The Sheffield vegan food boys behind BOSH! have hit the TV screen
PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 March 2020
The creators of the popular YouTube channel launch Living on the Veg TV show.
Ian Theasby and Henry Firth, the creative masterminds behind BOSH!, the world's most-viewed plant-based and vegan recipe YouTube channel, are something of a Yorkshire dream team. Having grown up together as friends at High Storrs School in Sheffield, the boys found their paths crossing again after one Christmas Eve in Sheffield when Firth realised Theasby was moving to London.
'Ian moved into my flat in London after we caught up one Christmas and I found out he was moving to the capital. Shortly after, we started working together on a start-up project that went through its life cycle. We were looking at something else to do with our lives, and something that had more purpose,' says Henry.
Having watched the highly-acclaimed sustainability documentary Cowspiracy together, the pair decided to go vegan. The documentary highlighted the need for solutions to some of the most pressing environmental issues and the impact of animal agriculture on our world. They are proof that it's a decision you can make overnight and see through with success.
And some. Theasby and Firth are now two of the most well-known and lauded vegan chefs out there. BOSH! was established as a media channel to show people just how easy it is to eat plants and through their YouTube channel, they reached over half a billion people just in their first year.
Today, they are the proud authors of two bestselling vegan cookbooks too, one of which is the highest selling of all time. The boys also have a new series on ITV, Living on the Veg. It's something that Theasby and Firth set their sights on three years ago when they started out as a way of making vegan cooking more accessible to a larger audience.
'We are humbled and over the moon that we've had the honour to share vegan cooking with such a mainstream audience,' says Henry.
'We saw an opportunity to share our love of vegan cooking and three years ago, there weren't enough vegan recipes in the world or enough information on how to eat vegan when you're out and about.'
Anyone who has followed BOSH! for a while won't be surprised by the friendly format of the TV show.
'You'll find lots of tasty, plant-based food but in a longer format than YouTube,' says Ian.
'We've also got celebrity guests who come and taste our food and cook for us. We hopefully show great plant-based foods that people might not have thought of before.'
It was important for them to show how normal a vegan diet can be. 'We are just two normal guys, we're not hippies living in a field,' smiles Henry. 'You can be vegan and be friends with meat eaters - we've got meat eaters coming onto the show. It can be light-hearted and fun!'
From playground banter in Sheffield to meteoric success, how does it all feel? 'Filming a TV show is absolutely bonkers', beams Henry. 'But day to day, our lives haven't really changed. We still get up and go downstairs to make videos of us cooking together.'
The meat-free food landscape has changed dramatically in the last three years. 'It's changed a lot since we went vegan,' says Ian. 'It's gone from being a bit weird to very normal. I like to think we've played a little role in that with billions of views on YouTube, but other influencers have helped and supermarkets have played a big role in it too by showing such an interest in vegan produce. Now you can walk into any supermarket in the UK and you've got a wealth of products available.'
For them being vegan mean, 'living in a way that's kind to my body and the planet and equal in terms of how resources are distributed across the planet,' says Henry. 'Of course, it's a really powerful thing that it's saving the lives of animals as well. But I'm pleased to do it in a way that's welcoming, relaxed and makes it easy for me to interact with people that aren't vegan.'
Ian continues: 'It's made me more thoughtful in all aspects of my life. I've become a lot more altruistic and mindful, there are a lot of things that come with a vegan diet that you don't expect to come.'
In a world where plant-based eating has snowballed, Yorkshire and smaller, rural areas of the UK are catching up. The boys are impressed every time they return home to Sheffield at the new, cool and small vegan eateries and businesses popping up. 'Some of the best vegan food I've ever had full stop was at a pub on Devonshire Street in Sheffield. I had a remarkable seitan burger there,' says Ian.
Of course, they have some favourites. 'If you want a really good vegan taco, there's a place in Kelham Island called Pina and The Church of Fun too which does really good burgers,' says Henry. 'The Millenium Gallery does a decent amount of vegan food, particularly in Ambulo, and our mates run it too!'
See Living on the Veg is on ITV at 10:30am on Sunday mornings until the end of March.