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5 minutes with: Holy Carrot founder Irina Linovich

The plant-based restaurant founder on why she decided to become vegan, how she is helping people make more ethical and sustainable food choices, and a delicious vegan recipe you can try at home

19 January 2022

Irina Linovich, founder of Holy Carrot
Plant-based cuisine at Holy Carrot

When did you decide to become vegan and why?

I decided to become vegan because a cat, a dog, and a cow are equal to me. I couldn’t live with eating animals anymore.

What positive changes have you seen in your life since becoming vegan?

The first benefit was my mental health; my mood was much better. Also, my skin has more of a glow, and my energy levels have increased.

What were the main challenges you faced transitioning from the fashion industry to becoming a restaurateur?

I previously worked as a fashion producer, and opening a restaurant was a little challenging at the beginning as I had zero experience. Luckily, I have a great team around me who support my idea to create an exceptional plant-based restaurant in one of my favourite fashion neighbourhoods.

This month, Holy Carrot has teamed up with Seaspiracy to create a ‘seafood’ platter, available exclusively in the restaurant from Tuesday 4 January – Saturday 29 January. How did the Veganuary Seaspiracycollaboration come about and why is it important to you?

I’m a mum of two, and I want my kids to live in a better world. I want their children to have an opportunity to explore sea life. Industrial fishing is a disaster for our planet and the biggest source of plastics in the ocean. I’m happy to support Seaspiracy, as I feel we need to drive awareness in order for everyone to make more sustainable food choices.

What did the past year mean for you both professionally and personally?

I’m very grateful for 2021 as it was a very successful year for Holy Carrot. However, it was a challenging year for our family – I hope to see more of my parents this year.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Biologique Recherche skincare. It’s worth it.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Love your body. You only have one.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The hospitality industry is all about making people happy. What else could be better?

What has been a career highlight for you so far?

When I see returning guests that love our food. Or when I meet guests that come from abroad specifically to try Holy Carrot dishes. Creating new things is very interesting when you have an idea in your head and share it with a team that makes your dreams come true. That is magical.

What is your motto?

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.

What do you do to relax?

An Epsom salt bath and meditation is a great combo.

Where is your favourite place to travel?

I love the Himalayas. It always provides a sense of calm and a better understanding of life.

What are your favourite wardrobe items?

Good tailored suits from my friend’s brand They recycle vintage menswear into the coolest womenswear. I prefer a minimalist look, which allows me to be ready for dinner in minutes.

What is your favourite quote?

‘Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning’ – Gloria Steinem.

What advice would you give to someone looking to build a successful career in hospitality?

Attention to detail is important. Build a great team around you.

What do you love about the Sloane Street neighbourhood?

It’s a stylish and green neighbourhood. Coming from a fashion background, I feel very at home. Plus, it’s less than a 10-minute walk to the Saatchi Gallery, which is a great bonus!

What delicious vegan recipe would you recommend people try at home?

Holy Carrot’s Lemon Tart
Makes 8 portions
For the pastry

190g gluten-free flour
95g vegan butter
75g coconut sugar
25g ground almonds
Pinch of salt
Pinch of xanthan gum
25g apple sauce

For the lemon curd

400g coconut cream (tinned is fine)
Juice of 5½ oranges (400ml)
Juice of 4½ large lemons (250ml)
285ml agave
2½ tsp vanilla extract
80g cornflour

  1. To make the pastry, mix all the ingredients in a food processor until a soft dough forms. Roll the pastry out till 3mm thick and then gently lay in a 28cm tart dish, lined with baking paper and buttered. Ensure the edges rise up to at least 3cm and pop into the freezer for at least 2 hours.

  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C (standard) | 140°C (fan) | gas mark 3.

  3. Put all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat and whisk until the mixture thickens like a custard, but don’t allow it to boil. Remove from the heat and pour into the frozen pastry case. Cut the pastry at the edge of the cream before baking it for 25 minutes. Let it cool down completely and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.

To serve, sprinkle with approx. 1 tbsp zusto and either use a blow torch or pop under the grill for a minute to caramelise before serving.


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