You might know Mathew Pritchard from his Dirty Sanchez days, but he’s swapped partying and performing crazy stunts to front an entirely different TV show!
Now a vegan chef, endurance athlete and healthy living advocate, Matt is the presenter of the BBC’s first ever vegan cookery programme, ‘Dirty Vegan’.
In series one, there are four episodes to enjoy as Matt attempts to wow the sceptics with his vegan cooking, as he is challenged by the Women’s Institute, a caving group, a women’s rugby team and some hungry schoolchildren!
A second series sees the Welsh presenter cook for a wedding, some pro-wrestlers, an ice hockey team and some ballroom dancers.
Alice Lily Hughes talks to Matt about his vegan transformation…
We’re very excited to watch Dirty Vegan! Can you tell us what to expect from the show?
It’s a lighthearted show, where I go and meet different people and cook food for them! I met the Women’s Institute, and they set me a challenge to make vegan cakes. I met a women’s rugby team and I had to cook them vegan food as they’re big meat eaters and didn’t believe in veganism – so I cooked them a vegan meal before their game. I met a group of cavers, so I cooked for them and also put together something for an ensemble of schoolchildren – giving them some brain food so they could revise! The kids really liked it, I actually cooked them breakfast, so it was their first meal of the day – ready to set them up for a day of learning.
It’s lighthearted and it’s educational. I learnt a lot filming it and me being me, there’s quite a bit of comedy in there as well and obviously plenty of cooking too!
Without giving too much away Matt, what would you say was your favourite moment of the show?
My favourite moment was hanging out with the Women’s Institute, I think. We had a good laugh, just rocking with a load of old ladies, it was ace. I was doing flower arranging and stuff with them and I actually set them sort of a Dirty Sanchez style challenge to zip-line! They really enjoyed it, [the vegan food] – they tasted the cake and were very surprised that it actually tasted good. I don’t want to say too much but they were really impressed with the cakes and I was quite pleased I got the seal of approval from them!
This is the first vegan cooking show we’ve ever seen on the BBC. What do you think about being asked to present it?
It’s amazing that it’s the first vegan cookery show for the BBC because that’s massive. For them to ask me to present it is brilliant! I’m stoked and really happy to do it. So many people wouldn’t even think that Pritchard from Dirty Sanchez would be presenting a vegan cookery show… When they find out they won’t half have a shock!
What personally inspired you to go vegan Matt, and what started you on your journey of vegan cooking?
Three years ago I decided to go vegan because I do ultra-distance triathlons and I could see that a lot of ultra-distance triathletes were vegan and I wondered why. So, I did my research and it all started making sense. Being an animal lover myself, I slowly started waking up and realising: well hang on a minute… this is starting to make a lot of sense. The main turning point really was Cowspiracy. I watched Cowspiracy and literally the next morning, I was vegan. I could not believe it; it blew my mind.
As Cowspiracy was such a huge influence on you, do you think programmes like Dirty Vegan are important to raise awareness of veganism?
I think Dirty Vegan will be brilliant to raise awareness of veganism. Cowspiracy woke me up and hopefully somebody like myself will watch the show, see that I’m vegan and I can do all that I can do by being a vegan, and be inspired to find out more.
You’ve had a massive personal transformation with your health, what are the main health benefits you’ve seen since going vegan?
When I first started [being vegan] I was training quite a lot, but then you get to find out about all the vegan junk food… there’s plenty out there! It’s just about feeling healthy really and mentally, that’s the main thing for me, knowing that I’m not killing an animal for my taste buds.
Your dog Lemmy is a massive part of your life. What do you think about speciesism and that people wouldn’t eat a dog but they might eat a pig for example?
Three years ago, before I was vegan, I was one of those people. I’m not here to preach but I look at Lemmy and I wouldn’t eat him, and I wouldn’t eat any other dogs because I love them. But I love other animals as well.
We’ve been brought up from a very young age to say dogs and cats are pets but pigs, cows and sheep we eat. So, if you’ve been told that from a very young age, you just grow up and that’s all you know. For example, thinking that milk is for us, when in actual fact it’s for a calf. So you just need to look into it a bit more and realise that animals are animals – and they all deserve to have a full life, just like a dog or a cat and it’s as simple as that. Slowly but surely, we’re all starting to wake up and that’s a good thing. We can’t preach to people, we can’t shout at people, but we can educate and help them, and fingers crossed they will listen and take the advice.
You’ve got the Dirty Vegan book coming out to accompany the TV show. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
I sound dead posh, don’t I? Two TV shows and a book, check me out! Yes, I have a book to accompany the TV show so it’s just got all the recipes that I’ve cooked from my YouTube channel and all of the recipes I’ve done on the TV show as well plus it’s got a little section at the start explaining how I went from catering college to skateboarding, to Dirty Sanchez and then to what I’m doing now.
How did your friends and family react when you first became vegan?
My brother is a triathlete as well. He does ultra-distance triathlons so we went vegan at the same time. We were massive meat eaters and we then told my parents they were really surprised! The first Christmas, my mother just didn’t know what to get us, so I said just buy us some nut loaf and whatever! But they have now started not buying dairy milk and they’re not having as much meat as they used to. My younger brother is vegan as well now. This Christmas is going to be the first Christmas where they won’t have any meat on the table!
What do you think about Veganuary’s mission?
I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I think last year was the biggest Veganuary so far, and obviously, this year is going to be bigger again. I didn’t know it was a worldwide thing now but it started in the UK. Sign up to Veganuary, go vegan for a month and then see how you get on!