I have always had a love of food since I can remember, I guess maybe a big love of food since I have over 400 cookbooks and magazines.
I am not vegan but I do enjoy eating a lot of plant based foods, especially since I discovered Chef Cynthia Louise, she has been a huge inspiration to me, not only does she cook great food but she has been in the wellness industry for over 20 years and has a vast range of knowledge.
The Vision Of Lotta Love: Plant-Based Home Cooking In Whitianga
– News Article featuring Lotta Love:
You can always smell good cooking, but what if you can’t see it? It’s a conundrum Whitianga resident, Tanya Arnold, knows all too well. Being diagnosed as a child with keratoconus, a disorder of the eye that results in progressive thinning of the cornea, you would think the last thing she would be doing is chopping up vegetables with a large, sharp knife.
However, Tanya has had an affinity for cooking since she received her first cookbook as a six-year-old girl and has recently launched a new business, Lotta Love, selling homemade plant-based goodness and offering cooking classes.
Tanya had a first cornea transplant at the young age of 15. “It was very scary,” she says. “I ended up receiving a second transplant at 17.”
Despite the two early transplants, Tanya’s eyesight began to deteriorate again, leading to her giving up a 17-year career as an early childhood teacher last year as she became unable to read to the kids.
Disheartened, she walked into a café one day thinking of what to do next. “I realised at that moment that I’ve always wanted to come back to food,” she said.
While recovering at home after a third cornea transplant Tanya’s husband, Trevor, suggested they register to operate a food business from home. “I wasn’t going to let my eyesight be a problem, says Tanya. “I have learnt to adapt by relying on my other senses to get by and I organise my kitchen in a way that I know by memory where everything is.”
When Tanya stumbled across the recipes of Cynthia Louise, a well-known whole food chef that specialises in vegan dishes, she was inspired to make her new business venture plant-based, despite not being vegan herself.
Tanya contacted Cynthia, not expecting to hear back, saying, “I love food and I’ve got no money, but I’d love to be your barefoot soldier on the Coromandel and take your food to the world of New Zealand. So, all I can offer you is passion.” To her surprise, Cynthia replied with an offer of becoming Tanya’s mentor.
“Cynthia’s philosophy which I have adopted into Lotta Love is to cook with only whole real foods that have as little human interference as possible, as nature intended them to be,” says Tanya. “Hence the food that is created by Lotta Love is vegan, and sugar and gluten free. It’s about amping up the plant food in your life.”
Along with Cynthia’s mentoring, Tanya also draws inspiration from mindfulness mentor, Kat Doors. “Out of anybody, I of all people would have been most likely to roll my eyes at the mention of mindfulness, but I have found it is very powerful,” says Tanya. Trevor, a builder, agrees that Cynthia and Kat have transformed Tanya’s life.
“Cynthia and Kat reminded me to believe in myself, so I took on their advice and would like to think that it’s paying off,” says Tanya. “I am very proud of Lotta Love. Obviously, I am putting in a lot of work myself, but I have to credit the others who are making this dream of mine possible, especially my husband, Trevor.”
Trevor drew up the plans for Lotta Love’s kitchen and storage space and then built everything by himself. “I am so lucky to have him by my side, I couldn’t have had a more supportive partner in crime if I tried,” says Tanya.
Tanya is also thankful to Morag Yates, the owner of Mosaic Gallery in Whitianga, for stocking Lotta Love’s dried goods, and wooden chopping boards and utensils made by Trevor.
“Without Morag taking a chance on me, without Cynthia and Kat believing in me, without my amazingly supportive husband, Trevor, and of course without the people in the community who have tried my products or come by one of my cooking classes, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” says Tanya.
“I will always count my blessings. I still can’t believe this is happening. I definitely didn’t see it coming, pun intended.”