ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Some 94 miles northwest of Boston, in the tiny town of Antrim, New Hampshire (population 2,600), a young Seventh-day Adventist is teaching the world how to cook vegan, using weekly videos posted to YouTube.
Anika Perry, 24, said she “always liked to cook,” and after admittedly “struggling” over a career choice, decided on a culinary career after her mother asked her what she’d do if she could only do one thing for the rest of her life.
To date, Perry has amassed 3,500 YouTube subscribers, and hosted an exhibit at the 2018 convention of Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) here, under her brand of “Chef Ani.” She is a member of the Concord Seventh-day Adventist Church in the New Hampshire city.
Her interest in cooking, and in preparing vegan food, took her to the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, graduating with a diploma in culinary arts. The school, founded in 1977, says it “has graduated over 2,500 chefs from over 45 countries.”
Perry found inspiration for her one-to-one video teaching in Ellen White’s book, Counsels on Diet and Foods, in which the Adventist co-founder wrote,
More cooking schools should be established, and some should labor from house to house, giving instruction in the art of cooking wholesome foods. (CD, pg. 472)
“I’m laboring from house to house via YouTube,” she said in an interview.
The vegan recipes Perry posts include one for an “All-American Burger,” using wheat gluten flour, oat flour and dried mushrooms as components; roasted pesto stuffed whole cauliflower; and a Vegan Mac & Cheese. Although these may be familiar to many Adventists, Perry aims to reach a much wider audience—and it appears she’s succeeding.
She says parents write saying their children “develop a love for cooking” by preparing the vegan pancake recipe she recorded on video in the rain.
“People write me and ask why I’m doing this,” Perry added, and such questions give her the chance to explain her faith-based motivation. She said she’s also helped others to start their own YouTube channels to teach cooking as well.
Perry creates her videos in a highly professional setup, using a Canon EOS 80D and two EOS 70D high-definition cameras. The finished products are studio-quality videos designed to attract an audience.
“I see it as a ministry,” Perry, whose natural smile is never far from her countenance, told me. “But I really enjoy it too.”
Next up for Perry is writing and publishing a cookbook, and developing a line of vegan cooking products, such as seasonings, to add flavour to meals of “wholesome foods” well prepared.
More information can be found online at http://www.chefani.com.