Author(s): Shannon Martinez; Mo Wyse
"Damn good food by some damn fine people. Shannon and Mo's passion for all things delicious is inspiring as hell and this cookbook just proves, once again, that they're not messing around." - Michelle and Matt, Thug Kitchen
Mo Wyse is a Seattle and NY expat who grew up in a Mormon and vegan household. She studied journalism but liked hospitality more and is the front-of-house and marketing brains behind this gun team. Shannon Martinez has cooked since she can remember - her paternal family is Spanish. Her Spanish grandmother taught her everything she knew, and Shannon has built on that - gleaning whatever she can cooking in various kitchens across Melbourne over the past decade. The two met working on the People's Market in Collingwood. Shannon would cook for Mo at her Fitzroy home and they'd dream of the little vegan restaurant inspired by Spain that they'd open one day - vegan because they thought no one was actually doing it well, and Spanish because that was part of Shannon's childhood story. Shannon eats meat, but has perfected her vegetarian - and latterly - vegan repertoire in pubs over the years. She says this is what makes her food so good; she tries to replicate the tastes and textures of meat, rather than putting out bland, predictable, vegan food. When a site became available on Brunswick Street in early 2014, the pair snapped it up. Food lovers went nuts. In a bit over a year, they had grown to 40 staff and were doing 400 covers a night. And then, in July 2015, they opened Smith & Deli, in nearby Moore Street. The idea here is take-home vegan meals. There are also 36 made-to-order sandwiches on the menu, plus pastries and scrolls and "cheese" and "meat" by the kilo - and, often, queues out the door.