Hedi Fountain’s low-fuss vegan meals have gained her over 400,000 followers, a testament to her popular blog Hedi Hearts.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always been a huge foodie,” says Hedi Fountain.” “I have been plant-based for seven years, and I come from the Czech Republic. The upbringing is slightly different to here in the UK, so either my dad or my mom would cook from scratch.”
Residing in the UK for nearly 17 years, Fountain has settled in Essex with her husband, kids and sausage dog Lola, doing something she didn’t expect to be doing for a living: she operates the blog Hedi Hearts, which focuses on low-fuss, low-budget, maximum-flavour vegan meals. So far, she has garnered more than 400,000 followers on Facebook from users who love her family-friendly content.
From a young age, Fountain was taught to cook everything from scratch. “I never had pizza — it’s just not part of my culture — or takeaway,” she tells me. She was always taught to look for what’s in the cupboard and make a meal out of it. “We grew our own produce and had everything you can think of — potatoes, carrots, raspberries, apples. So, I would always go in the garden and see what’s available, and make a meal from it.”
When Fountain moved to the UK after having her first child, she began to take care of her body more, involving herself in fitness and then beginning to research plant-based diets, which led to the launch of her Facebook page.
She says: “Ever since I transformed to plant-based eating, the recovery was unbelievable, and that just sort of cemented that this is the right way. I honestly never felt like I’m missing out. I never regretted it. I never had any cravings because I started experimenting, creating new meals and sharing with my audience, and they loved it.”
Keeping her traditions close to heart, eating and creating recipes that are affordable and simple with their ingredients is important for Hedi. “I create food that is really wholesome and colourful. I just want to convince people that vegan food or plant-based food is not bearish. It is nothing like that.” Her intentions, she adds, are to save your time, money and washing up: “I’m a leftovers girl.”
Fountain enjoys reinventing when it comes to her recipes, ensuring that her low-budget, plant-friendly recipes use store-cupboard staples, frozen produce and leftovers that awaken your taste buds to a whole new universe of plant-based foods. “The good thing about plants is that the variety is endless, and you can just add other ingredients to make it a different dish.”
By infusing classic recipes with her international flair and suggesting a variety of substitutions, she feels each meal is full of flavour and guaranteed to please the entire family, regardless of their palates or dietary restrictions.
Recipes on Hedi Hearts don’t include any uncommon or difficult-to-find components; instead leaning on seasonal and local foods. Fountain is still able to serve a global audience by putting each recipe through rigorous testing and employing modern-day tips, techniques, and hacks to get the most out of plant-based cuisine.
“I don’t expect anything. I just want to inspire people. That’s my biggest motivation,” she says. Her purpose is for families to rediscover the joy of cooking and eating nutritious meals in a mouth-watering way, whilst learning about the benefits of plant-based diets.
Fountain is also a food photographer and aids brands with recipe development. She finds it rewarding that she has been able to make her hobby into her passion. In the future, she says she would love to be challenged more and step out of her comfort zone.
She also touches upon women empowerment in the food industry and the importance of “girls supporting girls”: “One thing I’ve noticed is that, if you look right at the top, it’s men. There aren’t many women, so what I’d like to change and see is more women, vegan or not,” she explains.
“I think we are as creative as them and we put a lot of emotions in our food, which I think is a benefit that not every male chef has, so I would like to see more change there.”
Ultimately, Fountain wants to encourage you to be creative in the kitchen and add your own flair, resulting in a greater sense of purpose and connection to your ingredients, a renewed passion for nutritious dishes, and a whole lot of good food to fuel the family.