Family look to launch social group for vegetarians in Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 11:33 24 September 2011

Peter, Dafyd and Isabelle

Peter, Dafyd and Isabelle

Archant

A SOCIAL group for vegetarians is being set up by a Saffron Walden family.

Isabelle Antunes-Bridge, her husband Peter and their four-year-old son Dafyd are hoping to meet other vegetarian families, while also increasing awareness of non-meat eaters in eating establishments.

Mrs Antunes-Bridge told the Reporter: “There is a social group in Cambridge which we have been to, but it would be good to meet other vegetarians and vegans locally in a social setting.

“Of course we have lots of friends who are not vegetarian and they are wonderful.

“But this is meeting people in tune with our ideas and beliefs – it is no different than attending a social group for knitting, rugby or politics.

“It can be so relaxing when you’re invited for a meal and you don’t have to explain your dietary needs and feel you have to apologise.”

The family decided to search for like-minded families after their son asked if they were the only vegetarians in the town.

“I felt sad because I realised he might feel isolated and different, so I thought it was about time we met more vegetarians locally,” Mrs Antunes-Bridge said, adding that Dafyd has been offered fish in the past but turned it down, and has developed a “strong sense of being a vegetarian by himself”.

The family also believe that restaurants, while good, could do more to cater for vegetarians and vegans, and hope that by starting a group they can influence what is offered on the menu.

“We might be able to raise awareness of the need for better choice for vegetarians, and especially vegans,” said Mrs Antunes-Bridge. “I often find the vegetarian choice quite poor and unimaginative. One gets fed up of vegetarian lasagnes and mushroom stroganoffs.”

The family’s bid to start a new social group has already been met with a favourable response by one Saffron Walden restaurateur.

Emma Langlaid, owner of Dish in King Street, said: “I agree that the choice for vegetarians and vegans is limited in every restaurant. From a chef’s point of view, I know that when they create a menu the ‘vegetarian option’ is always the last dish, and that they struggle with being imaginative. The vegetarian dish is always the slowest selling on every menu we have ever done.”

She added: “Maybe a social group can come in and talk to us – we would be happy to work with them and are always open to new ideas.”

• Anyone interested in joining the group can contact Mrs Antunes-Bridge at azafran68@yahoo.co.uk

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