Hello, I am Anna Valentine. I’ve had a passion for food from a very young age and now I want to share this love with others.
I come from a family of well travelled foodies. We grew up trying cuisines that were different to other kids. This contributed to my creativity with food and I clearly remember experimenting with recipes from a very young age and feeding the results to my poor sister. A now very dear friend introduced me to vegetarian food from the age of 10, and by 12 I had become a devoted vegetarian.
I trained to become a chef instead of finishing my final year at college, and spent 10 years in the industry working in top restaurants, cafes and starting a couple of my own catering and market ventures in New Zealand and overseas before creating New Zealand’s first commercially available kumara chips ‘The Original Kumara Chips’.
Shortly after starting the kumara chip business my husband (and business partner Gareth) and I had two beautiful daughters - it changed the game a bit. We were living in Northland and I wanted to continue to be a stay at home mother, this meant we couldn’t expand the business as much as we had wanted to and I had a burning desire to share how to raise a healthy family on a plant-based diet. We sold the business (which was not an easy decision) and in 2016 The Veggie Tree was born.
The Veggie Tree is made up of cook schools, recipe sharing, blogging and seasonal cookbooks.
The cook schools are held twice a month in our century old Kauri villa in Kaeo. I cater to all different cookery levels, ages and tastes - vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free - there is something for everyone.
Wanting to reach further afield than Kaeo, I've created, photographed and self-published ‘The Veggie Tree Autumn & Winter Cookbook’ and have recently finished the 'The Veggie Tree Spring & Summer Cookbook' to share my recipes with a larger audience. It is a compilation of recipes that I cook for my family; they have also been tried and tested at the cook schools. They are easy everyday recipes that will inspire you to eat more plant based meals with ingredients that are readily available - I hope you enjoy them.