Think the vegan lifestyle is just for barefoot hippies? Think again. The first Melbourne Vegan Festival is about to challenge your notions of meatless living.

Headliners Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway from LA are the controversial vegans behind the food blog and cookbook, Thug Kitchen. “Vegans have a reputation for being sensitive, no fun and boring,” says Davis. “We wanted to show you can be a normal person and still give a fuck about what you eat.” Their blog, which started as a creative outlet for the pair, went viral when it was posted on Reddit. “I was working in a grocery store making no fucking money and Matt was working a shitty office job,” says Davis. “We started this as a side project so we wouldn’t be fucking bored.”

Thug Kitchen’s recipes are developed with cost and time in mind, using common ingredients found in most supermarkets. “We know that shit is hard to find or fucking expensive. If we do include something more exotic, we’ll always make sure there’s a substitute,” says Holloway.

The pair will give a (probably quite sweary) talk about their relationship to veganism and healthy eating, along with a behind-the-scenes look at creating a food blog and cookbook. Festival-goers can also look forward to cooking demonstrations by Lentil As Anything's founder, Shanaka Fernando and Kitchen Gym’s Daniel Crossman.

Other speakers include 79-year old vegan body builder Jim Morris, Raw Satya’s Rosemarie Walmsley speaking on raw food and the Good Brew Company’s Dean O'Callaghan, who will be giving a crash course on brewing vegan medicines as well as detoxifying soft drinks.

The festival will be hosted by Richmond’s Corner Hotel, which has put together a menu including vegan zucchini lentil bolognese, kofta souvlaki and 'fried chicken' with Jameson dipping sauce. Get along and open up your mind to something a little different.

The Melbourne Vegan Festival will take place at The Corner Hotel on Saturday March 21. Doors open at 11am. Tickets are $44 plus a booking fee.

thugkitchen.com

facebook.com/pages/Melbourne-Vegan-Festival