People actively smuggle Smith & Deli's food onto planes – that's how addictive the dishes are. Interstate regulars even bring their own Tupperware containers and cooler bags, so they can enjoy the food at home. That's the power of what Shannon Martinez, Mo Wyse and El Rosa are doing at the popular Melbourne vegan deli – which is the subject of their new book, Smith & Deli-cious: Food From Our Deli (That Happens to be Vegan).
They've reconnected people to dishes they thought they never could eat again, with clever and convincing replicas of meaty and dairy-heavy recipes. Shannon's plant-based take on smoked salmon made Mo cry, in fact, while El's inspired a hugely emotional response to her vegan pastries, too.
We chat about the romantic-comedy-like origins of Mo and Shannon's first meeting, what led to them opening their first vegan business (Smith & Daughters, which also attracts long queues and dedicated fans), Shannon's surprising appearance at a cheese festival ("I was definitely the token weirdo there") and her successful experiments with vegan Roquefort, the legal action that followed her popular vegan tribute to Sizzler and why it's important to make vegan food legitimately stinky.