From plot to plate

Lucy Start, better known as She Grows Veg on Instagram, is continuing her mission to get non gardeners and the Instagram generation growing food.

Lucy, a firm believer that you don’t have to be into gardening to grow some of what you eat, has teamed up with top chef, Mike Keen, to continue to educate people about the wider uses of plants and how you can be creative and fun with what you grow.


The partnership will see Lucy and Mike working together to create videos for Lucy’s YouTube channel where they prepare vegetarian recipes, with tips for vegan alternatives. Each episode will feature on a specific crop from Lucy’s garden or allotment, focusing on the more unusual varieties to really offer people inspiration for something different.


Like Lucy, Mike specialises in the unusual. His specialist subjects are taxidermy, curing and smoking food, and fermentation – not your standard cooking recipes! He also breeds ravens, and his four birds will form the breeding stock and bloodline for the ravens at The Tower of London.

Since launching She Grows Veg a year and a half ago, Lucy has gained over 50,000 followers. She has also become the new ambassador of the Heritage Seed Library, thanks to her work championing heirloom varieties, and then launched her own YouTube channel – with many other projects in the pipeline. However, whilst she has become famed for growing an abundance of exciting and unusual vegetable crops, she is, by her own admission, by no means a chef!

Lucy said: “I get daily requests on Instagram for people asking for recipe inspiration after seeing the posts of what I’ve grown. I feel that people deserve better tips than my hastily thrown together meals so I decided to team up with Mike to able to get myself and everyone else really excited about cooking what you grow. We’re going to go beyond your standard GYO veggies too – for example everyone talks about edible dahlias but no one seems to eat them so we’re going to dig some up and be really honest about what we think!”

Mike has an extensive background as a professional chef, having set up one of the highest profile pubs in the UK. He also gives talks at food festivals and travels to spearhead a global research project into Survivalist Fermentation, which seems him tracking fermentation techniques across the world and has taken him from fermented lamb in the Faroes, fermented shark in Iceland and onto Greenland to ferment birds inside seals. He has teamed up with Lucy to demonstrate that the plot to plate process needn’t be boring!

Mike commented: “Lucy and I both share a passion for sourcing unusual varieties, foods and techniques from all over the world. With my taste for exotic flavours and adventurous cooking, and Lucy’s interest in unusual seeds and heritage varieties, we’re bound to have some fun!”

The first episode will be released on 9th October.

To view, click here or visit where you can also find out more about Lucy or visit Mike’s website at

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