Photo by Tom Hains
Sarah Bentley is the founder of plant-based community cookery school and charity Made In Hackney. She has overseen the charities growth from a grassroots initiative to a national and more recently global organisation changing hearts, minds and stomachs to go more plant-based whilst never forgetting its founding purpose of collective community care. A former print and radio journalist, she loves delivering talks, hosting panel discussions and food stages, and overseeing weddings and other rituals in the role of celebrant. When not speaking or writing about food issues - Sarah loves to have her hands in the soil growing organic food and teaching SEN students food growing skills. At the end of 2023 she is stepping down from her full time founder position into a more ambassadorial role at MIH which will include writing the charities debut cook book and consulting on dynamic, radical projects that can positively change the world.
Head Of Strategy & Partnerships
Angel is committed to inducing positive societal change for the planet, people and animals and has a decade of solid experience spearheading corporate and community initiatives to shift the public towards a plant-based diet. A GRI certified sustainability professional with a master’s degree in Sustainable Development, she strives to influence food policy and collaborate with various partners to transform the food system. Angel is excited to be part of Made In Hackney which brings local communities together. In an increasingly polarised world, we need to support each other more than ever.
Community Programmes Manager
Raha's work has been rooted in mental health and various community projects across sectors such as the NHS, NGOs, and the corporate world. She's dedicated herself to community work, focusing on supporting marginalised groups including refugees and young people, ensuring they have access to education, food, and mental health care. She's super passionate about cooking and creating plant-based meals, constantly exploring and crafting new recipes. Raha is also deeply interested in culture and its profound influence on our daily lives, from our behaviors to the food we savor. She's grateful to be working alignment with these values in her role as community programme manager at Made in Hackney!
Khin has finally found a happy melding in Made in Hackney of her passion for food, well-being and making a positive difference in healthy communities and a healthy planet. Her background is in Corporate Social Responsibility and volunteer management in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She is passionate about developing well-being and is a certified member of the British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA). Khin has worked in IT consulting and management consulting in America, and product marketing in Asia-Pacific. Khin’s underlying philosophy is evolutionary development of people, communities, and planet where we are all interconnected as One.
Photo by Kate Beatty
After graduating in Accounting and Finance in 1992 in Manchester, Jayshree completed her professional accountancy (ACMA) in London. Initial work included implementing the first digital accounting system for a bus manufacturers in Wigan, then onto London and gained financial analysis and modeling experience in start ups and projects in various sectors including events, retail, online retail, interactive television, media and the Government Department of Health.
In 2006 Jayshree stepped off the working wagon for motherhood and has never looked back (maybe odd peek over the shoulder now and again).
Motherhood got Jayshree interested in cooking at home and the use of good ingredients. Jayshree is a daughter of a cook and comes from a family of farmers in India so influence of food was always there. She likes the fact Made In Hackney is a new project about vegetarian food and regards Made In Hackney as a great re-introduction into the world of work.
Photo by Tom Hains
Fran has always had a passion for the environment and started her career in tropical marine conservation. She previously worked as Conservation Director for Blue Ventures Conservation working with fishing communities, in countries like Madagascar, supporting them to secure their livelihoods for the future. It was this passion for both people and the environment, and the desire to work more closely with local communities in London that made Made in Hackney the ideal organisation. She also has an unhealthy love of preparing budgets and financial reports which is perfect for this role. Outside of work Fran would most like to be whale watching but is more likely to be building her green credentials by attempting to garden, grow vegetables or cooking new recipes passed on from MIH!
Community Partnerships Manager
Recognised by his online moniker, Fat Gay Vegan, Sean has been a passionate champion of animal rights and the vegan lifestyle since 2010. Sean is also a prolific organiser of community events and festivals in the UK, fostering community and promoting vegan lifestyles. His welcoming and positive demeanour has made him an influential and beloved advocate in the global vegan community. Sean has supported MIH for over a decade and is delighted to join the team officially as the charities Community Partnerships Manager. He says, “Made in Hackney is perfectly aligned with my personal and professional approaches to life. I work hard to improve outcomes for people, animals, and the planet so I know working with Made in Hackney is the perfect fit for me.”
Rashmi joined Made in Hackney to bring together her love of food, veganism and people. Rashmi’s career has focussed predominantly in the charity training and education sector, creating growth opportunities and improving social, education, employment and life outcomes for young people not in education, employment or training. She also has experience of working in the community sector developing programmes to increase community engagement and participation.
Through her work, Rashmi had the opportunity to observe at first hand the impact a positive community can have on the academic, personal and social development of young people and has developed various funded programmes to improve their propensity for future positive social mobility.
In her spare time Rashmi is an English Language Coach, she brings together her interests, skills and experience of working with people in a mentoring and coaching capacity to create an open, supportive and non-judgemental space where she can help students steadily grow in their ability, confidence and enjoyment of communicating in English. She is also a volunteer with The Literacy Pirates, where she coaches primary and secondary school pupils to improve their reading, writing and verbal communication skills.
Rashmi believes access to enriching community support has the power to transport people to new worlds of connection, laughter, knowledge and creativity and is so happy to be part of an organisaiton which makes this a reality for so many people in Hackney and beyond!
Community Food Head Chef
Shaki spent a few years in the media and creative industries before realising her passion was with food. She loved spending time at her Uncle Billy’s restaurant and learning about all aspects of hospitality – napkin folding, bulk discounts – she found it all interesting and when she goes out to eat she notices everything from the ambiance to the furniture, whether the toilets are clean and if the staff are being natural or speaking from a script.
The best thing about working in hospitality is the diversity of people you meet and the variety of work. Having now worked in professional kitchens for 14 years she’s cooked in cafes, restaurants, for dignitaries, funeral parties, outdoor events and everything in between. The community meal service is a new adventure and an exciting place to develop her plant-based cooking repertoire and give back to the community.
Community Food Manager
Laurie brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector to his role at MIH. He joined us as a dedicated volunteer during lockdown and after two years of dedicated service was appointed Community Meal Service manager, and now Community Food Manager. He also works at The Garden Classroom as a community bee keeper.
Plant Prospects Manager
Roshni began her career in fashion but always had a love for cooking and hosting passed down from her very talented mum. After volunteering as a project leader at Foodcycle and starting her own plant-based supper club, she noticed a disconnect in values between her work and extracurricular life. So, in an effort to seek more purpose, she transitioned to the third sector through the On Purpose Programme. Since then she has worked in tech for good and various community organisations.
She is passionate about promoting equality, diversity and community building and volunteers for organisations that reflect these values; currently Newington Green Alliance, The Girls Network and the Women’s Equality Party. She also loves cooking for friends, is a vocal advocate of second-hand fashion and a keen boxer. At Made in Hackney, Roshni has found an organisation that truly lives their values, and combines her love for plant-based food and community building. She loves being part of this wonderful, supportive and super talented team!
Cookery Class Teacher
Sara is deeply passionate about the power of food to nurture, bring people together and connect us to the earth.
She has worked in the charity sector for over a decade, with a focus on grassroots projects that work with young people, disadvantaged communities and vegan food. Having worked in wide range of community settings, Sara has seen first-hand the realities of food poverty in London and understands the value of Made in Hackney’s work.
When she’s not organising team builds, Sara works as a plant based chef. She believes in working with wholefoods to create nourishing, vibrant and delicious dishes that not only uplift, but inspire and educate. With a passion for raw desserts, her creations have been featured in Vogue’s Best London Vegan food list.
Photo by Casey Lazonick
Cookery Teacher & Special Projects
Growing up with an Indian chef as a father gave Sareta a passion for food and cooking from an early age. She specialises in food from the Indian subcontinent and enjoys using bold flavours that challenge people’s perceptions of plant-based food.
Sareta is driven by creating equality and positive change, and spent over a decade pursuing both of these through her work in the education and youth sectors, before embarking on a freelance career focussed on her core values of veganism and sustainability.
She moved into food professionally through running supper clubs, private catering, working in street food and teaching cooking – which is where she found Made in Hackney, an organisation that fully aligns with her key values. Whenever possible, in her work Sareta aims to highlight the links between food, culture, connectivity and community.
When she is not teaching or cooking Sareta provides business development support to small vegan businesses.
Cookery School Coordinator
Sonali is a passionate all round foodie having worked as a chef for Age UK and for private clients. In lockdown she published a successful ebook Suppers By Sonali and she also makes and sells ceramics connected to all things food. A busy and proud Mama she was excited to join MIH due to it’s impact on local communities through the powerful and delicious vehicle of food.
Photo by Tom Hains
After surviving an IT career in global business and corporate banking I felt a need for a fresh perspective. Having been a vegan for over 25 years and initiator of vegan catering projects it was time to follow my gut, literally. I studied for a degree in Human Nutrition and although I left university with a good degree my health deteriorated and I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
My career path now took a different course. In 2015 I started doing voluntary work for MIH working in the kitchen and helping with various projects such as Single Homeless People's project, people with visual impairments and local community centers. This allowed me to use some of my degree knowledge to help people to understand local, seasonal, affordable cooking. My aims in life are to use my knowledge and skills to educate people about food and well being to enable people to take control of their health.
A mental health support workers, social media influencer and all round foodie creative, Duchess Nena specialises in West African plant-based cuisine – innovating and creating recipes with authentic flavour profiles and ingredients. She has published two cook books – Igbo Vegan and Jollof’d: A Vegan Experiment. She is a much loved MIH cookery class teacher and her classes are always fully booked with long waiting lists.
Flo has done many different professions – working as an acupuncturist, vintage furniture seller and various roles in the hospitality sector. A fantastic chef and baker she used to sell her own cakes at Stoke Newington Farmers Market and now is often asked to bake delicious treats at scale for MIH events. She loves working with businesses that empower local communities and at MIH she particularly enjoys meeting all the different people and groups in the cookery classes and likewise she is much loved and appreciated by everyone she works with – her classes often ending in hugs from all the participants.
Photo by Casey Lazonick
Peng Patties Co-Founder & Cookery Teacher
Ekowa was raised on a vegetarian diet in a Rastafarian family where he regularly cooked as a youngster for the entire family when he returned from school. His main influences include the eclectic food of Trinidad and Tobago which includes Asian and African influences.
For the last five years he has been a vegan and he has used these influences to guide his cuisine. He loves to experiment with different ingredients and cooks in a vegan style that combine produce and promote energy and wellbeing. As a father of two, he enjoys creating dishes that his children can both enjoy and be thoroughly nourished by.
On his journey to becoming a yoga instructor, Ekowa discovered the link between yoga and food and the benefits that the right combinations can have on the body such as promoting consciousness and wellbeing.
He often approaches his kitchen as if it is a lab and sees food as a science. Instead of using too many added seasonings, Ekowa uses recipes that enhance the natural taste of his chosen produce to balance each other. His use of minerals in his cooking means that each dish has added nutritional value and he masks the taste of some of the minerals with clever natural seasoning options such as ginger and garlic. He enjoys using a combination of tastes and textures that make every eating experience a memorable one.
His passion for vegan food, yoga and wellbeing meant a natural gravitation towards the Made In Hackney project and when he was asked to collaborate, did so without hesitation.
Peng Patties Co-Founder
Zahira is a Criminology student and co-founder of Peng Patties, a youth cookery project started alongside her father Ekowa Paul. Zahira is inspired to work with young people so they can achieve their full potential and their environment does not dictate or limit their ability to achieve their dreams.
Photo by Casey Lazonick
Hannah is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping people to optimise both their health and happiness though good food. Currently specialising as a paediatric dietitian, she has always loved working with children and families and has been involved helping to lead several events for youngsters for Made in Hackney. After volunteering for over 2 years has now also started to lead community classes. Her favourite message is ‘eat the rainbow’ and she is also a big advocate for zero waste cooking. She is always keeping herself busy and in her spare time she also leads foraging and wild food cookery courses, where she tries to get people as excited as her about nettles and dandelions! She also has a background of being a semi-professional long distance runner, although now spends nearly as much time pursuing her other hobby of swing dancing!
Photo by Casey Lazonick
A keen recipe developer, Rohini is passionate about making healthy plant-based meals that are big on flavour. Having grown up in London, she then spent several years working for food startups in Mumbai and Singapore, which spurred her on to go back to university and study nutrition. While studying for her Master's degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences, she started volunteering regularly at a local allotment in West Yorkshire.
Outside her own practice, Rohini is an Advisory Board Member and Nutritionist for Plant-Based Health Professionals UK. This is a not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to the promotion of a whole foods plant-based diet for optimal health and wellbeing. She also holds a Lifestyle Medicine Diploma from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, realising the importance of stress management, sleep and community alongside a healthy diet. Rohini is Brand Manager for Women for Women’s Health UK, a voluntary service set up to empower women of all ages to make lifestyle choices that will help improve their own health as well as that of their families. Rohini loves sharing the benefits of eating more plants and working with others to create delicious food.
Photo by Casey Lazonick
Woin is a chef with a specialism in authentic Ethiopian cuisine. Always a passionate cook, she left a career in IT to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time chef. She travelled extensively around Ethiopia to research the authentic recipes and ingredients of different regions before coming home and launching her catering company Ethiopic Kitchen and taking her sumptuous buffet style feasts to clients such as Amnesty International. She teaches cookery at Migrateful and is a community class teacher and masterclass teacher at Made In Hackney. She is also a very busy Mum of three.
Nishma Shah is founder and chef of award-winning London-based plant-based food business Shambhu's. She provides plant-based catering and teaches plant-based cookery in a number of settings including to children and families. In 2020 she hosted the International Food Stage at Plant Powered Expo and has appeared at Veg Fest multiple times giving culinary demonstrations. She has been a masterclass teacher for Made In Hackney for a number of years with her most popular class being Gujarati Cuisine.
Photo by Tom Hains
As well as being a much loved community cookery teacher Sharon is a naturopath, nutritionist and pilates instructor. She loves teaching classes for MIH as she gets to share her passion for all things plant-based with the wider community and meet incredible people. Her favourite part is, of course, “Eating all the goodies at the end of each lesson.”
Photo by Kate Beatty
With a background in community engagement and environmental education work, Fi went on to work with Growing Communities - a community-led organisation based in Hackney working to create positive alternatives to the current damaging food system. Fi helps to run the box scheme at Growing Communities and also coordinates education projects teaching young people and their families about where food comes from. Cooking was an obvious off shoot from Fi's work and passion around food and the environment, and together with Ximena - also at Made in Hackney - and her partner Duncan, she set up the Hackney Growers' Kitchen. They run a weekly cake stall at Stoke Newington Farmers' Market and take on small catering jobs for community and environmental events. She loves to cook (and eat!) and loves to work with people...so as a result is particularly passionate about what food can do in terms of bringing people together!
Steve has been passionate about food since discovering an invisible recipe book at the age of 5. He has worked with food all of his adult life, honing his skills as a Chef in France, Greece and England. He studied the Sociology of Food at Bristol University then dedicated himself to launching exciting food start-ups. First, Dalston’s, a natural soft drinks company famous for its Dalston Cola. Then The People's Kitchen, a community food surplus kitchen project, and then the Russet, a community cafe and events space. His latest venture is Make Kit, a social recipe kit enterprise. He has worked for Made In Hackney as a teacher since 2016 and loves sharing and inspiring others with his passion and knowledge of food.
From a young age, influenced by my Punjabi mother’s knowledge of Ayurveda, I’ve been interested in the healing properties of food. While raising my own children, I realised how much I enjoyed sharing knowledge about food and nutrition with others and how important health and wellbeing are as a foundation in every family, despite their socio-economic and/or cultural background. This lead me to study nutritional therapy and set up Biba Kitchen. ‘Biba’ translates from Punjabi as decent and honest – the key ingredients you’ll find in my kitchen and food. Since qualifying as a Nutritional Therapist, as well as consultation works, I’ve worked as a chef, preparing food for supper clubs and events and creating menus for cafes. Delivering classes on healthy eating and cooking to diverse groups is something I’m experienced in and love doing, so working with Made In Hackney feels like an extended family!
After struggling with health issues Bruna found a nutritional therapist that showed her how to transform her life by eating the right food. This experience inspired Bruna to go back to college where she studied Naturopathic Nutrition and since 2008 she's dedicated her life to showing people how to become healthier by eating the most amazing and tasty food that not only fills the body with nutrients but nourishes the soul. When she first heard about MIH and its values she felt an instant connection and today she is very proud to be part of it’s amazing team.
Asa has over 20 years' experience in the medical and healthcare industries and is passionate about inspiring people to improve their health through nutrition. She started her career as a nurse around twenty-five years ago in Sweden, moving to England in her twenties to start a business manufacturing and selling natural organic health and beauty products. She trained as a Nutritional Therapist and a Naturopath with the London College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM), following three years of study and clinical practice. Asa now runs Linéa Nutrition and is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapies (BANT). She is one of MIH’s fermentation specialists and is the proud author of, 'Fermentation: How to make your own sauerkraut, kimchi, brine pickles, kefir, kombucha, vegan dairy, and more.'
Dr Sunni Patel is the founder of Dish Dash Deets – a company and platform focused on health coaching, education, and food, with a mission to support corporations and individuals on holistic wellbeing. He has held several senior corporate roles in global corporations and led many E, D&I and Wellness initiatives across various organisations. Holding a PhD in risk factors for diseases as well as being a qualified whole-self wellness and culinary medicine coach, his specialism is in gut health, personal training, fitness, and eating addiction. He has been featured on the BBC, ITV, and is called for comment regularly on BBC radio shows with regular slots on BBC Stoke and BBC Wales as well as leading press outlets. He is available for speaker sessions, workshops, and coaching programmes and can be contacted directly here.
Wild Food Walk Leader
Kenneth (Ken) Greenway is the Manager at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, where's he's worked since 2002. Ken loves plants, is an experienced forager, wild food enthusiast, and a Come Dine with Me winner! He enjoys sharing the edible delights of plants you'll see when you step out your front door, whether it be sprinkling the petals of dandelions on your meal or turning stinging nettles into a pesto, there is much to be enjoyed (and eaten) right under your feet.