Yorkshire cookery duo BOSH! are part of a plant-eating revolution that expects two million of us to turn vegan next year. MAXINE GORDON reports

IT'S easy to believe the rise of veganism is unstoppable. With Greggs selling vegan sausage rolls, supermarkets stocking up on plant-food ranges, and Veganuary persuading thousands of us to give up meat every January, never has it been easier or more welcoming to be a vegan.

A poll this year estimated the UK's vegan population rise by 2.2 million over the next 12 months to a staggering 2.9 million people. This chimes with research from the Vegan Society which puts the number of British vegans at 700,000 – four times more than in 2014.

It's not an exaggeration to claim that a big part of this growth is down to two lads from Sheffield – Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, better known as the self-taught vegan chefs behind BOSH!

BOSH! started out on social media, with the lads posting vegan recipes online. They were an instant sensation with their first video receiving 3.5 million views within a week.

From there, the BOSH! boys have been unstoppable. Their Facebook page is the biggest vegan cookery channel in the world, attracting more than 26 million views a month, while their first cookbook, BOSH!: Simple recipes. Amazing food. All plants, was a best-seller and award-winner. The new follow up, BISH BASH BOSH! looks set to follow suit.

Ian acknowledges their contribution to the vegan revolution. He says: "We remain humble, but we've contributed to this movement. We have 1.8m followers on Facebook, 600,000 on Instagram and 100,000 for our YouTube channel. These are huge numbers and we have played a pivotal role. It feels great. We have built up BOSH! to change people's perceptions of what plant-based food is and can be, and it fills us with energy to go on."

Culinary observers will notice that nowhere on the cover of the first two cookbooks will you see the 'V' word.

That was a conscious decision, admits Ian – but something that is about to change.

Ian says: "We started the book in 2017. Two years ago, vegan was still a dirty word," says Ian. "But in the past two years veganism has come so far. It is no longer a dirty word and is now becoming culturally very significant."

The secret of their success, they believe, is in producing vegan dishes that meat eaters will love. Their USP is finding ways to replicate some hearty favourites, such as spag bol and chilli con carne, completely from veggies, herbs and spices – using meat and dairy substitutes where necessary.

It reflects the fact these were the sort of meals the BOSH! pair liked to eat. "We went vegan in our early 30s," says Ian. "We built up a love of hearty, traditional food over those 30 years."

Why the switch to a plant-only diet? Ian reveals he was motivated by health concerns at first. "I was carrying a bit too much weight, so turned to veganism."

But then he began to find out more about animal welfare, so environmental concerns became a motivation too.

"CO2 emissions from animal agriculture are more than the entire transport system. Animal agriculture is also a great source of deforestation – forests are our planet's lungs," he says.

Is veganism a fad? "It had all the hallmarks of a trend with its explosive growth, but it's not like the Atkins' diet or clean-eating," insists Ian. "Vegan food has been growing now for three years and had got bigger and bigger and bigger. Vegan food is a lifestyle, people are concerned about health and the environment and animal welfare.

"I think it is built on positive foundations and will continue to grow and grow."

Which is why they are now happy to embrace the V word for their next publications.

In September, they will publish a vegan lifestyle guide, followed in December by a healthy vegan diet book.

Over the years, the BOSH! duo have written 500 recipes. Which has been the most satisfying?

Ian answers: "The recipe I'm most proud of is the mushroom wellington for Christmas dinner. People made it in droves the last two Christmases; we had hundreds and hundreds of people send us pictures of their Christmas dinner!

"That was amazing. It is the most important dinner of the year; it brings the family together with everyone focussed around the table."

Another recipe the pair expect to take off is a new one for the vegan steak. "That video has got legs," says Ian. "We trialled and trialled that recipe for a very long time." The secret, he revealed, was getting a blend of lentils that gave the right "gumminess" to bind with the gluten and nutritional yeast.

The next challenge, he admits, is mastering the vegan Yorkshire pudding – no doubt a tricky task when two out of the three key ingredients have to be omitted. The trick, says Ian, is finding the right egg substitute that will give the pudding its hallmark light, airy texture.

From the new book, Ian's favourite recipe is the BOSH! shepherd's pie, which he is happy to share with readers: enjoy!


Serve with garden peas. You can prepare the filling and mash the day before and keep them in separate airtight containers in the fridge, then assemble the pie when you’re ready to cook it. It might take a few minutes longer if you’re cooking it from cold.



2 medium red onions

1 celery stick

3 garlic cloves

4 sun-dried tomatoes (plus 2 tbsp oil from the jar)

1 sprig fresh rosemary

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 large carrot

500g mushrooms

2 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp yeast extract (eg Marmite)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

250ml red wine

100ml vegetable stock

400g pre-cooked puy lentils

salt and black pepper


1.2kg Maris Piper or other floury potatoes

40g dairy-free butter

150ml unsweetened plant-based milk

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 180°C

What you will need:

Fine grater or microplane; 2 large saucepans; food processor; potato masher; 20 x 30cm lasagne dish; piping bag fitted with a wide star nozzle (optional)


First make a start on the potato topping:

Peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks.

Put in a saucepan, cover with cold water and add a generous pinch of salt.

Put over a high heat, bring to the boil and cook for 12–15 minutes.

Drain into a colander and leave to dry.

Tip back into the pan

Now to the filling:

Peel and finely dice the red onions and celery.

Peel and grate the garlic.

Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes.

Remove the leaves from the rosemary and thyme by running your thumb and forefinger from the top to the base of the stems (the leaves should easily come away), then finely chop.

Peel and finely chop the carrot.

Put the mushrooms in the food processor and blitz to mince.

Put the second saucepan over a medium heat.

Pour in the sun-dried tomato oil.

Add the onion and a small pinch of salt.

Fry for 5 minutes, stirring.

Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the carrot and celery and stir for 4–5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, turn up the heat slightly and stir for 2–3 minutes, until the mushrooms start to sweat.

Reduce the heat and cook for 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir the tomato purée into the pan.

Add the yeast extract and balsamic vinegar and stir for 1 minute.

Add the red wine, stock and lentils, turn up the heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about ten minutes.

Taste, season and take off the heat.

Mash the potatoes.

Add the dairy-free butter, milk and mustard to the potatoes and mash until really smooth.

Taste and season.

Spread the filling over the bottom of the lasagne dish.

Spoon the potato into the piping bag, if using, and pipe tightly packed walnut-sized whips of potato all over, otherwise spoon over the potato and spread it out with the back of a spoon, then drag over a fork to make rows that will catch and brown in the oven.

Put the pie in the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes, until starting to crisp and turn golden brown.

Remove and serve.