Dining Out

The Restaurateur – Ariel Cohen, Free Food

May 22, 2018, Author: Hello Joburg

Flavour alchemist, Ariel Cohen has always played with his food; but it was only in 1986, after becoming a vegetarian that he really started to play. Becoming a vegan in 2001, he explored food that was gluten, wheat, sugar, dairy and preservative free. He was making “free food,” and so the provocative name and concept was birthed.

Being in clothing production, Free Food* had a humble beginning operating out of Ariel’s Parktown North cottage, where he shared his bedroom with three freezers, preparing frozen vegan meals. Today, Free Food Diner & Take Away is a quirky gem just off Corlett drive, where no meal leaves the kitchen without Ariel’s approval.

He takes his responsibility of restaurateur seriously, and together with his passionate team are committed to using only the finest, fully flavoured, whole food ingredients. Aeriel Cohen aims to present patrons with a delicious, discerning offering that focuses on the importance of what they put into their bodies.’

This unexpected hole in the wall eatery is a delightful mix of flavoursome food, juxtaposed with the grit of the street. Ariel’s greatest reward is doing what he loves, and today, with more people empowered by what they eat, his product ismore relevant than ever, which excites him.

His roasted chickpea and brinjal pizza is a far cry from the instant soya mince and noodles he prepared when he first moved out of his home. He has been experimenting ever since to create food that not only tastes good but is good for you too. His recipes are inventive and original, and while he likes to eat his own food, he enjoys the occasional vegan spoil from Budmarsh Country Lodge’s Executive Chef Vincent Bals.

From making his own chocolate to cheese, Ariel creates everything on his menu.

If you happen to catch him at work in the kitchen, you’ll quickly see that food is his passion, not his job.

A: Shop 5 Reithmere, cnr Delta Road & Corlett Drive, Birnam/Melrose

T: 082 406 4699


Words: Taryn Louch. Images supplied.

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