Kai Schumann: His best tips for vegan newcomers


Writed by - Andy Gocker
  Kai Schumann: His best tips for vegan newcomers
Kai Schumann only bakes vegan recipes at 'Celebrity Baking'. © SAT.1, SpotOn

Candidate for 'Celebrity Baking'

The seventh season 'Das Große Promibacken' will start with six new episodes on Wednesday, January 11 (from 8:15 p.m. on Sat.1 and on Joyn). Then eight celebrities will create sweet creations again. For the first time in the history of the show, actor Kai Schumann (46) will be a participant who will only bake vegan.

In an interview with the news agency spot on news, he reveals whether he has any disadvantages compared to his fellow campaigners and what prejudice he would like to clear up. In addition, the actor, who has been vegan since 2013, explains what he initially found difficult about the plant-based diet and gives tips to vegan newcomers.

Why did you want to take part in 'Celebrity Baking'?

Kai Schumann: I first came into contact with 'celebrity cheeks' when I was shooting 'Heldt' with Janine (Kunze) and she won the title. I was enormously impressed by their crazy cake creations. When the request came, I was immediately enthusiastic. I saw this as a great opportunity to do away with a prejudice: 'Vegan - doesn't taste good.' Besides, I just wanted this challenge. As an actor, I always have to get a taste of a wide variety of professions. Learning this wonderful craft of confectionery now seemed particularly appealing to me.

Did you bring a lot of previous baking experience to the show?

Schumann: I love cooking. I just love looking in the fridge and pantry, closing my eyes, smelling the ingredients and watching a dish create itself. All my attempts to bake in this way were less successful. You have to be relatively precise in the quantities, i.e. stick to recipes. For me, recipes are like rules. I want to constantly test and change them. (laughs)

For the first time, a celebrity is baking exclusively vegan with you. Did you have major disadvantages compared to your peers?

Schumann: Not at all. That's exactly what I want to convey: Being vegan is not a disadvantage. It's not a loss. To me it feels more like a win. Of course, I'm not that experienced in dealing with animal products. And in the technical tests we all work the same way. But I make up for that with my good preparation.

Is Vegan Baking Harder Than Vegan Cooking?

Schumann: I think neither the one nor the other is difficult. For many people it is just unfamiliar. It's all a matter of getting used to it. The great thing about the human species is that it is so immensely adaptive. We can actually learn anything. Is not that great? I'm always excited about the constantly emerging ideas of mankind.

What do you think are the most important ingredients/aids in vegan baking?

Schumann: Mineral water for airiness in doughs. Alba oil gives a delicious taste. Baking powder. Nuts as a basis for creams and pastes. And of course a lot of patience.

You've been vegan since 2013, a report about a slaughterhouse made you do it. What did you find difficult at the beginning?

Schumann: In 2013 it was a lot easier than in 1995. That was when I tried to be vegan for the first time. At that time I ate almost exclusively trail mix. (laughs) It's always like when you're new somewhere, you have to get used to the environment first. Get to know the ways and customs and retrain usual reflexes. It's like suddenly driving in left-hand traffic, your body has to learn to steer correctly first.

But after a while of practice one feels free and great. So what products are there? What can I do with it? What is vegan anyway? What not? What do I order in restaurants? Of course I had cravings. I struggled a lot with myself, especially when the smell of meatballs got into my nose. But now I know so many tricks and tips that I could fool even die-hard (laughs) meat lovers.

What are the biggest (wrong) prejudices you have heard about vegan nutrition so far?

Schumann: Vegan nutrition is unhealthy. Yes, there are certain minerals such as iron or vitamin B12 that the body could metabolize a little more easily through animal food. But replacing it is absolutely simple. The much-vaunted protein can also be easily obtained through a plant-based diet. Besides, the protein madness of the modern age is completely insane anyway. The extreme consumption of protein leads to an above-average nitrogen content in our urine, which in turn contaminates the groundwater in too high a concentration. Otherwise, the scientific literature is full of reports about the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Well, and the other big prejudice 'Vegan doesn't taste good' I refute in the show.

In 2014 you supported the animal rights organization PETA in a campaign against fur. So do you also pay attention to a vegan lifestyle (vegan clothing etc.)?

Schumann: I would put it like this: I try, as far as my mind and my heart allow me, to lead a lifestyle that produces as little suffering and destruction as possible. It wasn't always like that and I'm always learning something new. In terms of vegan life, this means that I only wear leather and other animal-based materials second-hand or because I already owned them before my life phase. I eat a completely plant-based diet, but I would never throw away a food just because it is of animal origin. I find that reprehensible.

How do you see the development of vegan nutrition? Does more need to happen in society?

Schumann: I am absolutely impressed by the enormous development that society is undergoing. I remember the organic shops in the 90s and today organic is an important basic standard. In 2018 there were still 800,000 vegan people in Germany, now there are 1.6 million. That means the number has doubled in just four years. This is absolutely exhilarating. And of course I wish that this number will continue to grow and that society as a whole will change the view of all the other species that live with us on this planet. Humanity tends to reify everything and only reduce it to its usability. Ultimately, this results in an incredible amount of suffering for our species as well. There's a term for it: the tragedy of the commons. Freely available but limited resources are threatened by overexploitation, which also threatens the users themselves.

What tips can you give to vegan newbies?

Schumann: Above all, don't lose the fun. Don't be too strict with yourself. If you still sometimes get weak at the beginning, with meat or other animal foods, then that's okay. Don't take yourselves hostage. The route is the goal. Try out as many different vegan products as possible. Just because something doesn't taste good doesn't fundamentally call everything into question. Not every animal product tastes good either. It's worth trying your way through all the different types of tofu and milk alternatives. The brand in particular often makes a huge difference.

And very important: You have to season well. The spices make the taste. Incidentally, this is also the case with most animal products, but we are often not so aware of it. Under no circumstances should you be told that you are not allowed to eat substitute products, i.e. those that imitate animal foods but are vegan. Why not? It tasted good. Just what it means is just not that good. Just search the web for good recipes. For example, if I'm craving a traditional flavor, say liverwurst - I loved liverwurst - I search the web for 'vegan liverwurst' and come across a white bean recipe that tastes incredibly liverwurst. Why? Because of the consistency and the marjoram, which is a typical spice in liver sausage. Once you start delving into the vegan universe, it's a seemingly endless world of new recipes and tastes. I love it.

What is your favorite vegan recipe?

Schumann: I'm not the hit list type at all. Committing yourself to one thing you love is incredibly limiting, isn't it? (laughs) I veganized the Rübli Couture by Christian Hümbs. I'm really into that right now. I really like vegetable stews in all variations. But I also cook a hell of a vegan Bolognese. Pumpkin and sweet potato in thyme-almond sauce with pomegranate seeds - also great. Or my Christmas roast. This is a butternut squash with an oriental vegan mince filling. That was really tasty too.

What are your plans for 2023, what projects do you have?

Schumann: I'm really looking forward to filming the new season of 'Murder with a View'. I'm also working on a baking book. And I'm planning a cooking/baking show.

And what are your wishes for the year?

Schumann: Health and Peace. I wish that we find the strength and the courage to break new ground for the benefit of all.

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