the job was if I wanted a cat. She could maybe tell I loved cats?! I immediately said YES! And when I met Snickles I was totally in love. So I just adopted him from her. This was in 2005.

What’s his favorite food?

Snickles will not touch any human food. He gets a mix of a diet food from the vet that is a meat based food and we mix it with Evolution Diet, a vegan wet cat food. He’s done much better on less meat but he won’t eat the vegan food on it’s own. They even give nutritional yeast to mix it with (apparently cats like nooch?!) but Snickles won’t touch it!

How do you manage to care for him when you are travelling?

He’s got great grandparents and aunties. We either have someone come stay at the house or we transport him to the suburbs to stay with the grandparents. He doesn’t mind, as long as he’s getting fed!

 

You also made a vlog for Lauren in real life about this, but those who did not catch it: Do you ever get tired of the question about your ethnicity?

I guess I’m used to it now. It’s just a common question from people when you look different. I’ve been told I look different my whole life. That’s what being bullied as a kid taught me. That I’m different and not accepted for how I look. But that all helps you become a solid strong person as an adult. Anyway, now I just brush it off, it’s just part of my life. I guess it’s kind of weird, but I know I’ve asked people that before too because I’m genuinely curious because I think they’re beautiful or something so I suppose it’s coming from a good place when people ask me. Or at least I like to think so!

When you are at vegan events, what are you wishing for those to include more?

Ok total honesty… I wish vegan events didn’t have such lame music acts. That might sound rude, but there’s this “super vegan” vibe at vegan events that really isn’t appealing or mainstream. It makes vegans seem weird, so I always complain about that when we go to vegan festivals or events. You would never see these kind of acts at any other event, just a vegan event! Granted, I understand vegan events don’t have huge budgets to pay but there are definitely good indie up and coming acts who are just trying to get gigs. They could have a more palatable sound and I’m sure they’d want to play and get exposure. Maybe I’m wrong?! I don’t know. OK rant over.

What are your favorite IG and YT accounts and vegan friends to recommend to us and our readers?

Check out my pals @mississippivegan @sweetpotatosoul @culvercitysalads @chloescountertop @erinireland AND there’s a couple people who I’ve found because they follow @hotforfood and take amazing photos of our recipes and other creations so look up @violet_1223 @rebeccafergg

Off the top of your head, what’s the audience’s top 3 of your recipes?

nacho cheese sauce http://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2015/1/22/nacho-cheese

cauliflower buffalo wings http://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/2/11/cauliflower-buffalo-wings

the perfect mac & cheese http://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2013/05/20/perfect-vegan-mac-cheese

I adore your concept of RECIPE? because that is how I cook most of the time. Of course I have been cooking many of your recipes as well, loved the scallops in particular, but raiding the fridge and making something from the things you have and need to use in order not to waste them, that’s pretty awesome. Where and when did you come up with that idea for a vlog?

It was one of the first videos I shot on the hot for food channel, before we even decided we were going to create YouTube content regularly. I recall thinking it was so funny that people would comment RECIPE?! in an instagram post of something I was eating at a restaurant or something that we just made for breakfast that morning and decided to post it on instagram. I was always thinking, “there isn’t a recipe for everything. Don’t you just cook food and eat it?” I also loathed the recipe development process for a long time and didn’t like having to write down what I was doing. Which is funny since I wanted to run a food blog!  So one day I wanted to shoot a video but John was away. Up until then he was the one helping shoot videos and at that time the few videos we had posted just featured my hands and we were not on camera. So I put the camera on the tripod and set it up in front of the counter and had to just whip something together with no plan. I knew I wanted RECIPE?! to be a thing so I just tried it. And I was mocking the audience for asking me that all the time on social media. Sometimes I like being a B… which I’m sure you’ve gathered by now! haha

You have been extremely busy with handing in everything for your first cookbook, something I have been anticipating since I watched your videos ❤ tell us about the the good, the bad and the ugly of the whole process!
Well I tend to make things difficult for myself by getting stressed and letting anxiety take over. The idea of creating something so permanent and professional like a published cookbook really put a lot of pressure on me. I did want to do it and I made that decision, but then once I was into it I was so stressed about it all the time. I didn’t think I had enough time to do it properly and I thought I would just not finish it. It was so overwhelming. I had never made that many recipes in such a short time period. Plus I wasn’t taking a break from anything else, like YouTube content creation, so I really was overloaded with too many commitments. There’s only so many hours in a day and I could literally work on hot for food from all angles constantly. But I love cooking and taking food photos. So once I did get into a groove with it and the creativity was flowing I really thrived in that. I love creating things so it was nice to just be in my element in the kitchen everyday creating. I am proud of what I made and taking a step back now that we’re in the editing and design stage it’s nice to see it all come together.

Honestly: Would you do a second one?

I’ve thought about that. And I probably would. But I would definitely need to have more time. This felt very rushed to be honest.

…comparing writing (for the book and the blog) and speaking, what’s closer to your heart i.e. comes more natural?

Speaking and being on camera definitely comes more naturally. I CAN write and I think my voice and personality does come through but I prefer just speaking off the cuff and looking down the lense of a camera. I know people can listen to it over and over but it doesn’t make me feel as insecure as people reading my written word.

Sooooo, a lot of things have happened since your 2015 clip of your aquafaba test kitchen…did you ever conquer the Lemon Meringue Pie?

Yes and it’s in the cookbook!

In 2017, you said, you would “love to have a million youtube subscribers”, currently it’s 300.000+, a huge number already. Nothing goes without permanent self marketing to grow bigger…what do you love and loathe about working with social media channels?

I find it does come easily to me and naturally. I don’t think long and hard about what to write in the description. I don’t ponder for hours about what to post. I just get impulses and then I follow through. So I do enjoy sharing on social media and I like that I have essentially an art gallery of all this cool stuff I make. But I don’t like looking at social media. I know why there are stats out there saying it’s making people depressed and have low self-esteem. If I get too sucked into it all those insecure feelings come over me like a tidal wave almost immediately… and comparison and judgement. It can be an icky place to exist so I try not to spend a lot of time scrolling. I just do my business and get off. For me it’s also a business. It’s how I’ve grown and continue to grow my business. I suppose it’s just a love/hate kind of relationship. It’s how our whole society functions now so you have to kind of be on board, but you also can’t take it seriously at the same time and kind of laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. That’s kind of how I feel about life in general, really!

People seem to love “What I ate in a day” videos in general, why do you think that is?

I have NO idea! It’s like, people love watching people eat, we know that from the success of The Food Network, but with YouTube it’s taken on an even deeper meaning and importance. But I do think it’s popular because food and eating is what rules our lives. We do it all day long and we’re all very confused about what to eat. It’s not simple. So there’s some entertainment in it for sure, but I think there’s also education and a relatability to it that people really crave.

What did you eat today?

As I answer these questions I have a coffee with almond milk and a bowl of cut up peaches and strawberries.

Are you a fan of the whole meal prep craze? (I honestly have no desire to do it, haha)

I can see why it’s so successful. I look at meal prep videos and those have THE MOST VIEWS EVER! But I feel like ain’t nobody got time for that. Maybe the regimented routine helps some people if they have eating issues or really have no inspiration to cook or be in the kitchen everyday. But I can’t eat the same thing over and over. I get so bored. I also have no desire to put all that work into producing that video for people! I kind of feel like, duh, can’t you just connect the dots yourselves and prep some of my recipes to last throughout the week.

What are your favorite places to eat out in your hometown, Toronto?

I love Hogtown Vegan for comfort food, Fresh for tasty food you could make at home but you’re too lazy to do it, Khao San Road for the best Thai food ever, and I wish this place was closer but Beechwood Doughnuts in St. Catharines has the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted.

Which food do you love having delivered?

We get Fresh delivered all the time. Always the BBQ burgers and quinoa onion rings!

I got the feeling the best place you ever had vegan food was Las Vegas, is that still so?

Yes. Mainly at the Wynn Encore hotel on the strip. We didn’t stay at that hotel but next time we will. You could stay there the whole time and eat the best vegan food of your life! You can even order room service. But there’s surprisingly so much vegan food in Vegas on the strip and in Fremont.

Don’t you think it’s so depressing that the more you taste great food, make great food, eat great food, the higher your standards are so you are literally sad if the food sucks? (Thinking of your New Orleans vlog and many times I have been sitting in a restaurant, haha.)

Yes kind of. I know that’s a total first world problem, but I am so picky now. However it has now become part of what I do to review things and I think just like the regular culinary world you have to honestly review food and products so that people can take that feedback and step up their game. There’s no excuse for why vegan food should be held to a lower standard than regular food, and it often seems like it is. You hear this all the time… “that’s good for vegan”. No, it should be good for being food that I’m putting in my mouth and paying a lot of money for!

What has changed the most for you food-wise in the last 7 years of you being vegan?

Well I was definitely healthier and more balanced before food and cooking became my career. Ironic? I just find work comes first and so I go without eating for a long time which I never used to do. I have to get better at bringing some balance to my life. Honestly, I feel like this takes up so much of my time that everything else falls to the wayside. I can’t sustain that obviously! But I also have no body or diet issues. I never had anything severe or problematic before but I’ve just let go of a lot of rudimentary and neurotic thinking about food and health. Which I’m glad about. Going vegan helped with that, but when I first started I still thought I had to be vegan in a certain way. Like, an uber healthy way. And that’s just not for me. Now that’s the kind of attitude I share and promote so I hope it’s helpful to people. My tastes have also changed. When I first went vegan I had a big sweet tooth and it’s almost entirely gone. Except for doughtnuts. I have a doughnut tooth. And what’s funny is when I was an omnivore I thought eating doughnuts was evil. I had this thing about fat actually for a long time. I eat all the “bad” things now that I’m vegan because they don’t seem like bad things anymore without the animal products in them.

What’s the one kitchen utensil you can never live without?

My vitamix blender

If you had your own cookery show on the food network and you could not name it hot for food, what name would it have?

Feed Your Face

So, quick round this or that to wrap this up:

Matcha or Cold Brew?

Cold Brew or Nitro

Bowl or Wrap?

Bowl

Cat hair or dog hair?

Cat hair

Ocean or mountains?

Ocean

Netflix or Amazon Prime?

Netflix

Ramsay or Bourdain?

Bourdain

Pasta or Pizza?

Pasta

okaaaay #hotforfoodies ya gotta get your ass in gear to #feedyourface with the BEST @hotforfood recipes to date! All part of the #hotforfoodcookbook 💚Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face💚 available to PRE-ORDER NOW! and if you do that you’ll get a FREE BONUS E-BOOK of even more recipes that won’t be available anywhere else! 💥FOLLOW THE LINK IN MY PROFILE TO GET YOUR E-BOOK NOW💥(📷 @vanessaheins 💗) * * * #hotforfood #noods #eating #whatveganseat #noodles #whatveganslooklike #foodie #vegancomfortclassics #comfortfood #saucey #LaurenIRL #recipes #cookbook #author #cookbookauthor #foodstagram #foodtuber #foodblogger #eatvegan #hotgirlseatingvegan #govegan #foodphotography #foodporn #foodforlife

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KAT

image

.lgbtqia+ activist

.intersectional feminist

.vegan 2009

.straight edge 1998