Get ready to meet the man of many talents, Mathew Pritchard, more commonly known as, ‘Pritch.’ From his wild days as one of the crazy crew on Dirty Sanchez to becoming an endurance athlete, vegan chef and business owner, this man has done it all. Now dropping his third cookbook this month, join us for an exclusive chat with Pritch.

Credit: Dan Bentley Photography

Let’s start with your new book ‘Dirty Vegan: Fast & Easy’. Tell us everything!

“I went to Octopus Publishing last year to see if they were interested in the book concept. At the time, I was a shell of a man as I was at the height of my drinking problem and I wasn’t in the best place, but they wanted to go ahead with the book! It was just at the beginning of my sobriety. I’d stopped drinking and doing all of that kind of stuff, so I had the book to focus on and take my mind off things. Luckily, I had a few unused recipes written down as we only had a few months’ turnaround! I just locked myself away in the kitchen, which was the best distraction. The book is full of pretty straightforward, hearty vegan recipes, alongside some guest-chef recipes!”

When did you discover that cooking was your thing?

“Well, like most people back in the day, I was taught by my mam. I was really interested and I kept asking how to do certain things, so she’d show me. As I was leaving school, I decided that I wanted to become a chef. I went to college for 2 years to learn silver service, cooking and everything in between, and then I went out into the big, bad world. My first hospitality job was hell on earth, which put me right off. My life then took a U-turn with opportunities such as Dirty Sanchez and professional skateboarding. I then went vegan in 2015 and was looking for recipes to try and replace the meat on my plate, and I started watching YouTube videos. I noticed that a lot of the vegan channels were really boring and I thought “There’s a market here”. So, I started my own channel, ‘Pritchard’s Proper Vegan Cookin’’, and the rest is history.”

You then went on to host the BBC’s first-ever vegan cooking show! What was that like?

“I really enjoyed working with BBC Wales and learned a lot doing it. I met some wicked people and had the first two books off the back of it. I was used to having my mates around me so I was a bit nerve-wracking going it alone. It was a lot different to the type of show that I was used to but I enjoyed the change in environment. It was mid-week at prime time too, so swearing was off the cards and I had to actually behave! If they’d have me, I’d 100% do it again.”

Credit: Dan Bentley Photography

You’ve mentioned your sobriety, can you tell us a little about this?

“Out of all the challenges I’ve faced in my life, they seem easy in comparison to sobriety. I’d take an Ironman any day! The past 30 years had just been one big party for me, but it got to the point where I was hitting it a bit too hard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still really difficult over a year down the line, but after the first 3 months the need for a drink eventually began to subside and I started what I call “the 4 am club”. I’m up and out by 4:30 am every morning now. I’m then either at the gym, swimming, hiking or whatever it may be, just to keep active. A routine really helps me to focus because I can’t just sit around doing nothing. It also takes away the urge to go down to the shop and buy a beer!”

Would you say a vegan diet, sobriety and keeping fit is the magic recipe for a healthy mind and body?

“It’s weird isn’t it, I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. When I went vegan, a lot of people said “That’s the last thing you’ll want to be doing because of all the endurance stuff. You’re going to be weak.” After that, I made it my mission to prove people wrong. I did 10 Ironman distance triathlons in a row and rowed the Atlantic, all on a vegan diet. So, if anything, it helped! I’m full of energy all day long and haven’t at all suffered. With fitness, I don’t do it just so I can get a wicked body (although it helps), I do it for my mind and discipline. If you make these things a habit, they soon become your normality.”

For someone who may be looking to make a lifestyle change, what advice would you give them?

Since I started my journey, the amount of messages I’ve received on social media is unreal, and I try my best to answer all of them. I think people can relate to me because a lot of them have lived the crazy lifestyle that I’ve lived. My advice is to go ‘cold turkey’ like I did. If you’re thinking about making a change, just bite the bullet and do it. It’s down to hard work, determination and wanting to succeed. I’ve kidded myself in the past, saying “Oh it’s fine, I’ll just go out on special occasions”, but there was no such thing. If I had one drink, I’d come home three days later. It’s not easy but if you really want it, you’ll put the work in.”

Dirty Vegan: Fast & Easy is available to buy on Amazon or your local bookstores from December 7th! You can keep up with all things Pritch, here

If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call 0808 808 2234 or text DAN to 81066 for the Welsh Government helpline.

Author WCS

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