Pizza, but hold the meat and cheese: Edmonton gets first vegan pizza place
DIE PIE opens its doors on Jasper Avenue this Friday
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Traditional pizza this is not: Neil Royale is cooking up pizza without any meat or cheese.
Sound impossible? Not so, say Royale and his sous chef (and sister), Karuna Goodall, who will soon be serving up vegan and vegetarian fare at Alberta’s first plant-based pizzeria, DIE PIE.
“Our goal is to have everyone enjoy our food,” said Royale. “We want someone to come in and have a pizza without knowing it’s plant-based, not even noticing. We want to mimic how meat or cheese is as closely as possible.”
They hope to accomplish this with crust that is gluten, dairy and egg-free, with meats and cheeses sprinkled on top made from different non-animal ingredients. For example, the pulled-pork on the menu is made of jackfruit, which has pulp similar in texture to pork and can be seasoned to taste like it.
Meanwhile, cheddar and mozzarella cheese is made with cashews and coconut oil while the havarti is created using hemp seed.
The vegan cheese is actually how DIE PIE got its start.
While living and working as a Red Seal chef in Vancouver, Royale started experimenting in his home kitchen, making vegan cheeses that tasted like the real thing. Meanwhile, Goodall was helping cultivate the vegetarian options at Edmonton restaurants Tres Carnales and Rostizado.
When Royale moved back to Edmonton a couple of years ago, the siblings started hosting cheese tastings and pizza nights. From there, they started selling vegan cheeses at the 104 Street Farmers’ Market last year.
The popularity amongst their friends and the market goers was undeniable, Royale said.
“People seem to be wanting plant-based options. People who can’t usually have pizza, are allergic to dairy or don’t want to eat diary, they can have it (our products),” said Royale.
Having grown up vegetarian, Royale and Goodall have always loved pizza and wanted to find ways to help others who don’t eat animal products, to as well. They’ll do just that when their pizza place opens this Friday at 11215 Jasper Avenue.
“They want to have a nice food experience that might be a little healthier than your average restaurant. It’s kinda like guilt-free pizza but it’s pizza pie to die for.”