Thursday, 22 March, 2018
Henry Firth and Ian Theasby are the boys behind BOSH!, the social media sensation that has taken the vegan community by storm. The duo are famed for their tantalising and easy to follow recipe videos and have racked up an incredible following on social media. We caught up with the pair ahead of the release of their brand new cookbook.
Tell me a bit about your background and why you decided to start BOSH!
Ian: We both come from a digital marketing background and after becoming vegan we found two problems – there wasn’t enough good food available and we had to re-learn how to cook. We wanted to provide people who were interested in a plant-based lifestyle with a resource that offered simple but delicious vegan recipes. BOSH! was born, and it’s gone from there!
Tell me about your vegan journey, did you experience any difficulties?
Henry: We both became vegan for different reasons – Ian became vegan after trialing vegetarianism for his new year’s resolution. I was living with Ian at the time and at first I mocked him for it! But one fateful night we watched Kip Andersen’s Cowspiracy together and I became vegan overnight, as one of my personal missions in life is to help stop climate change. I felt amazing, but had to re-learn how to eat and how to cook. I then realized my new mission in life was going to be to help people to eat more plants. Next stop: BOSH!
Neither of you are professionally trained cooks, do you think this has helped your success? If so, in what way?
Ian: No, we’re not professionally trained but we’ve always been foodies. We like to think of ourselves as food-remixers; we take classic dishes that we enjoyed when we ate meat and dairy and make delicious vegan alternatives. We’d like to think that if we can make these recipes, then anyone can! We think that has been incredibly helpful in our success because we make super-achievable and relatable food – the kind of stuff you would cook at home. Not too fancy. And all ingredients are available in your local supermarket. Real person meals.
What role has social media played in the success of BOSH!?
Henry: Social media has been huge for us. We posted our first video in June 2016 and it exploded with 3.5 million views within a week. Our biggest following is on Facebook, so without social media, BOSH! wouldn’t exist as it does today.
How do you think the vegan movement has changed since you started out?
Ian: The vegan movement is always moving forward. Since we became vegan three years ago, there has been a huge change – not only in attitudes but in the information available too. Veganism isn’t such a dirty word anymore, and with movements such as Meat-Free Mondays and Veganuary, people are becoming a lot more conscious of what they’re putting in their bodies.
Do you think vegan food is more accessible today?
Henry: Definitely. Mainstream supermarkets and chain restaurants are launching their vegan food ranges and menus – it’s hugely accessible compared to five years ago.
What’s your favourite BOSH! recipe?
Henry: The Big BOSH! Wellington Roast – this is one of our most popular recipes – and we estimate tens of thousands of people ate it last Christmas (we had about 2,000 photos sent to us, each dish serves 6, it’s an estimate!). It’s such a wonderful dish, totally enough to satisfy a meat-eater, and we hope it helped change a few opinions over Christmas. It’s done really well on our video channel, but we added an even better version to our cookbook – including the full roast dinner.
Ian: The Ultimate Chilli. It’s such a crowd pleaser, and the photo of this in our cookbook is simply incredible. It’s tough to choose, but this is our tried-and-tested go-to recipe when trying to show someone that plant-based meals are frickin’ delicious.
Do your recipe ideas ever not turn out right? What’s been your biggest cooking mishap?
Henry: There was an iced braid cake we were working on at the start of our channel BOSH!. It really did not turn out how we wanted. We were still playing around with wacky viral ideas (the same ones that created such amazing dishes as the Mezze cake and the Watermelon Jagerbomb). In order to make a not-so-good-looking dish look great, we used splatters of different coloured icing to turn it into a work of modern art. Our working title was the ‘Jackson Pollock Cake’. In reality, it was a mess. We have high-quality standards so that one did not make the channel!
Are there any foods you just really can’t stand?
Ian: I’m not that keen on Walnuts. Just never been a fan of the flavour.
Henry: I was never a fan of eggs, even before I stopped eating animal products. So anything that replicates the taste or texture of eggs is a no for me.
Tell me about the decision to release the cookbook, how does it differ to what’s currently out there?
Ian: Our book features hearty, comforting and even indulgent recipes. We want people to look at these recipes and think, “I could make that” – whether they’re vegan or not. I’d like to think our cookbook is for everyone, whether you’re living a plant-based lifestyle or would like to make a conscious effort to eat more plants.
What’s next for you two and for BOSH!, what does the future look like?
Henry: We’d love to do another cookbook, as we’ve had so much fun working on this one. Aside from that, we are always working on new and exciting content for our channels. We are really excited for what the future holds!
BOSH! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby is published by HQ, HarperCollins in hardback on the 19th April priced at £20