Introducing delicious brownie bakers Herbivore Kitchen! After initially testing her products at the Leith Vegan Market, founder Alison branched out by taking The Herbivore Kitchen to other markets, foodie events and Festivals. The Herbivore Kitchen offers delicious, fudgy, choc-packed brownies, and people are always surprised find that they are both wheat free and vegan.
Now with an extended shelf life, we are delighted to give everyone a chance to try these brownies. They come in a catering slab as well as retail packs which offer a compostable inner inside a colourful recyclable cardboard box. A great advertisement for Scottish food and innovation, we are delighted to be able to offer a little piece of Edinburgh to further afield, and we heard from Alison about how Herbivore Kitchen came to be.
1.How/why and when did you start your business?
As a chef for over 10yrs I had worked in many cafes, restaurants and catering companies over the years - and I finally decided that I was going to give it a go after umming and ahhing about it for so long. It was a hard and easy decision all rolled into one. I had also trained as a cake decorator, so I decided I was going to go in this direction when I first opened ‘All About Patisserie’. After going along to several outdoor markets, I realised that vegan cakes were something that people were crying out for - so I decided to get a selection of vegan cakes together where no one would know the difference (as you can tell with so many others). It’s something that has been my driver from the start - I didn’t want to sell something that compromised on taste or flavour in any way. And from this the brownies and ‘The Herbivore Kitchen’ were born!
2. What advice would you give to someone starting a new business in the sector?
Seek out other people who have done similar things or have run their business for a few years - markets are great for this. Just chat! It’s amazing what tidbits you can pick up from just chatting. Also, keep it simple. Your business will change and grow with the markets, trends and environment, and you have to be flexible, but always keep it simple. Do one thing, and do it well. This is something I’m still not very good at - I still have too many ideas. But I have found I now put all those creative wanderings to good use outside of work. Which leads on to: always give yourself time off. Again, something I’m not good at. You and your product will benefit from time off.
3. What motivates you?
There’ll always be a different kind of motivation when it’s your own business. You want your product to succeed - something you’ve put so much time, energy, money and creativity into. But above all, you have to be proud of and confident in your product. If you have this, then you’re flying. You don’t need any other motivation.
4. How do you think the food & drinks industry could improve?
I’ve had so many ups and downs, but the Food and Drinks Industry in Scotland is phenomenal. We really do have one of the best support networks in the world.I guess there’s always room for improvement though - one being that although there’s a lot of support for new products, there’s close to no support for cafes and restaurants. Something that I myself have suffered from, hence why I decided to pursue the brownies.I’m also very glad to see that food wastage is being taken so seriously now. The amount of food that I’ve seen thrown away in my years in the kitchen is very upsetting!
5. Is there an individual or organisation, current or in the past, who inspires you?
Firstly, I am always inspired and in awe at people who have managed to run cafes and restaurants for years. It’s a tough world out there, especially now, and to keep that going is worthy of celebration in itself.This is a hard question - I’ve worked with many inspiring people and I would say I’m just grateful that I was offered the chance to work in a kitchen after just moving to London and working with some amazing chefs who taught me a lot of what I know today.
6. Apart from Greencity, which other three or more people, living or deceased, would you invite to make a dinner party entertaining?
My partner Barry, of course. He always livens up a dinner party. There will not be a quiet moment if he’s around!
Heston Blumenthal - I’m not one for following celebrity chefs, but I’ve always loved his themed dinner parties as they’re just crazy. So he can come and cook. Please!
And then you have to have good music - maybe Queen or The Beatles? Something that everyone knows the words to, and will never get old.