British Entrepreneur and Heiress Camilla Fayed Talks New Cookbook and L.A. Restaurant

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Camilla Fayed introduces her Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook, based on the menu at her vegan restaurant in London.

“Nothing should be called a health food unless it is organic and chemical- and pesticide-free,” says the author and heiress. “It’s about getting the notion of counting chemicals, not calories. That’s what we live by.”

British heiress and entrepreneur Camilla Fayed is bringing her philosophy on conscious eating and living to Los Angeles.

While scouting for real estate for her second Farmacy Kitchen restaurant, slated to open here next year, she sat down with THR to chat about her new Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook, named for the vegan restaurant that she opened in 2016 in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood.

Crafted with a team of international chefs, her recipes reflect a culinary melting pot, from a Middle Eastern bowl and Mexican soup to Asian slaw and Brit-influenced porridge and forager’s pie. Then there are vegan staples such as smoothie bowls and chia pudding, along with an all-purpose home cleaner and beauty products, from toothpaste to edible body butter. 

“It’s been an amazing journey and people are really championing the food here; I think it’s very different from what they are used to. It should open in the fall or winter of 2019," Fayed says of her next Farmacy Kitchen outpost.

“The name came out of the philosophy we uphold of ‘food as medicine,’ so it’s a play on the medicinal side of nutrition and the provenance of where food comes from," She says. "Nothing should be called a health food unless it is organic and chemical- and pesticide-free. It’s about getting the notion of counting chemicals, not calories. That’s what we live by."

She acknowledges that she'll have a lot of plant-based competition in the L.A. market, but says there is room for everyone. "It’s not a trend or a fad. I always say, ‘This is not a hippie movement; this is a survival movement.’ We need to eat like this for the good of our planet and the good of our bodies. It’s the future of food.”

Fayed — who's the daughter of former Harrods owner Mohammed Al-Fayed and half-sister to Dodi Fayed, companion to Princess Diana at the time of her death in 1997 — wrote the cookbook to try to foster an inclusive approach to veganism, she says. "The vegan community can be scary for someone who’s just curious about it.... We want people who are real meat eaters to pick up the book and say, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ In London, we have carnivores visiting us on a regular basis and they leave the restaurant saying, ‘Wow, this is amazing; I feel fulfilled and I don’t feel like eating anything else.’ To me, that’s a tick that I’ve done what I’m here to do." 

Her favorite recipes from the book include the alchemist’s sauce and philosopher’s sauce. "Beautiful black garlic base is the essence of the philosopher’s sauce. I think that comes from my Egyptian background and having a real love for strong flavor. It just tastes amazing," she says.

"We also make an amazing probiotic cashew yogurt that’s to die for; you can eat it every day on muesli or porridge or add it to savory dishes," she adds. "These are easy things to make at home to replace typical dairy-laden products."

For Fayed, changing the way people eat is a lifelong quest. "I’m literally horrified by the entire food industry. I walk around supermarkets in awe. How can you put that many additives and E numbers [permitted food additives within the European Union] and synthetic fillers into bread, the most basic standard thing that you can make from three ingredients? Are they really trying to poison us? It’s quite upsetting to me," she says.