Rudy awakening for chef who went vegan
Matthew Foster's abhorrence of animal cruelty helped inspire the launch of Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner, a trailblazing restaurant at Camden Market
01 August, 2019 — By Tom Moggach
Rudy’s meat-free – therefore gristle-free – Dirty Dog
IMAGINE you’re a chef, cleaver in hand, hacking the feet and heads from 13 suckling pigs.
This was the gruesome task facing Matthew Foster, a veteran chef who turned vegan late in his career.
“It didn’t seem right anymore,” he explains. “We can survive and thrive far better on a plant-based diet.”
The chef’s abhorrence of animal cruelty helped inspire the launch of Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner, his trailblazing restaurant in the North Yard of Camden Market.
Foster’s partner – in business and life – is Ruth (aka Rudy) Mumma, an ex-teacher he met online.
“He took me to Hawaii on our fifth date…” she says. “He’s always seeking perfection.”
Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner is an essential destination for anyone interested in the rise of veganism.
Their motto is “100% Vegan as F**k”. The restaurant serves meat-free burgers, hot dogs, pastrami sandwiches, milkshakes and more, all assembled with impressive attention to detail.
Their Dirty Dog, for example, is made with smoked seitan, a meat substitute created from wheat gluten.
The hotdog is piled with sauerkraut, crisp fried onions, snipped chives and lashings of ketchup and mustard.
It tastes far superior to most hot dogs I’ve eaten, which tend to feature cheap, gristly and highly processed pork.
This vegan version is also kinder on the environment as global meat production places a huge strain on natural resources. “We’re destroying the planet for our taste buds,” says Foster.
Camden Market has been changing since it was bought by an Israeli tech billionaire. There are plans under way for North Yard to evolve into a dining destination for locals, not just tourists, with more bricks and mortar restaurants and artisan offerings.
Current traders include a deli, butcher and grill, The Cheese Bar and Baba G’s, an Indian-inspired burger place.
There’s now a large screen in the main thoroughfare, ideal for showing sporting events. From Friday, August 9 to Sunday, August 11, North Yard will be hosting Camden BIG BBQ – a global showcase of barbecue techniques.
Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner offers tables outside and a lofty and stylish indoor space.
I slurped their “Childhood Memories”, a dairy-free shake, through a striped straw. This was a seductive creation decorated with chocolate drops, mini pretzels and peanuts.
Their soya burger is juicy and satisfying; the mac and cheese, lubricated with a cashew nut cheese sauce, is gooey in all the right places.
In fact, all the dishes display a great culinary intelligence, with each texture and layer of flavour carefully considered.
It’s worth noting that Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner may be meat-free but is still fast food – high in calories and best as an occasional treat.
I craved some fresh vegetables but a special of broccoli salad with mint and basil was sadly sold out.
North Yard is well worth re-discovering and is open late, too. To dodge the pesky tourists, slip in via the entrance near Morrisons petrol station.
Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner
North Yard, Camden Market, NW1
Social media: @RudysDVD
Open 11am-10pm daily